- Composer: K.S. Sorabji
- Audio CD (November 23, 1999)
- Number of Discs: 5
- Format: Box set, Import
- Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
- Label: Bis
- ASIN: B00002R15O
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,059 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Sorabji: Opus Clavicembalisticum Box set, Import
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Top Customer Reviews
About the music: I have a feeling I'm going to upset some die-hard Sorabji enthusiasts with my comments, but I'll call this like I see it.
To be honest: for the amount of thematic material presented, and the way Sorabji uses it, I think this piece is about ten movements too long. Opus Clavicembalisticum reminds me of compositions by pianistic "whiz kids" -- 17 and 18 year olds taking composition in their first year of college, who have the technique to play anything they want, and who don't hesitate to write the most daunting technical difficulties into their music -- but simply don't have the maturity to organize a large scale piece or to frame the musicality behind what it is they're writing! (I'm guilty of having done the same thing, too, when I attended the Indiana University School of Music 28 years ago.)
Sorabji certainly knows how to write "huge," but the material in this piece just doesn't warrant a four-hour composition. While listening to all the counterpoint, all the variations, all the extremes of register -- I found myself really aching to hear one good, cohesive slow movement! The lone "Adagio" wasn't REALLY an "Adagio.Read more ›
First of all, in so many places, Madge practically improvises. In the parts where there are large jumping chords, Madge merely pounds out random notes. He does not follow the music. This is what causes many to think that this piece is really bad... they think it is nothing but relentless "banging", but let me tell you, it is not! I have studied the score for this piece for a very long time now, and that is NOT what Sorabji really wrote! I could practically point out parts on every page where Madge completely fakes the performance, often not even trying to hit the right notes.
So, let us start with the very first movement. This truly sets up what will follow. Right when the music starts to get hard, he starts to make mistake after mistake. Aside from that, his playing is not clean. Later, he just starts hitting random notes, a skill that he definitely has mastered, I must say.
The second movement is no exception. Though there are moments when his playing is bearable, for the most part, it is no better than the first movement. The majority of Fuga I is faked. The Fantasia is actually all right for the most part, but he doesn't play cleanly, and at the end, he goes back to hitting random notes.
His entire Coda-Stretta is improvised. Any thing he plays that resembles the actual music even the slightest bit is merely a coincidence. And the end can make your ears bleed...Read more ›
What I can comment on definatively is the performance. Sorabji is the Holy Grail of 20th century pianism. No other composer, before or after is as complex, dense or as demanding. (Not even Michael Finnessey who comes close.) Merely to play this piece in public is an act of enormous courage...or enormous hubris. So I respect the attempt of anyone to try.
In the current instance, BIS chose to record Madge in a live recital in Chicago, playing the OC in one program. The undertaking is heroic, but there are major problems with the results. Particularly on the first disc, Madge seems to have trouble with the material. There are many obvious flubbed notes and poorly executed passages. Though these mistakes subside as the work continues, they are present throughout the performance. As a result, many passages lack the power that they should have to make them come across in performance. Even passages that are clean tend to sound tenative...as if we can hear Madge praying not to make another mistake.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an excellent recording of this difficult and meandering 4 hour set of piano pieces. The Yamaha grand piano used in this CD gives some added clarity to the dense and... Read morePublished on March 4, 2010 by David L. Zielke
I wonder about certain strong negative comments on Madge's recording/performance of Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum.
Could it be that some and mr or mrs S.M.C. Read more
Even for many serious music-lovers, Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum has an opportunity cost too great. Read morePublished on April 17, 2005 by Warren R. Dixon
Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892 - 1988) disdained anything so vain or plebian as currency: accepting the challenge of the greatest because most dense and extended works in the... Read morePublished on December 22, 2002 by Thomas F. Bertonneau
It's simply stunning that some listeners extol this performance. It's even more unbelievable that they then condemn the John Ogdon recording. Read morePublished on October 18, 2001
A towering and still-enigmatic achievement, the 'sine qua non' of all piano literature, Opus Clavicembalisticum, OC, a three-part solo piano epic, is a spell-binding work by one of... Read morePublished on July 28, 2000 by offeck
Madges performance of opus clavicembalisticum is a welcome addition to the current sorabji recordings, and a good alternative to Ogdons studio version. Read morePublished on June 1, 2000
Madge brings a real sense of conviction and urgency here to this live performance which I attended. I recall having like most never having heard of Sorabji. Read morePublished on April 1, 2000 by scarecrow