Illustrations

This page presents Sorabji-related photographs from the personal collection of Marc-André Roberge made as part of his research for Opus sorabjianum: The Life and Works of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. When possible, images from other sources are also offered. No attempt has been made to avoid duplication with other sources mentioned below.

When appropriate, the captions end with an indication, such as [5], of the chapter in Opus sorabjianum where the person, place, etc., mentioned may be discussed in more detail.

For other collections of pictures of Sorabji, his parents, some of his closest friends, his Corfe Castle house, etc., see:

  • OB: Sean Vaughn Owen, “Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji: An Oral Biography”, Ph.D. diss., University of Southampton, 2006 (c2008). A list of illustrations appears on p. 6.
  • SCC: Paul Rapoport, ed., Sorabji: A Critical Celebration (Aldershot, Hampshire: Scolar Press [later Ashgate, now Routledge], 1992, 1994). A list of illustrations appears on pp. xi-xii.

See also a list of links to pictures of people associated with Sorabji (dedicatees, friends, critics, etc.).

Places of Residence

See also a list of Sorabji’s places of residence.

A view of Buxton Road, Chingford, Essex, where Sorabji resided during the first years of his life. The house number where he lived is unknown. [1]
A view of 10 Great Russell Mansions, located at 60 Great Russell Street (across the street from the entrance to the British Museum) where Sorabji resided from around November 1914 to the beginning of March 1915. The plate on the left reads “GREAT / RUSSELL / MANSIONS”, and the number “60” is partly hidden by the lamp post. [5]
A view of Hanover House, 25a St John’s Wood High Street, City of Westminster, London W1, where Sorabji resided from around October 1913 to around mid-April 1914. [5]
A view of Clarence Gate Gardens, which consists of two blocks of flats on both sides of Glentworth Street, London NW1, where Sorabji and his mother resided from around May 1915 to the early 1950s, first on the west side at no. 29, then on the east side at no. 177, and finally at no. 175. [5]
A view of Clarence Gate Gardens from the south end, where Glentworth Street (north-south) intersects with Melcombe Street (east-west). [5]
A view of the entrance of the building in which Sorabji resided at Clarence Gate Gardens. The text in the window above the doors reads “Clarence Gate Gardens / 169-189”. [5]
A rear view of the building (left side of the picture) in which Sorabji resided at Clarence Gate Gardens, showing the service entrance, located on Siddons Lane. [5]
A view of Clarence Gate Gardens from Ivor Place, at the north end, showing St. Cyprian’s Church on the right, where Jonathan Powell, on 20 February 2004, gave the first performance in the United Kingdom since 1931 of Nocturne, “Jāmī” (1928; 28 pp.) and the world premiere of Frammenti aforistici (20) (1964; 9 pp.). [5]
A view of The Eye, Higher Filbank, Corfe Castle, where Sorabji resided with Reginald Norman Best from around June 1956 to 6 June 1986. [17]
A view of what was once Beckwell House, located at 11 Welbeck Street, London W1 (corner of Welbeck Street and Welbeck Way, very close to the Wigmore Hall), where Sorabji stayed during his Corfe Castle years when he had to spend a few days in the capital for dental treatments or to attend to the binding of his manuscripts by the reputed firm of Zaehnsdorf. [17]
A view of Christmas Close Hospital, Wareham, where Sorabji resided from 28 July to 15 October 1986 and from 21 October 1986 to 20 March 1987. [23]
A view of Marley House Nursing Home, Winfrith Newburgh, where Sorabji resided from 20 March 1987 until his death on 15 October 1988. [23]

Tombstones

Tombstone for Madeline Matilda Worthy, Sorabji’s mother, in the Bournemouth cemetery, showing a passage from Verdi’s Requiem. The inscription reads: SACRED / TO THE MEMORY / OF / MADELEINE MARGUERITE / MATHILDE SHAPURJI / SORABJI / † V. V. MCMLIX. AD / [quotation of bars 2–4 of the vocal part of the “Lux aeterna” from Verdi’s Requiem, with underlaid text “Lux aeterna luceat eis Domine”]. [18]
Tombstone for Reginald Norman Best in “God’s Acre”, the Corfe Castle Cemetery. The inscription reads: REGINALD / NORMAN / BEST / 1909-1988. [23]
Tombstone for Sorabji in “God’s Acre”, the Corfe Castle Cemetery. The inscription reads: SORABJI / XIV VIII MdCCCXCII / XV X MCMLXXXVIII (the “d” is lowercase). [23]

Manuscripts

See also a list of photographs of manuscript pages (linked from library cataogues or documentation related to auction sales).

