Transcendental Studies (Sorabji)

100 Transcendental Studies[1] by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji are a series of 100 piano études written between 1940 and 1944. Swedish pianist Fredrik Ullén has released all 100 études on BIS Records.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

DescriptionEdit

The études vary greatly in style, character, and length, with the shortest running about a minute and the longest running approximately 45 minutes. According to the Sorabji Archive, the following études have yet to be premiered: Nos. 27, 33, 39, 42, 45–48, 51, 53–58, 60–64, 68, 74, 82, 87, 90, 91 and 93.[8]

Sorabji almost certainly intended for these Études to be compared with Franz Liszt's Transcendental Études. The style of Sorabji's études is typical of his work, consisting of atonal melodies, dissonant harmonies, complex polyrhythms, rapid changes in texture and mood, and extreme technical challenges for the pianist to work through. Taken individually, these are some of the shortest pieces Sorabji ever composed. A complete list of the études is included below. World première pianists and dates from The Sorabji Archive.[9]

World première pianists and datesEdit

Number Title Duration Premiere artist Premiere date Notes
1 Mouvementé 1:50 Yonty Solomon 9/30/1979 An opening theme is presented and then repeated in multiple keys, inversions, and voices. Somewhat reminiscent of the opening of Chopin's 24 Preludes, Op. 28
2 Vivace e leggiero 1:09 Carlo Grante 7/20/1995 Rapid jumps in both hands alternating between high and low notes meander up and down the keyboard in unison
3 (no marking) 4:17 Carlo Grante 3/24/2000 A wistful melody moves slowly around the keyboard, containing many expressive passages and rich harmonies
4 Scriabinesco. Soave e con tenerezza nostalgica 2:53 Carlo Grante 10/18/1998 As the marking indicates, this study evokes a mood reminiscent of Scriabin's late works, with a soft, expressive melody and harmonies reminiscent of Scriabin's works built around his "mystic chord"
5 Staccato e leggiero 1:24 Fredrik Ullén 4/27/2002 Both hands play triplets of large chords marked staccato; played with effective use of the sostenuto pedal
6 (no marking) 1:37 Fredrik Ullén 7/15/2002 The first in a sequence of double-note études that explore every interval; an étude in seconds with frequent 3:4 polyrhythms.
7 Leggiero abbastanza 1:07 Carlo Grante 7/20/1995
8 (no marking) 1:56 Fredrik Ullén 2/15/2003 The right hand plays thirds in ascending and descending scales while the left hand accompanies with chords and countermelodies; the mood is contemplative.
9 Staccato e leggiero 0:58 Andrew Ball 11/2/1997
10 Con brio ed impeto - Volante 3:09 Yonty Solomon 9/30/1979 An intense, fiery etude consisting of rapidly ascending and descending arpeggios (some mirrored between the hands) underpinned by sharply dissonant chords.
11 Animato abbastanza 1:37 Fredrik Ullén 8/17/2003
12 Leggerio quasi “saltando” 1:44 Carlo Grante 8/23/1996
13 (no marking) 3:31 Fredrik Ullén 2/15/2003 Another piece evoking Scriabin, beginning with groups of three note pairs in chromatic scales that move slowly and tremblingly up and down, developing into larger structures but with the underlying tremolo texture consistent throughout
14 Tranquillamente soave 4:35 Fredrik Ullén 2/15/2003
15 (no marking) 1:40 Andrew Ball 11/2/1997
16 (no marking) 2:43 Carlo Grante 2/8/1998
17 Molto accentato 1:56 Giampaolo Nuti 11/13/1999
18 Liscio. Tranquillamente scorrevole 5:13 Giampaolo Nuti 11/13/1999
19 Saltando e leggiero 2:12 Carlo Grante 6/2/1996 As the name implies, this etude consists of clusters of four notes in both hands which require the pianist to "jump" up and down the keyboard rapidly
20 Con fantasia 5:24 Fredrik Ullén 7/9/2003 This nocturne-like slower etude consists of a melody in the right hand with wispy, complex rhythms against simple arpeggios and chords in the left hand
21 Con eleganza e disinvoltura 4:37 Fredrik Ullén 7/9/2003
22 Leggiero volante e presto assai 1:24 Fredrik Ullén 7/9/2003
23 Dolcemente scorrevole 1:24 Fredrik Ullén 9/22/2005
24 Mouvementé 5:40 Yonty Solomon 9/30/1979
25 Vivace e secco 2:42 Fredrik Ullén 8/11/2003
26 Dolcissimo 9:56 Fredrik Ullén 8/11/2003
27 Staccato e leggiero a capriccio 2:57 (unperformed)
28 Leggiero e volante 2:15 Fredrik Ullén 8/17/2003
29 A capriccio. Leggiero 2:09 Fredrik Ullén 9/22/2005
30 Con fantasia 4:36 Fredrik Ullén 9/22/2005
31 Vivace assai 2:14 Carlo Grante 7/20/1995
32 Legato possibile, quasi dolce 3:12 Fredrik Ullén 8/17/2003
33 Vivace e brioso 4:42 (unperformed)
34 Soave e dolce. Insinuante 4:11 Fredrik Ullén 8/17/2003
35 (no marking) 2:17 Fredrik Ullén 3/22/2006
36 Mano sinistra sempre sola 7:16 Nicola Ventrella 11/20/1999 A two-part etude for the left hand alone, the first part consisting of a warm, expressive melody with typically complex harmonies, the second consisting of a technically challenging one-handed fugue with some voices in two- and three-note chords in parts
37 Riflessioni. Moderato 3:54 Fredrik Ullén 8/11/2003
38 Con fantasia 4:53 Sid Samberg 9/10/2013 An étude in minor ninths. Littered with complex polyrhythms and contrapuntal passages in the accompaniment.
39 (no marking) 3:34 (unperformed)
40 Moderato 3:09 Fredrik Ullén 8/17/2003
41 (no marking) 3:40 Fredrik Ullén 8/19/2006
42 Impetuoso e con fuoco ed energia 4:15 (unperformed)
43 (no marking) 4:39 Fredrik Ullén 8/19/2006
44 Ben cantato. Dolce e chiaro 15:25 Kentaro Noda 11/2/2008
45 (no marking) 1:26 (unperformed)
46 (no marking) 2:44 (unperformed)
47 Leggiero e a capriccio 2:35 (unperformed)
48 Volante 3:14 (unperformed)
49 Vivace ma non troppo 2:23 Fredrik Ullén 8/17/2003
50 Per il pedale 3 4:50 Fredrik Ullén 8/17/2003
51 (no marking) 3:15 (unperformed)
52 (no marking) 3:14 Alexander Abercrombie 4/12/2003
53 A capriccio 1:59 (unperformed)
54 (no marking) 4:17 (unperformed)
55 (no marking) 2:43 (unperformed)
56 Moderato 3:10 (unperformed)
57 (no marking) 3:15 (unperformed)
58 Leggiero 3:31 (unperformed)
59 Quasi fantasia. Moderato 10:46 Fredrik Ullén 5/18/2003
60 Saltando, leggiero 3:07 (unperformed)
61 (no marking) 4:12 (unperformed)
62 (no marking) 2:37 (unperformed)
63 En forme de valse. Leggiero con disinvoltura 17:00 (unperformed)
64 (no marking) 2:38 (unperformed)
65 (no marking) 2:33 Fredrik Ullén 8/12/2003
66 (no marking) 6:07 Nicola Ventrella 7/9/1996
67 (no marking) 4:10 Fredrik Ullén 8/12/2003
68 Sotto voce 2:28 (unperformed)
69 La punta d’organo. Sotto voce 25:39 Florian Steininger 2/1/2014
70 Rhythmes brisés 4:08 Alexander Abercrombie 4/12/2003
71 Aria 13:14 Fredrik Ullén 8/8/2014
72 Canonica. Marcato 2:11 Nicola Ventrella 12/19/1997
73 Quasi Preludio-corale. Sonorità piena, morbida e dolcissima 17:57 Kentaro Noda 11/2/2008
74 Ostinato. Secco 4:22 (unperformed)
75 Passacaglia. Largo 28:50 Fredrik Ullén 8/17/2003 A passacaglia with 100 variations, a microcosm of the entire series of 100 etudes
76 Imitations. Presto assai 1:10 Nicola Ventrella 12/19/1997
77 (no marking) 1:34 Nicola Ventrella 12/19/1997
78 (no marking) 1:44 Ernest So 3/21/2020
79 The inlaid line. Legatissimo il tema melodico 2:08 Jørgen Hald Nielsen 4/9/2011
80 La linea melodica. Mormorando sordamente 5:46 Kentaro Noda 11/2/2008
81 The Suspensions. Lento quasi Adagio e gravemente solenne 5:35 Nicola Ventrella 7/9/1996
82 Sordamente e oscuramente minaccioso 2:28 (unperformed)
83 Arpeggiated fourths 4:12 Nicola Ventrella 11/20/1999
84 Tango habanera. Leggiero, con grazia indolente 8:00 Jonathan Powell 2/1/2003
85 (no marking) 1:40 Nicola Ventrella 11/20/1999
86 Adagietto. Legatissimo 2:20 Carlo Grante 1/23/1996
87 Studio gammatico 3:15 (unperformed)
88 (no marking) 1:20 Nicola Ventrella 12/19/1997
89 Chopsticks. Vivace 1:20 Fredrik Ullén 8/12/2003
90 (no marking) 3:00 (unperformed)
91 Volante leggiero 1:45 (unperformed)
92 Legato possibile. Velato, misterioso 1:30 Fredrik Ullén 8/17/2003
93 Leggiero, saltando 2:10 (unperformed)
94 Ornaments. Con fantasia 3:30 Florian Steininger 2/15/2013
95 (no marking) 0:45 Nicola Ventrella 11/20/1999
96 (no marking) 2:50 Kentaro Noda 11/2/2008
97 (no marking) 3:00 Kentaro Noda 7/19/2007
98 Staccato e vivace 2:40 Kentaro Noda 7/19/2007
99 Quasi fantasia. Scorrevole 16:05 Kentaro Noda 1/4/2006 An expansion on the fantasia from J. S. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor, BWV 903
100 Coda-finale. Fuga a cinque soggetti 56:00 Kentaro Noda 1/4/2006 The longest of the 100 etudes, this is a quintuple fugue which develops five themes extensively

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sorabji's title is Études transcendantales.
  2. ^ "100 Transcendental Etudes (1940-1944)". www.bis.se. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  3. ^ "100 Transcendental Etudes (1940-1944)". www.bis.se. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  4. ^ "100 Transcendental Etudes (1940-1944)". www.bis.se. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  5. ^ "100 Transcendental Etudes (1940-1944)". www.bis.se. Archived from the original on 2016-03-22. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  6. ^ "100 Transcendental Etudes (1940-1944)". www.bis.se. Archived from the original on 2019-05-06. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  7. ^ http://www.sorabji-archive.co.uk/news.php
  8. ^ "100 Transcendental Etudes (1940-1944)". www.sorabji-archive.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  9. ^ "100 Transcendental Etudes (1940-1944)". www.sorabji-archive.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-05-11.