Notes on Un nido di scatole

This page provides a list of contents of Sorabji’s Un nido di scatole sopra il nome del grande e buon amico Harold Rutland (1954; 26 pp.), with English translations of the Italian section titles and explanations.

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Section Number Italian Title [Translation] Explanation [Translation]
Section Number Italian Title [Translation] Explanation [Translation]
Dapprima ecco la cosa che contengono le scatole. Con impetuosità [First here is the thing that the boxes contain. With impetuosity] Opens with a “didattico” [forceful, emphatic] statement of the dedicatee’s name and continues as an introduction to the work
La prima scatola [The first box] Fuggitivo [Fugitively] Toccata-style piece in semiquavers
La seconda scatola [The second box] Statements of the theme’s head, beginning against runs in the low register, played “Sordamente” [Dully]
La terza scatola [The third box] Abbastanza soave [Rather gentle] Lyrical piece, with a middle section marked “Il tutto in una ambienza [recte un’ambiente] di perversità velenosa e profumata” [Everything to be played in an atmosphere of poisoned and perfumed perversity]
La quarta [The fourth one; etc.] [Un] pochino religioso, ma senza ipocrisia alcuna! Piccolo preludio corale tascabile [Slightly religiously, but without any hypocrisy! Small portable chorale prelude] Contrapuntal piece based on an extension of the head motive, first using in quavers, then semiquavers. Ends with a short chordal passage in triads, marked “Sonorità piena e morbida; lunga!!” [Full and delicate sonority; long!!]
La quinta La mezza via tra legato e distaccato [The middle way between legato and staccato] Virtuoso piece ending with a run in chords, marked “esplosivo: focosamente[,] con furia e rabbia” [Explosive: fiery, with violence and rage]
La sesta Con impertinenza graziosa [With graceful impertinence] In triple time throughout (with bar lines), in the style of the Valse-fantaisie for Piano (1925; 16 pp.); accelerates to a “vertiginoso” ending
La settima “Omnium ecclesiarum urbis et orbis Mater et Caput” [The mother and head of all the churches of the City (i.e., Rome) and of the head (i.e., universe?] Four statements in the manner of a chorale, consisting of series of ten triads in both hands, separated with episodes; ends on a low fourth chord marked “Come dal’abisso senza fondo” [As if coming from the bottomless abyss]
L’ottava Arabeschi gammatiche [recte gammatici] (Macché!) [Scalar arabesques (Oh no!)] Cadenza-like piece consisting of scales in both hands, starting and ending on full chords
La nona Ostinatissima come [recte quanto] mai [As obstinate as possible] Passacaglia (though not so described by Sorabji) consisting of twenty-eight statements of the dedicatee’s name with increasingly virtuoso parts added
La decima Languido e sonnolento [Languid and somnolent] Nocturne style
L’undecima [recte undicesima] L’algolagniaco [The one who loves to inflict pain] Violent piece using various statements of the head motive, with markings such as “grido acutissimo”, “declamato”, and “con fracasso” [Most acute cry; as if ranting; roaring]
La duodecima [recte dodicesima] Con vivacissima impetuosità [With the fastest impetuosity] Study in octaves
La tredecima [recte tredicesima] Con raffinamento affettato, quasi di piccola borghese che vorebbe darsi delle arie d’essere gran dama [With an affected refinement, almost like a petit-bourgeois woman trying to put on the look of a great lady] Waltz, with bar lines throughout
La quartadecima [recte quattordicesima] Ein kleines Heldentenorleben. Mit Schwung, feurig [A small heroic tenor’s life. With verve, fiery] A (Richard) Strauss-like piece with interpretive directions in German: “Fliessend”, “Gedehnt”, “Schwer”, “Sehr empfindungsvoll doch nicht schleppend!”, “Sehr rasch”, “Gemessen”, “Keck” [Flowing, Drawn out, Full of feeling but without dragging, Very briskly, Measured, Bold]
La quidecima [recte quindicesima] Toccatissima. Si guarda un tocco sempre non legato, cioè quasi spiccato degli [recte dei] violinisti [Most toccata-like. With hard fingers. Keep an always non legato touch, that is almost like a violinist’s spiccato] Study in double notes
La sedicesima A rivederci! Con grande flessibilità [Goodbye! With great flexibility] Short concluding piece ending with a passage in triads (the final chord is F minor)
Last modified: 2018-03-12
© Marc-André Roberge 2018
Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)
Faculté de musique, Université Laval, Québec

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