A view of some of Sorabji’s bound manuscripts at the Sorabji Archive (Bath), their former location. [Introduction]
A view of several of Sorabji’s bound manuscripts at the Sorabji Archive (Bath), their former location. The top row contains scores in landscape format, with a tall one in portrait format, namely, Symphony [no. 1] for Piano, Large Orchestra, Chorus, and Organ (1921-22; 300 pp.), on top of them. [Introduction]
A view of some of Sorabji’s bound manuscripts at the Sorabji Archive (Bath), their former location. The supplementary scores for additional instruments that do not fit in the main score of the Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra (1935-37, 1953-56; 540 pp.) and Opus clavisymphonicum — Concerto for Piano and Large Orchestra (1957-59; 333 pp.) can be seen besides the main scores. [Introduction]
The manuscript of Sorabji’s Sequentia cyclica super “Dies irae” ex Missa pro defunctis (1948-49; 335 pp.), showing its last two pages, on the stand of his Steinway Patent Grand. The instrument, built in 1896 and bearing number 85082, had been acquired by Sorabji from Strong & Jackson in London in 1931, before which time it was apparently used in a Glasgow movie theatre. [12]

Letters

Reply dated 10 May 1977 from Sorabji to the Dutch musicologist Frank Lioni, who had written to the composer after having read his writings about Alkan. Reproduced with permission.

Books

Spine and front cover of the original edition of Around Music. [11]
Initial page of the article “Busoni” (pp. 21-30) from the original edition of Around Music. [11]
Spine and front of the jacket for the original edition of Mi contra fa: The Immoralisings of a Machiavellian Musician (heavily damaged and digitally repaired). [16]
Back and spine of the jacket for the original edition of Mi contra fa: The Immoralisings of a Machiavellian Musician (heavily damaged copy, digitally repaired). [16]
Front and back flaps of the jacket for Mi contra fa: The Immoralisings of a Machiavellian Musician, with the publisher’s blurb (heavily damaged copy, digitally repaired). On the back flap the word littératur (first paragraph, third line) should read littérateur. [16]
Cover of the original edition of Mi contra fa: The Immoralisings of a Machiavellian Musician. [16]
Title page of the original edition of Mi contra fa: The Immoralisings of a Machiavellian Musician. [16]
Initial page of the chapter “Leopold Godowsky as Creative Transcriber” (pp. 62-70) from the original edition of Mi contra fa: The Immoralisings of a Machiavellian Musician. [16]

Miscellaneous Archival Documents

Letterheads for the Society of Connoisseurs and the Criterion Club, mock one-man foundations created by Sorabji’s American friend and correspondent Norman P. Gentieu in an attempt to convince him of accepting his generosity in microfilming his manuscripts. Personal collection of the author (gift of Norman P. Gentieu). [17]
Annotated printed statement (for selective distribution) in which Sorabji warns against believing published information about him. From the collection of Norman P. Gentieu (photocopy provided by the repicient, who transcribed the first comment). Sorabji liked to send to his friends copies of documents about himself, or copies of open letters that he had sent to periodicals, often with annotations. The lines at the bottom reproduce (with one variant) two verses from the description of John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey (1696-1743), in the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot (1734) by Alexander Pope (1688-1744). The original reads as follows (the quoted passage is set here in italics): “Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel? Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?] Yet let me flap this Bug with gilded wings, / This painted Child of Dirt that stinks and stings; Whose Buzz the Witty and the Fair annoys, Yet Wit ne’er tastes, and Beauty ne’er enjoys, / So well-bred Spaniels civilly delight / In mumbling of the Game they dare not bite” (lines 307-14). The name “Pope” can be seen in the lower-right corner. Personal collection of the author (photocopy; gift of Norman P. Gentieu). [4]

People

Portrait of Sorabji’s friend and dedicatee Norman P. Gentieu, from Philadelphia, in October 1956. Personal collection of the author (gift of Norman P. Gentieu). [17]
Portrait of Sorabji’s friend and dedicatee Harold Morland seated in his library (undated). Personal collection of the author (gift of Robert William Procter). [15]
Marc-André Roberge and Alistair Hinton examining the manuscript of Concerto V for Piano and Large Orchestra [no. 8] (1927-28; 344 pp.) at the Sorabji Archive (Bath) on 24 June 1992 (day of their first meeting). The supplementary score for additional instruments that do not fit in the main score can be seen protruding slightly at the bottom of the recto page. [Preface]
Yonty Solomon standing in front of his grand piano on 4 July 1996, when Marc-André Roberge was invited to have tea with the pianist. [22]

