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Sorabji: Opus Clavicembalisticum (Read 1139 times)

Offline ahinton

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Sorabji: Opus Clavicembalisticum
« on: May 18, 2017, 09:42:22 AM »
Last Saturday, 13 May, at Oxford's Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, Jonathan Powell gave what was probably the finest performance that Sorabji's monumental Opus Clavicembalisticum has ever received. It was only its 17th performance since the composer's own world première in Glasgow in 1930.

After an unsettled and rather rushed brief opening Introito, the ensuing Preludio Corale occasionally exhibited similar issues but, once Jonathan launched into the first of the four fugues in the work, he was on top form and remained there throughout. There were some devastating moments of fulminating virtuosity alongside the most sensitively shaped phrasing in the fugues whose essential bel canto qualities he brought to the fore and without which they can risk sounding rather like rigorous intellectual exercises. The reticence and pervasive stillness of the Adagio that comes around two-thirds of the way through the work was another high point. Jonathan held the audience's rapt attention throughout its near 4½ hours, a not inconsiderable feat in itself; the audience response and glowing comments after it testify to the great success of his achievement.

The page turner was also excellent!

Jonathan had given two performances of the work in the previous 8 days and has at least four more this year, in Karlsruhe, Glasgow, Brno and Tianjin. It is fair to say that the piece has never had so much exposure.


Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive