Dux Alter - Kaikhosru Sorabji*, Geoffrey Douglas Madge - Opus Clavicembalisticum

Label: BIS - BIS-CD-1062/1064 • Format: 5x, CD Album • Country: Austria • Genre: Classical • Style: Contemporary, Modern
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Opus clavicembalisticum is a work for solo piano composed by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabjicompleted on June 25, It is notable for its length and difficulty: at the time of its completion it was the longest piano piece in existence. Several of Sorabji's later works, such as the Symphonic Variations for Piano which last probably about nine hours are even longer.

At the time of its completion, it was possibly the most technically demanding solo piano work in existence due, for the most part, to its extreme length and rhythmic complexity and to the vast resources of physical Dux Alter - Kaikhosru Sorabji* mental stamina demanded by its many passages of transcendental virtuosity, although some works conceived by New Complexitymodernist and avant-garde composers, along with Sorabji himself, were more difficult still; it is in this particular area that Opus clavicembalisticum primarily receives its notoriety, and to this day is still highly regarded in that light.

Sorabji may in part have been inspired to compose the work after hearing a performance by Goodnight Waltz - The Mavericks - Brand New Day Petri of Busoni 's Fantasia contrappuntistica [1] and Opus clavicembalisticum to some degree embraces an homage to Busoni's work.

Opus clavicembalisticum has twelve movements, of hugely varying dimensions: from a brief cadenzalasting only three minutes, to a mammoth interludecontaining a toccataadagioand passacaglia with 81 variationsrequiring around an hour to play. The work's movements are set in three parts, each larger than the last:. In a letter upon completion of the massive work on 25 June[3] Sorabji wrote to a friend of his:.

With a wracking head and literally my whole body shaking as with ague I write this and tell you I have just this afternoon early finished Clavicembalisticum The closing 4 pages are so cataclysmic and catastrophic as anything I've ever done—the harmony bites like nitric acid —the counterpoint grinds Geoffrey Douglas Madge - Opus Clavicembalisticum the mills of God There have to date been over 20 performances of the complete Opus clavicembalisticum : they are listed on the Sorabji Archive website.

Pars prima was performed by John Tobin on March 10, ; this performance is noted to have taken approximately twice as long as the score dictates. This performance, and its reception, may have led to Sorabji's "ban" on public performances of his works; he asserted that "no performance at all is vastly preferable to an obscene travesty". Sorabji maintained this veto until The next public performance of Opus clavicembalisticum took place inat the hands of the Australian pianist Geoffrey Douglas Madge.

A recording of the performance Dux Alter - Kaikhosru Sorabji* released on a set of four LPs, which are now out of print. Madge performed it in public in its entirety on six occasions from toincluding once inat Mandel Hall in Chicago, a recording of which was released by BIS Records in John Ogdon publicly performed the work in London twice, towards the end of his life, and produced a studio recording Cut Your Teeth - Various - Alternative Sampler Vol.

26 the work. Petersburg and, inhe embarked on a tour with it to include performances in Brighton, London, Oxford, Karlsruhe, Glasgow, Brno and elsewhere. The only other verifiable and complete public performances of this work have been given by Daan Vandewalle in Brugge, Madrid and Berlin, although a number of pianists have performed excerpts, which are usually the first two movements.

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