Jonathan Powell

Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji: Un nido di scatole; Djâmî; St Bertrand de Comminges

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Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji: Un nido di scatole; Djâmî; St Bertrand de Comminges Review

by Blair Sanderson

The piano works of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji are among the most dense, complicated, and virtuosic in the modern keyboard literature, and such flamboyant works as Un nido di scatole (A Nest of Boxes), the nocturne Djâmî, and St. Bertrand de Comminges ("He was Laughing in the Tower") demonstrate his elaborate methods quite well. The 17 miniatures that make up Un nido di scatole have a superficial resemblance to the album leaves of Schumann, largely because of their whimsical titles, sharp characterizations, and abbreviated forms, though Sorabji's intensely chromatic, quasi-atonal harmonies seem a world away from the great Romantic composer, and his brooding music seems much closer in style and expression to the late works of Alexander Scriabin. Djâmî, which Sorabji called "An essay in the hothouse-languorous genre," is the longest track of the album and quite lush and atmospheric in its perfumed evocation of Persian culture. The last piece, St. Bertrand de Comminges, was one of two works Sorabji composed on ideas drawn from ghost stories by Montague Rhodes James, and listeners may note some strong similarities between this sinister fantasia and the diabolical showpieces of Franz Liszt. Pianist Jonathan Powell presents Sorabji's music with abundant energy and emotional volatility, though his instrument seems sharp, cold, and brittle in the highly resonant venue, and the microphone placement seems a little distant.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Un nido de scatole, for piano
1 Jonathan Powell 00:33 Amazon
2 Jonathan Powell 00:43 Amazon
3 Jonathan Powell 00:52 Amazon
4 Jonathan Powell 02:03 Amazon
5 Jonathan Powell 04:27 Amazon
6 Jonathan Powell 00:46 Amazon
7 Jonathan Powell 02:07 Amazon
8 Jonathan Powell 02:47 Amazon
9 Jonathan Powell 01:14 Amazon
10 Jonathan Powell 04:56 Amazon
11 Jonathan Powell 03:16 Amazon
12 Jonathan Powell 01:31 Amazon
13 Jonathan Powell 00:46 Amazon
14 Jonathan Powell 00:51 Amazon
15 Jonathan Powell 01:28 Amazon
16 Jonathan Powell 01:15 Amazon
17 Jonathan Powell 01:53 Amazon
18 Jonathan Powell 26:48 Amazon
19 Jonathan Powell 18:49 Amazon
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