It seems like I’m writing an awful lot about European music lately, as though going to Europe focused me on a continent I hadn’t paid attention to in a long time. Partly true, perhaps, but largely coincidental, I think. In any case, David Carter has uploaded his elaborate MIDI realization of Kaikhosru Sorabji’s Jami Symphony. The timings of the movements are as follows:
1st movement: 1:34:47 (86.81MB)
2nd movement: 19:46 (18.1MB)
3rd movement: 1:58:57 (109.91MB)
4th movement: 43:07 (39.48MB)
Total: 4:36:37 (301.82 MB)
Four and a half hours: that’s one long friggin’ symphony. That’s the Well-Tuned Piano of orchestral works. I freely admit I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet, and don’t know when I’ll have the time, but I’m fascinated by Sorabji’s music, especially given how early (late 1910s) he was working at a level of complexity unprecedented by anyone except the then-unknown Charles Ives. According to the Sorabji web site, the Jami was his Third Symphony, written between 1942 and ’51. You can obtain a miniature score for £205, in case you’d like to arrange a performance with your school orchestra or something. The work contains a wordless chorus and baritone solo, realized by wordless vocal timbres in the recording. Carter’s goal is to someday implement a higher-quality realization using the Vienna Symphonic Library. It’s only a MIDI version, but, as Carter says, if you’re my age, you’re unlikely to hear an actual performance or recording of the work in your lifetime.