Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)

About This Site

This page provides an introduction to the Sorabji Resource Site containing all relevant technical information. It concludes with a formal biographical note about the author.

The Site

Context: The Sorabji Resource Site, inaugurated on 11 August 2010, is the creation of Marc-André Roberge, retired professor of musicology (as of September 2018) at the Faculty of Music at Laval University (Québec City, Canada) {Google Maps}. Roberge has been studying the life and music of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892-1988) since 1983, or even 1976, when he discovered his music by reading the Guide to the Pianist’s Repertoire by Maurice Hinson (1930-2015) and proceeded to purchase some scores from Oxford University Press. Creating this website was part of a sabbatical project (2008-2009). For more context about the author’s discovery of Sorabji, see the section “Discovering Sorabji” in the Preface to his book Opus sorabjianum: The Life and Works of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, which can be downloaded from its page on this website.

Content: The Sorabji Resource Site, which can be used as a kind of Sorabji handbook, puts the emphasis on raw data: lists, compilations, tables, analytical charts, links, etc. It gathers most of the research data that I needed to collect and manage as part of my work towards my critical biography published on 14 August 2013 on the occasion of the 121st anniversary of Sorabji’s birth, Opus sorabjianum: The Life and Works of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. Unlike the biography, the website does not use Sorabji’s extensive correspondence. Furthermore, the visitor will not find interpretation, comments, critical insights, etc. Indeed, the introductory paragraphs to the pages are usually short and factual. The focus is strictly on making available to all, at no cost and without any of the hassles too common on websites, an extensive compendium of information gathered from the primary sources. It will hopefully serve as a sound basis for further research. Besides the growing number of editions, performances, and recordings, this is how the groundwork admirably laid by Paul Rapoport with Sorabji: A Critical Celebration (1992, repr. 1994) will lead to a better understanding of the composer’s life and music. The frequent references to Rapoport’s book are always shown as SCC.

Size and printing: Though most subjects are covered in one to ten pages, a few need as many as twenty. A full printout of the Sorabji Resource Site, which consists of 102 separate pages, would amount to some 560 pages in a legible font size (as of May 2015, as compared to some 350 pages when the site was launched). The website is thus the equivalent of a substantial reference book. The print style sheet omits all that is not essential in this context (e.g., banner, menu, logos). Printing the entire site to read it away from the screen is not recommended since its pages are corrected and updated almost daily.

When printing pages containing tables (which is true of most pages), it is advisable to start with a print preview and eventually shrink the view to a percentage that allow elegant printing by avoiding the problems that the browser may have in laying out the page on paper.

Dimensions and durations: The International System of Units is used to give weights and measures unless the system of imperial units appears preferable for a specific item. Dimensions of books and art works are given as H × W (unlike standard page sizes, like 8.5 × 11 in, which use the opposite convention), followed by × D if needed. Durations are given using the format 00:00.

Tables and sorting of data: Data are presented whenever appropriate in the form of tables, all of which can be sorted on multiple fields in order to view the data from a various angles. The following message appears at the top of each table that can be sorted.

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. Refresh the page to revert to the initial order.

All columns can be sorted, though in cases where they contain several titles, each on its own line, this feature will be hardly meaningful. It is implemented in case it can prove useful.

Format of titles: Throughout the Sorabji Resource Site the titles of Sorabji’s works are given (with some modifications) in the normalized form advocated by Rapoport in Sorabji: A Critical Celebration, followed (in parentheses) by the year of composition and the number of pages of the manuscript. The titles thus use forms freed from the composer’s idiosyncrasies in matters of word choice and capitalization. The indication of the number of pages is considered essential given the brevity of some of the composer’s works and the massive length of several others. It is essential that the reader be constantly aware of the dimensions of a given work to fully appreciate the context in which it is discussed. There is a huge difference between the works whose titles begin with the same word in each of the following pairs:

Colours: The banner at the top of each page features three stripes of colour (red, green, and golden brown) that are also used as colours for the various headings. The basic idea was to match the colours of the covers of three of Sorabji’s published scores.

Since exact correspondences would have caused the headings to differ from the recommendations set out in the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, best matches have been used.

Display font: The font used for the Sorabji Resource Site’s title in the banner and the Opus sorabjianum’s title page is Newfoundland, an equivalent of Neuland used by Curwen on the title pages of Symphony [no. 1] for Organ (1924; 81 pp.) and Opus clavicembalisticum (1929-30; 253 pp.). Neuland, designed by Rudolf Koch (1876-1934) and cut by the Klingspor type foundry (Offenbach, Germany; 1906-56) in 1923, is different from Othello, an imitation cut by Monotype in 1928.

Photograph and quotation: The photograph of Sorabji used on the home page of the Sorabji Resource Site was taken in July 1988 by Clive Spencer-Bentley, one of the composer’s dedicatees (used with permission). The quotation from Harold Morland, another dedicatee, dates from January 1975 at the latest and is taken from a poem intended to form the preface to The Tree of Life (used with the permission of the late Robert William Procter).

Technical specifications and limitations: The Sorabji Resource Site is developed with Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 and is designed for a screen resolution of 800 × 600 (currently used by barely 1% of users), which means that horizontal scrolling is never necessary.

