Citations of the Dies irae
This page lists in chronological order the works in which Sorabji used the medieval sequence Dies irae by Thomas of Celano (d. ca. 1250).
Click on a column heading to sort, then shift-click on other headings to sort on multiple columns.
Surround strings with quotation marks for specific searches. Press F5 (Refresh) to revert to the initial order.
|Music to “The Rider by Night” (1919; 54 pp.)||The melody is featured as part of the dark introduction.|
|Variazioni e fuga triplice sopra “Dies irae” per pianoforte (1923-26; 201 pp.)||Sorabji sets the entire melody (minus its repetitions). The first nine of the sixteen phrases correspond to tercets 1, 3, and 5 of the chant. Stanza 17 (“Oro supplex et acclinis”) is skipped, and phrases 10-16 correspond to the rest of the sequence, including the “Amen”.|
|Sonata V (Opus archimagicum) (1934-35; 336 pp.)||The “Preludio-corale sopra ‘Dies irae’” (pp. 253-80) consists of three statements of the entire Gregorian melody, which is made up of sixteen phrases (pp. 253-59, 259-66, 267-80). The second fugue (pp. 300-309) uses a variant of the melody with some faster rhythmic values.|
|“Quaere reliqua hujus materiei inter secretiora” (1940; 16 pp.)||The first page states a fragment of the melody, at the words “in favilla”.|
|St. Bertrand de Comminges: “He was laughing in the tower” (1941; 16 pp.)||The opening segment of the melody is quoted in two instances.|
|Sequentia cyclica super “Dies irae” ex Missa pro defunctis (1948-49; 335 pp.)||Sorabji sets the entire melody, though without its repetitions. The first nine of the fifteen phrases correspond to tercets 1, 3, and 5 of the chant. Stanza 17 (“Oro supplex et acclinis”) is skipped, and phrases 10-15 match the rest of the sequence, including the “Amen”. Var. 22, which is a passacaglia with 100 variations, uses the melody as its theme. Only the five initial notes of the theme of the first fugue have a link to the melody.|
|Third Organ Symphony (1949-53; 305 pp.)||Sorabji quotes the entire first verse of the melody in the pedal part (p. 84) in the second part of the work. It is also used for a chordal statement at the end of the “Toccata” in the third part.|
|Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra (1935-37, 1953-56; 540 pp.)||The first six notes are heard in the horns and viola in var. 17.|
|Toccata quarta (1964-67; 149 pp.)||The melody is used in the “Intermezzo secondo. Of a neophyte and how the Black Art was revealed to him.”|
|Passeggiata arlecchinesca sopra un frammento di Busoni (“Rondò arlecchinesco”) (1981-82; 16 pp.)||The melody is quoted on p. 9 of the manuscript (p. 18 of the edition).|
The contents of this website devoted to the English composer Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji may be freely used for documentary purposes in a research context provided that due credit is given but may not be mirrored on any other server. Links to external or third-party websites cannot be guaranteed to be, or remain, valid or persistent, and their contents cannot be guaranteed to be, or remain, accurate or appropriate.