Organ Symphony No. 2

 

Anyone interested in Sorabji's three Organ Symphonies simply has to visit Kevin Bowyers project website. Surely the greatest single Sorabji undertaking.

In preperation for Kevin's performance of OS2 I have created a number of excerpts in Sibelius to familiarise myself with the sound world. The performance of the third part in June 2009 was one of the most extraordinary musical experiences I have had. It was thrilling beyond words. These renditions are with the VSL Konzerthaus Organ.

Preludio, Adagio & Toccata (Excerpts)

This starts with the first 4 minutes of the preludio fading out and back in at 4'04" into the last 2'30" of the preludio which end at 6'30" when the Adagio starts. You get the first 3'16"  of the Adagio which then it fades out and back in at 9'46" to a section in the middle of the Adagio which caught my eye. Much of the Adagio, it seems to me is something of a funeral march, there certainly seems to be a steady tramp through large sections of the Adagio this middle passage in particular. This section fades out at 13'41" and into the the last part of the Adagio which ends at 16'15" when we go straight into the remarkable Toccata which in this performance opens quietly and has an almost eerie mysterious quality. There are so many notes that you only get (for the moment) the first three minutes when at 17'23" we fade out and back into the last three minutes which ends at 20'36".

The peice then goes staright into the Fuga Triplex which you can listen to above.

Fuga Triplex (Excerpts)

These three huge fugues culminate the work. Each fugue is in six voices except very unobtrusively in the stretto of the second fugue a seventh voice is added! The order of voices is:

Fugue one: Bass, Soprano 1, Soprano 2, Alto, Tenor, Pedals.

Fugue two: Bass, Tenor, Pedals, Alto, Soprano 2, Soprano 1.

Fugue three: Bass, Tenor, Alto, Soprano 2, Soprano 1, Pedals.

After all the voices have stated the theme I fade out then fade back into the end of the stretto and into the next fugue. After the third fugue I fade out and into the last couple of pages of the whole work. It sounds fairly impressive here but at the end of Kevin Bowyer's peformance I was physically shaken and had wobbly legs for some time.

This performance is with the Vienna Konzerthaus Organ (recorded by the Vienna Symphonic Library) on the GrosserSaal with the mike position in the 17th row. As to registrations I have absolutely no idea and Sorabji doesn't give any clues so I have just chosen what sounds OK to me. If I have made any howlers please let me know.

Fuga Tripex Much Extended

A much extended performance of the fuga triplex from Sorabji's Organ Symphony No 2. I've now done the opening section of each fugue until all voices have stated the theme and then jump to the whole of the stretto for each fugue and the whole of the coda stretto that concludes the work. About 50 minutes of music. I've taken liberties with voice leading so that which ever theme in whichever voice is being stated is louder.In the coda stretto that concludes the work each of the three themes is stated in all six voices bottom upwards one after the other. Even cheating with dynamics that's still quite hard to follow as there is hardly any respite from 6, 7 or 8 lines of polyphony. Enjoy in MP3 or FLAC.

 

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© David Carter