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Kaikhosru Sorabji: 100 Transcendental Studies, Nos. 1-25

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Pianist Fredrik Ullén has taken on the largest single cycle of etudes in history by virtue of agreeing to record composer Kaikhosru Sorabji's mammoth "100 Transcendental Studies for piano," written between 1940 and 1944 but never before recorded. Fredrik Ullén Plays Kaikhosru Sorabji's 100 Transcendental Studies 1-25 is the first volume of these works for the Swedish label BIS. Individual etudes are not necessarily out of hand; most are miniatures, the longest No. 24 coming in at a little under six minutes and the shortest No. 9 at just under a minute. They are not merely sketches combined under the general heading of "etude," and each piece genuinely addresses some ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Pianist Fredrik Ullén has taken on the largest single cycle of etudes in history by virtue of agreeing to record composer Kaikhosru Sorabji's mammoth "100 Transcendental Studies for piano," written between 1940 and 1944 but never before recorded. Fredrik Ullén Plays Kaikhosru Sorabji's 100 Transcendental Studies 1-25 is the first volume of these works for the Swedish label BIS. Individual etudes are not necessarily out of hand; most are miniatures, the longest No. 24 coming in at a little under six minutes and the shortest No. 9 at just under a minute. They are not merely sketches combined under the general heading of "etude," and each piece genuinely addresses some aspect of transcendental keyboard technique. Stylistically, the pieces work forward from the example of Scriabin and Busoni, but are written at such a horrendous level of difficulty one wonders whom among his contemporaries Sorabji had in mind when writing this music. Would the Horowitzes, Giesekings, or Artur Rubinsteins have taken Sorabji's etudes on, or merely laughed him out of the room? In some cases it is hard to imagine the act of just reading the scores of some of these etudes, for example Number 10, so black, dense, and angular must they be. In terms of playability, it is only imaginable that a class of pianists for whom the "Sonata No. 2" of Pierre Boulez or Stockhausen's "Klavierstücke" is "old news" could be capable of taking on some of this stuff. Fredrik Ullén is just such a player. One inspiring aspect of his attention to this music is that Ullén still takes the time to find the emotional core to even some of the most oblique of these etudes, for examples Nos. 12 and 14. Even as Sorabji's polymorphously polymodal harmonies and polyrhythms unwind, there is a sense of thinking in terms of spectral, universal space that becomes apparent, and this is not just in the notes but also in how they are parsed out. Moreover, there are pieces in which the sense of forward direction is simply just not clear -- Ullén manages either to detect the thread or just let the sometimes seemingly broken music remain abrupt, as it is so. Sorabji's "Transcendental Etudes" are simply not written to anything that can be imagined as "average taste" and may well prove difficult for expert listeners. Nonetheless, there are pieces that are remarkably beautiful, such as No. 18, and many instances where Sorabji works out technical concepts that seem previously untried, such as in No. 14. For composers, these etudes will prove stimulating, and to expert listeners there will be a lot of heated debate about the relative value of these mind-bending pieces. We have Fredrik Ullén to thank for making them available and for doing a very good job of it -- certainly this was no easy task.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/25/2006
  • Label: Bis
  • EAN: 7318590013731
  • Catalog Number: 1373
  • Sales rank: 125,250

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 1. Mouvementé - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:55)
  2. 2 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 2. Vivace e leggiero - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:12)
  3. 3 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 3. (untitled) - Sorabji & Robert Suff (4:19)
  4. 4 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 4. (Sciabinesco) - Sorabji & Robert Suff (2:57)
  5. 5 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 5. Staccato e leggiero - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:26)
  6. 6 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 6. (untitled) - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:40)
  7. 7 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 7. Leggiero abbastanza - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:11)
  8. 8 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 8. (untitled) - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:59)
  9. 9 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 9. Staccato e leggiero - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:01)
  10. 10 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 10. Con brio ed impeto - Volante - Sorabji & Robert Suff (3:12)
  11. 11 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 11. (Animato abbastanza) - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:40)
  12. 12 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 12. Leggiero quasi 'saltando' - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:47)
  13. 13 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 13. (untitled) - Sorabji & Robert Suff (3:35)
  14. 14 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 14. Tranquillamente soave - Sorabji & Robert Suff (4:38)
  15. 15 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 15. (untitled) - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:43)
  16. 16 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 16. (untitled) - Sorabji & Robert Suff (2:46)
  17. 17 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 17. Molto accentato - Sorabji & Robert Suff (2:00)
  18. 18 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 18. Liscio. Tranquillamente scorrevole - Sorabji & Robert Suff (5:18)
  19. 19 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 19. Saltando e leggiero - Sorabji & Robert Suff (2:15)
  20. 20 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 20. Con fantasia - Sorabji & Robert Suff (5:27)
  21. 21 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 21. Con eleganza e disinvoltura - Sorabji & Robert Suff (4:39)
  22. 22 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 22. Leggiero volante e presto assai - Sorabji & Robert Suff (1:27)
  23. 23 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 23. Dolcemente scorrevole - Sorabji & Robert Suff (4:01)
  24. 24 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 24. Con fantasia e grazia - Sorabji & Robert Suff (5:42)
  25. 25 Trancendental Etudes (100) for piano: No. 25. Vivace e secco - Sorabji & Robert Suff (3:08)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Fredrik Ullén Primary Artist
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