Concert Venues

A view of what was once Mortimer Hall, located at 93 Mortimer Street, London W1 (near the intersection with Great Portland Street; now a commercial building), where Sorabji gave his first documented recital, playing Sonata no. 1 for Piano (1919; 42 pp.), on 2 November 1920. [6]
An inside view of the Westminster Congregational Church (opened in this form in 1865, since it replaced an earlier building; now Westminster Chapel), located at the southwest corner of Buckingham Gate and Castle Lane, London SW1, where E. Emlyn Davies gave the first performance of the second movement of Symphony [no. 1] for Organ (1924; 81 pp.) on 17 May 1928, and Sorabji the first performance of Nocturne, “Jāmī” (1928; 28 pp.) on 16 January 1930. The organ was built by Henry Willis & Sons in 1879 and rebuilt by Rushworth & Dreaper in 1920 and 1982, and restored by them in 1953. It features 4 keyboards and 45 stops on the left and 33 on the right. [8]
A view of what, when the picture was taken (1996), was the entrance of the Townhouse Hotel, West George Street, Glasgow G2 1NG. The building is located on Nelson Mandela Place, in front of the Church of Scotland, St George’s-Tron Parish Church. It was originally built as the Glasgow Liberal Club and eventually used as part of the Royal Academy of Music and Drama. The civic number, engraved at the top of the porch, used to be “186-199”. In the 1930s it housed Stevenson Hall, where Sorabji performed his works on four occasions at concerts of Erik Chisholm’s Active Society for the Propagation of Contemporary Music. [9, 10, 12]
A view of the current building of the Royal College of Nursing (dating from 1703), showing what is now the goods entrance at 1a Henrietta Place, formerly the location of Cowdray Hall, where John Tobin performed pars prima from Opus clavicembalisticum (1929-30; 253 pp.) on 10 March 1936. Formerly the home of the Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith (1852-1928), who served as the Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916, it once housed the Cowdray Club, also known as the Nation’s Nurses and Professional Women’s Club (1922-74). Henrietta is the first name of the wife of Edward Henley, who developed the area. [13]

Places

A view of the slopes of Corfe Castle as seen from “God’s Acre”, the cemetery where Sorabji and Reginald Norman Best are interred. [17]
A view of the Bankes Arms Hotel, where Sorabji stayed during his annual summer holiday period in Corfe Castle starting in the 1930s. We know from letters or inscriptions in the manuscripts that he completed the following scores or movements there: second movement of Sonata V (Opus archimagicum) (1934-35; 336 pp.), Symphonic Variations for Piano (1935-37; 484 pp.), second movement of Symphony [no. 2], “Jāmī”, for Large Orchestra, Wordless Chorus, and Baritone Solo (1942-51; 826 pp.). [17]
A view of Villa Tasca, in Palermo, which served as inspiration for Villa Tasca: mezzogiorno siciliano — evocazione nostalgica e memoria tanta cara e preziosa del giardino meraviglioso, splendido, tropicale (1979-80; 47 pp.) and, before it, the second movement of Sonata IV for Piano (1928-29; 111 pp.), emphasizing the building itself. [9, 23]
A view of Villa Tasca, in Palermo, which served as inspiration for Villa Tasca: mezzogiorno siciliano — evocazione nostalgica e memoria tanta cara e preziosa del giardino meraviglioso, splendido, tropicale (1979-80; 47 pp.) and, before it, the second movement of Sonata IV for Piano (1928-29; 111 pp.), emphasizing the lushness of the surrounding vegetation. [9, 23]

Art Works

Drawing in pen, coloured ink and wash over pencil, with metallic highlights, by the English artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956), signed with initials “aos”, dating from around 1925; 15″ × 21 1/2″. Originally owned by Sorabji, sold by Sotheby (“Realms of the Mind: British Fantasy Art and Illustration”, 30 October 1997, lot 86). From the collection of John Slater, photograph by Ossian Brown. Reproduced with permission.
Last modified: 2017-06-07
© Marc-André Roberge 2017
Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)
Faculté de musique, Université Laval, Québec

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