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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » S » Sorabji, Kaikhosru

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Kaikhosru Sorabji (1894 - 1988)

Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892–1988), the English-Parsee composer, will probably always be remembered for his pursuit of extremes: dazzling difficulties of execution in works of mammoth dimensions. Most of his piano works are written on three or more staves employing textures and rhythmic combinations that have to be seen to be believed.

His Opus Clavicembalisticum (1930) was listed for years in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest non-repetitive piano work. Many of his compositions are intended to be the sole work on a programme. Such a work is the Djami Symphony (1942–51), which spans nearly a thousand pages and employs performing forces of hundreds.

His longtime, and unique ban imposed upon public performance of his works, too, will not be forgotten. Despite enthusiastic praise from well-known musicians such as Ferruccio Busoni, Alfred Cortot, Frederick Delius, Karol Szymanowski, and Sir Donald Francis Tovey, his creative work remained largely unknown until the late 1970s, also due to the fact that only his earliest compositions were published. But these are only external characteristics, secondary to the music. Most important is the fact that his compositions stand out in the world of music for their unique and satisfying beauty.




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