Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)

Inscriptions in Scores and Books and on Photographs

This page lists, as they are found serendipitously in archival collections, library catalogues, and catalogues of second-hand dealers, the inscriptions made by Sorabji in the following types of sources:

  • Copies of his published scores
  • Collections of his essays
  • Books by other authors
  • Photographs of himself given to friends

The list includes items with inscriptions offered on the second-hand market. Links to websites such as AbeBooks.com, on which such items are often found, may no longer be working once an item has been sold; this also applies, but not systematically, to the websites of dealers.

This compilation most likely provides only a sample of the composer’s extant inscriptions. That copies keep appearing on the second-hand market shows that several valuable copies have been in private collections for years.

Owners of items containing inscriptions by Sorabji or people who have seen such in libraries are welcome to contact me with the details needed to add them to the list. In the case of privately owned items I will always refer to such being “located in a private collection”; in other words, I will not identify the owner.

Ashworth, Edward Clarke (or Edward Nason)

Best, Reginald Norman

Beecham, Sir Thomas

Blom, Eric

Borowsky, Alexander: “À Monsieur Borowsky avec les compliments de l’auteur”. In a copy of Sonata seconda for Piano (1920; 49 pp.) offered by J. & J. Lubrano Music Antiquarians (Syosset, NY) on 10 November 2020.

Brewer, George Mackenzie: “Kaikhosru Sorabji to George Brewer / 10.7.XXIII”. In copies of the editions of Trois poèmes pour chant et piano (1918, 1919; 9 pp.) and Quintet no. 1 for Piano and Quartet of Stringed Instruments (1919-20; 72 pp.) under call numbers M/1621/S713/P744/1921 and M/512/S713/Q7/no1. Given to the Library of the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal in 1948-49.

Chisholm, Erik: “To my dear friend Erik with love from K.” (with three corrections in Sorabji’s hand). In a copy of Mi contra fa offered by Travis & Emery in April 2013.

Davey, Frank G.: “To my true friend Frank Davey, in commiseration (if so he will!) of XIII. VI. MCMLXI., from Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji”. In a copy of Mi contra fa in a private collection.

Davies, E. Emlyn

Edroff-Smith, Emily: “To darling Auntie Edroff / with K’s love / [9.2.25] / Thiss iss a pritty littel peece — play itt bye hart. / Good-nite. / Repeat till green in the face and black in the eyes (neighbours!) / in orl the kees — Practice also with tip of nose, left ear, and right foot toes / The exercise may also be profitably studied by standing on one[’]s head behind the piano and reaching over the top.” Accompanying a humorous piano exercise consisting of one bar containing eight semiquavers with leaps of more than an octave and spanning some four octaves of the keyboard, to be played by either hand with a specific fingering written in a copy of Sonata III for Piano (1922; 75 pp.) in a private collection.

Engel, Carl: “For Mr. Carl Engel with friendly regards and remembrance”. In a copy of Opus clavicembalisticum (1929-30; 253 pp.) sold by Schubertiade Music (Newton, MA) on 5 April 2018.

Ewing, Cecil

All the volumes listed below are found in Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji Collection (Cecil Ewing material) in the Archives & Research Collections at McMaster University (Hamilton, ON). Call numbers or box/folder references are given at the end of the citations.

Gentieu, Norman P.

Gray-Fisk, Clinton: “The Devil to the Devil Disciple. May MCMXXVI”. In a copy of the published score of Symphony [no. 1] for Organ (1924; 81 pp.) that most probably belonged to Gray-Fisk, now in a private collection.

Hinton, Alistair: “For you – mon très cher / For my very dear and very precious friend that you are — A — unique in clairvoyant insight / intuitive sympathy and penetrating / understanding ..[.] with infinite affection / from his ever — K — sempiternally / devoted. / (As a commemoration of that supermemorable day Marc[h] 23 — 1976”. In a photocopy of Around Music in the Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji Collection {box 9, item #5}. The day referred to in the inscription is that on which Sorabji announced to Hinton that he had given Yonty Solomon his permission for performances of his works.

Holliday, Frank

All the volumes listed below are found in Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji Collection in the Archives & Research Collections at McMaster University (Hamilton, ON). Call numbers or box/folder references are given at the end of the citations.

Lees, Aubrey: “To my friend Captain Aubrey Lees / o si sic aliquanti Britannorum!!! / Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji / [transcription of the full text “Or, gloire au seul Vivant!” quoted in the manuscript of Symphony [no. 2], “Jāmī”, for Large Orchestra, Wordless Chorus, and Baritone Solo (1942-51; 826 pp.)] / X.VI.MCMLIII A.D.”. On the flyleaf of a copy of Mi contra fa in a private collection.

MacDiarmid, Hugh: Copy of Opus clavicembalisticum (1929-30; 253 pp.) bearing the autographs of both Sorabji and MacDiarmid (dedicatee). Copy in the collection of the Edward Johnson Music Library at the University of Toronto, under call number musi O-8 208 (Rare Book).

Rowley, Alec

Rutland, Harold

All the volumes listed below are found in the collection of the library at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance (London). Call numbers are given at the end of the citations.

Solomon, Yonty

Stevenson, Ronald: “Greetings to Ronald Stevenson from Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. IV. VII. MCMLXVI. A.D.”. On a photograph (dated ca. 1950) published in Ronald Stevenson’s edition of Fantasiettina sul nome illustre dell’egregio poeta Christopher Grieve ossia Hugh M’Diarmid (1961; 10 pp.) published by Bardic Edition in 1987.

Straram, Walther: “à Monsieur Walther Straram / avec les compliments de l’Auteur”. In a copy of Concerto for Piano and Orchestra [no. 5] (1920; 144 pp.) in a private collection.

Unknown: “All’amico Sconosciuto, all’unico. Che finora mai. 1922”. In a copy of Sonata III for Piano (1922; 75 pp.) in the collection of the Music Library of Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) under call number M23.S632 no.3 (copy 2).

Unknown: “Have you [.] read this? What??!! No???!!! Gesu-Maria!!! Then its high time you did!! [.] of friend Mr. Anglo-Saxon from Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji.” In a copy of Mi contra fa offered by Travis & Emery (London) on 15 May 2019.

Viñes, Ricardo

White, Felix Harold

Woodhouse, George

Last modified: 2021-06-08
© Marc-André Roberge 2021
Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)
Faculté de musique, Université Laval, Québec

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