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The Washington Post
Sunday, January 22, 1984, K12


By Joseph McLellan

Other recent piano records of unusual interest:

Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji: Le Jardin Parfumé. Michael Habermann, piano (Music Masters MM 20019).

Like Nancarrow, Sorabji became discouraged a long time ago at the imperfections of merely human performers. Born in England in 1892 (with the somewhat less resounding name of Leon Dudley Sorabji), he banned his music from public performance under "present or forseeable conditions" in 1940 -- thus assuring that, by any name, he would become something of a legend, known only to a few connoisseurs who had access to his private recordings.

In 1976, he relented and allowed Michael Habermann and one other pianist to begin performing his piano music in public. This record presents four short pieces from the 1920s, a relatively early stage in Sorabji's development. They show him working in a fluent, impressionistic vein, interested in Eastern musical flavors and skilled at holding a work together while giving the impression of total, rhapsodic freedom. If he does not yet rank as a major discovery (perhaps his three-hour Opus Clavicembalisticum will give him that status when we can hear it), he is certainly a charming composer for listeners who like exotica. Habermann plays this music beautifully.

Copyright ©1984 by Joseph McLellan, all rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission