Sorabji: A Critical Celebration

Edited by Paul Rapoport.

Published by Scolar Press, Gower House, Croft Road, Aldershot, Hampshire GU11 3HR, England
Ashgate Publishing Company, Old Post Road, Brookfield, Vermont 05036, USA.
ISBN 0-85967-923-3

This book, the first devoted to Sorabji, explores his life and character, his music, his articles and letters. It both presents the legend accurately and dispels its exaggerated aspects. The portrait which emerges is not of a crank or eccentric but of a highly original and accomplished musical thinker whom recent performances and recordings confirm as unique and important.

Most of the contributors knew Sorabji personally. They have all written about or performed his music, gaining international recognition for their work. Generous quotation of Sorabji's published and unpublished music and prose assists in bringing him and his work strikingly to life. The book also contains the most complete and accurate register of his work ever published.

Dr. Paul Rapoport is Associate Professor of Music at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Review from Notes, September 1994:

Paul Rapoport's "critical celebration" is so far removed from this kind of perfunctory research - his own love of the subject so indelibly inscribed everywhere, his editorial hand so secure and thorough - that the value of the book is undeniable. One of the book's biggest strengths, in my opinion, is that the material is so absorbing and the subject matter so rich that even those mildly interested individuals who might just consult it for one piece of information will no doubt be tempted to browse and very possibly read it through.
The range of topics, while perhaps not absolutely comprehensive, is still eminently satisfactory and more than sufficient. The subject matter includes: an introduction to the music and an attempt to elucidate its position within the framework of music history as well as its place in posterity; portraits of the composer through vivid personal accounts; a detailed and meticulous catalogue of works; a list of performances; a discussion of Sorabji's pianistic vocabulary; an examination of his work as music critic (an important part of his activities); and finally a discourse concerning pianistic problems peculiar to Sorabji.

This book is available from the Sorabji Archive for £49.50 (shipping not included).

Table of Contents

PART I: Discovery

1. Why Sorabji? by Paul Rapoport
2. Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji: An Introduction by Alistair Hinton
3. Sorabji: A Continuation by Paul Rapoport
4. A Few Recollections and Ruminations by Frank Holliday
5. "Could you just send me a list of his works?" by Paul Rapoport (includes an annotated catalog of the composer's works)

PART II: The Prose

6. Sorabji's Letters to Heseltine by Kenneth Derus
7. Sorabji's Music Criticism by Nazlin Bhimani (focuses on his writings about Delius, Elgar, Bax, Holst, and other British composers)
8. Sorabji's Other Writings by Paul Rapoport (includes selections from his two published books, his correspondence, and his "Commonplace Book")

PART III: The Music

9. Sorabji's Piano Music by Michael Habermann (a general discussion followed by a specific treatment of Le jardin parfumé)
10. Performing Opus clavicembalisticum by Geoffrey Douglas Madge with Paul Rapoport
11. Splendour upon Splendour: On Hearing Sorabji Play by Frank Holliday (a corrected reprint of an article published privately in 1960)
12. Un tessuto d'esecuzioni: A Register of Performances of Sorabji's Works by Marc-André Roberge

Perigraph. To Remember Sorabji's Music: A Short-Form Conclusion by Kenneth Derus

Appendix I. The Texts of Sorabji's Vocal Music by Paul Rapoport
Appendix II. The Recordings of Sorabji's Music by Paul Rapoport
Appendix III. The Sorabji Music Archive by Alistair Hinton

Index of Sorabji's Compositions
General Index

back to the Sorabji Archive home page

This page maintained by Erica Schulman Kane (
All suggestions welcome.