Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892-1988): As a composer, Sorabji was largely self-taught. On 2 cds I have Jonathan Powell’s recording of the 8 hour Sequential Cyclica for solo piano/ 8 hours! I hope the pianist gets a washroom break at some point. Of Parsi & English parentage & openly gay he had a lifelong tendency to seclusion. I came across a post on Tumblr about him & was intrigued, found the Cyclica on iTunes. Sonically dense, some sections are under five minutes at least one is nearly an hour. If you are fan of Keith Jarrett this is the man for you.
Rounding out the cds I have Johann Vexo: Organ of Notre Dame – I bought this because of the Notre Dame fire. Oddly none of the shows I’ve watched about the rebuilding of the cathedral have mentioned the organ or any damage that happened to it. Maybe it out for the day & was saved from burning? The sound is epic, the pieces are elegant & not overtly religious.
Reynaldo Hahn (1874 -1947) & Jules Massenet (1842 – 1912) Piano Concertos. Never heard of Reynaldo Hahn? Neither had I until their was a post about him on Tumblr. Another obscure classical composer. He was Proust’s lover for many years. The concerto is romantic &, to my ears, unexceptional. The same holds for the Massenet concerto – pleasant & undemanding classical music.
The same is true of Frederick Delius’s (1862 – 1934) Sea Drift, Songs of Farewell. Though some do find semi-opera orchestra songs a bit challenging. I downloaded this after reading a biography of Bram Stoker. Sea Drift was a piece of music he listened to frequently for creative motivation & solace. As a result of the swelling strings I haven’t been inspired to write a new Dracula.
Finally Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643: Magnificat & Missa. Beautiful coral work sections of which were used on the soundtrack for a Spanish film I watched. I can’t recall the film but I was happy when I tracked down the actual recording used in the film. Often when I do this sort of search I come up emptied handed (or is that empty eared?). A great introduction to the whole genre of religious choral music that isn’t too sonorous or melodramatic.