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In the piano category I would pick several records but will stay with the unusual repertoire I usually review and choose the Alkan and Sorabji records. The Alkan work is a wholly gripping anti-sonata whose jovial spirits turn to despair in a sequence of successively slower movements. The second movement, Quasi Faust, is a hair-raising masterpiece in itself. Smith's performance is controversial, especially in the last movement, but he carries the whole thing off splendidly. Habermann's record is a bit too hard-hitting in places but he is a magician with this music, whose difficulties are beyond description. Sorabji's pastiche on the "Minute Waltz," included on this record may be the greatest parody ever written.
The second disc of music by Kaikhosru Sorabji (Fanfare VI:4, see also IV:5) is welcome and important, featuring some of the most astonishing pianism on discs, but simply aggravates one's interest in the composer's later epically scaled works.
SORABJI; Le Jardin Parfumé. Habermann. (Musicmasters MM
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