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This is the fourth volume in Swedish pianist Fredrik Ullén’s ongoing series of Kaikhosru Sorabji’s Transcendental Studies, the first complete cycle to be recorded by one soloist. Sorabji (1892-1988) was not one for bitesize formats: several of his piano works last five to six hours. The Etudes, which reference Liszt’s cycle, are thought to be the largest collection in the repertoire, dwarfing even Alkan’s output. In this volume we find Sorabji at his most expansive, having explored typical structures in earlier Etudes. Ullén is a superb interpreter of this difficult and often intensely beautiful sound world. Etude No 63 is a 17-minute waltz with complex interwoven rhythms most pianists would struggle to read, let alone play. There are smaller, untitled studies here too – Nos 68, 64 and 65 are around the two-and-a-half-minute mark, and they pack a powerful musical punch.

CLAIRE JACKSON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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