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Sorabji : Sequentia Cyclica. Powell.
Format : 7 CD Digibox
Total Time : 08:23:48

Recording : 2015
Location : Oxford
Country : Royaume-Uni
Sound : Stereo

Label : Piano Classics
Catalog No. : PCL10206
EAN : 5029365102063
Price Code : DM042

Publishing Year : 2020
Release Date : 05/02/2020

Genre : Classical
Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892-1988)
Sequentia cyclica sur "Dies Irae ex Missa Pro Defunctis", pour piano
Theme
Variations I-XXVII

Jonathan Powell, piano

Sorabji avait défié le temps en musique avec son "Opus Clavicembalisticum". En 1932 l’œuvre avait d’emblée parue injouable, attirant pourtant l’attention d’Egon Petri : le musicien Parsi n’était-il pas, en esprit, un possible héritier de l’univers de son maître, Ferruccio Busoni ? C’est encore avec en tête la virtuosité de haute école d’Egon Petri que Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji pensa composer un second ensemble qui excéderait même les dimensions de son précédent défis pianistique. La "Sequentia Cyclica" l’occupera tout au long des années quarante, ses gigantesques vingt-sept variations sur le Dies Irae cumulant des pages à la rhétorique flamboyante avec des pans entiers de pure fantaisie –écoutez Hispanica. Bien plus que dans l’"Opus Clavicembalisticum", Sorabji fait entrer tous ses univers pianistiques dans le chatoiement polyphonique de la "Sequentia Cyclica", au point que cette œuvre renferme l’essence de son art où la complexité de la forme dissout l’harmonie, le temps s’abolit, le discours tend par delà des arabesques et les cosmos d’accords à une abstraction que la "Fuga quintuplice" finale porte à un point de non-retour. Yonty Solomon, qui se dévoua à la cause de Sorabji à compter des années 1970 se pencha sur le "Sequentia" au grand bonheur d’un Sorabji octogénaire, mais il ne se risqua pas à cette encyclopédie de notes, Jonathan Powell est donc le premier à oser l’enregistrer après l’avoir donnée plusieurs fois en concert, rendant justice à cette partition gigantesque où Sorabji n’aura jamais été aussi proche de la poétique étrange des œuvres de Busoni. Surtout lisez les notes du livret (en anglais), qui vous guideront pas à pas dans ce labyrinthe où se dissimulent des merveilles. (Discophilia - Artalinna.com) (Jean-Charles Hoffelé)

A long-awaited Sorabji premiere on disc: the eight-hour cycle of 27 variations based on the ‘Dies Irae’ and Requiem Mass plainchants, performed by one of the composer’s most dedicated modern exponents. As Jonathan Powell explains in an invaluable booklet essay, the present recording is the result of many years’ acquaintance with and preparation of this music. He is uniquely equipped to undertake the mammoth task of learning one of Sorabji’s most ambitious scores, having already given several public performances of the five-hour Opus clavicembalisticum which is, by comparison, almost a repertoire work, at least for dedicated followers of this most eccentric, quixotic, withdrawn and yet visionary of 20th-century composers. Then in 2011 Powell first performed the Sequentia Cyclica, having been studying the music since 2002, and since then has given another four and a half public performances. Sorabji attempted to restrict performances of his music, by and large successfully, to only performers ‘with the sheer grit, determination and staying power,’ such ‘rare birds’ that they may be relied upon ‘to deduce, from internal evidence, what sort of treatment the music calls for,’ and in Jonathan Powell the composer has a worthy advocate and successor to the likes of Yonty Solomon and John Ogdon. And to Egon Petri, dedicatee of Sequentia Cyclica, once Sorabji had completed the score in 1949. Petri was the foremost living disciple of Ferruccio Busoni – another composer who provoked perplexity and extravagant praise during his lifetime – and from the opening outline of the Dies Irae chant, it becomes clear that the cycle will evolve according to the principles of Sorabji’s particular, Busoni-derived, Lisztoriginated formula of intricate counterpoint and lush harmonies. As ever, Sorabji does not pretend to make the performer’s life easy, writing across six staves at some points, and leaving much of the expression to be intuited by the pianist. He regarded it, however, as ‘the climax and crown of his work for the piano.’ Its first recording, therefore, is a landmark achievement, which will be welcomed and sought after by pianophiles the world over.

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