Though it is developed with Internet Explorer as primary browser, it works correctly with Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Safari. Though text is displayed in a very legible type size, the display can be zoomed to 125% without causing a horizontal scroll bar to appear. The site can be viewed on portable devices (ideally in landscape format), though some aspects of the rendering will vary from browser to browser. The website neither creates cookies nor installs software on the user’s system.

Menu and table sorting: The JavaScript code for the drop-down menu system, which makes it easy to navigate throughout the site (which consists of 102 pages or subentries), is provided by Milonic Solutions Ltd. UK Registered Company #4406835 (license no. 210326). The script for sorting tables is Allan Jardine’s remarkable MIT-licensed very powerful table plug-in for jQuery. This JavaScript code, in June 2015, was implemented in replacement of Dynamic Table, which had been of good service since the inauguration in August 2010. All tables can now be sorted on multiple columns by shift-clicking on further columns after the first sort operation. A search box at the top of each table makes it possible to find data in an entire table. The number of displayed entries out of the total always appears at the bottom of each table. In all but a few instances, additional search boxes at the bottom enable searching inside a given column. In both cases, enclosing search strings between quotation marks locates exact matches.

Internal links: Internal links (i.e., references to other pages of the website) will be found as needed. Links to the biographical entries for the people mentioned (friends, dedicatees, authors, editors, etc.), however, are provided only exceptionally.

External links: The Sorabji Resource Site features extensive linking to documents found on external websites. Permalinks are given when available. A biannual thorough check of all the URLs cited with Tilman Hausherr’s Xenu Link Sleuth makes it possible to delete links that are no longer active and update those that have been changed. Some links will work (or at least not redirect to a generic or home page) only if the visitor has logged into an account (as is the case of the Yahoo Groups) or has a valid subscription (as in the case of databases giving access to dissertations). Links to the location of specific documents in the catalogues of research libraries are sometimes completely changed. Making sure that everything is up-to-date and fully functional is a never-ending task.

Each page carries a footer with the following statement: “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.”

Acknowledgements: On 14 August 2009, on the day of the 117th anniversary of Sorabji’s birth, the Sorabji Resource Site was submitted confidentially, for review and comments, to Alistair Hinton, Curator/Founder of the Sorabji Archive, whose suggestions for corrections were incorporated. In fact, Hinton’s help has been essential and constant ever since I started work on Sorabji, and I can say that hundreds of questions would have remained unanswered without his constant and unflagging support. I am thus pleased to offer him my warmest thanks. Though the site was then basically ready for release, I preferred to fine-tune it for a further year. I also wish to thank Jakub Eisenbruk and Poom Pipatjarasgit, whose sharp and watchful eyes have made it possible to correct several problems and inconsistencies.

The Author

Marc-André Roberge obtained his B.A. in music history and literature at the School (now Faculty) of Music at Laval University (Québec) in 1979. A third of his courses were in German (language, translation, literature, civilization) and Italian. He then received his M.A. in musicology at McGill University (Montréal) in 1981 with a thesis on Ferruccio Busoni’s Concerto for Piano, Orchestra, and Male Chorus, and his Ph.D. in musicology at the University of Toronto in 1988 with a dissertation on the history of Die Musik, the most important German music periodical of the first half of the twentieth century. He joined the Faculty of Music at Laval University in 1987 as an adjunct professor and was hired as an assistant professor in 1988. Now a full professor, he retired in September 2018 and continues his research, mainly on Busoni and Sorabji, as an independent scholar.

Besides music and musical life in German-speaking countries between 1850 and 1950, Roberge’s research interests lie mostly in the fields of opera and virtuoso piano music by composer-pianists like Alkan, Liszt, Busoni, Godowsky, Sorabji, etc. He has published extensively in such scholarly journals as American Music, Canadian University Music Review, Criticus musicus, The Musical Quarterly, The Music Review, Notes, Research Chronicle, and Revue de musicologie, especially on Busoni and Sorabji. He is the author of Ferruccio Busoni: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1991).

Roberge is the author of the first critical biography of Sorabji, entitled Opus sorabjianum: The Life and Works of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. He wrote the articles on Godowsky and Sorabji for the second edition of the German encyclopedia Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (the latter severely shortened by the editors; see a list of corrections and additions), and revised Paul Rapoport’s Sorabji article for the Grove Music Online (updated and revised 1 July 2014; subscription required). Since 1992 he produced critical editions of twenty-seven works by Sorabji and two bibliographical compilations, all of which are available from the Sorabji Archive.

For nine years the French editor of the Canadian University Music Review/Revue de musique des universités canadiennes (now Intersections: Canadian Review of Music/Revue canadienne de musique), Roberge used his editorial expertise to prepare the Guide des difficultés de rédaction en musique (GDRM), a website (launched in 2002) devoted to the specific problems of writing about music in French, for which he received an award from the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) in 2003.

A curriculum vitae (in French, his mother language), with a complete list of publications (with links to PDF versions in several cases), is available on his website.

Last modified: 2022-02-07
© Marc-André Roberge 2022
Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)
Faculté de musique, Université Laval, Québec

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.

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