Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)

Microfilms and Bibliographic Compilations

This page gives bibliographic citations, with explanations, for compilations dealing with two categories of documents relating to Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji:

Microfilm Compilations of Musical Compositions

Before the creation of the Sorabji Archive in 1988, the only works that could be found, mostly in large research libraries or through interlibrary loan, were:

  • the fourteen works that were published between 1921 and 1931 thanks to the financial support of Sorabji’s father,
  • two works published with his authorization under the imprints of Music Treasure Publications (1969) and Bardic Edition (1987).

Those that had remained in manuscript form could only be studied in the form of two collections of microfilms:

  • one commissioned in the early 1950s by Norman P. Gentieu, an American friend and admirer of Sorabji,
  • one made in 1978 by Paul Rapoport, then a professor of musicology at McMaster University, and Alistair Hinton, who had become Sorabji’s closest friend in the 1970s.

A total of fifty-four works are available on microfilm, and the numbers of the reel(s) on which they can be found in the thirteen-reel Kodak collection and the later compilation by Rapoport and Hinton are listed below.

  • Kodak: [The Unpublished Music of Kaikhosru Sorabji]. London: Kodak Ltd. (Recordak Division), 1953. Microfilm, fourteen reels (negative), available at the International Piano Archives, University of College Park, Md.; thirteen reels (positive, copied from the negative). Available at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., under call number Film 20003.

  • SMC: Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji: Selected Music Compositions. Compiled by Paul Rapoport and Alistair Hinton. Chicago: The University of Chicago, Joseph Regenstein Library, Photoduplication Department, 1978. Microfilm, four reels. As of 23 June 2020, WorldCat gives the University of Toronto, the New York Public Library (in whose catalogue it could not be found), and Northwestern University as locations. It used to be available at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Rutgers University, and University of Pennsylvania, but could not be found in their current catalogues. A copy is said to exist at Rutgers University, but their catalogue is not available to non-registered users.

This list is provided primarily for reference purposes, as all manuscripts are now available as bound photocopies or PDF files from the Sorabji Archive.


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Surround strings with quotation marks for specific searches. Refresh the page to revert to the initial order.

Title Kodak SMC
Title Kodak SMC
The Poplars (1915; 3 pp.) 0 1
Vocalise pour soprano fioriturata (1916; 3 pp.) 0 1
Hymne à Aphrodite (1916; 5 pp.) 0 1
Chaleur—​Poème (1916-17; 32 pp.) 0 3
L’étang (1917; 2 pp.) 0 1
I Was Not Sorrowful—​Poem for Voice and Piano [Spleen] (between 1917 and 1919; 3 pp.) 0 1
Le mauvais jardinier (1919; 1 p.) 0 1
Quintet no. 1 for Piano and Quartet of Stringed Instruments (1919-20; 72 pp.) 0 4
Symphony [no. 1] for Piano, Large Orchestra, Chorus, and Organ (1921-22; 300 pp.) 8 0
Opusculum for Orchestra (1923; 36 pp.) 4 0
Cinque sonetti di Michelagniolo Buonarroti (1923; 40 pp.) 13 0
Variazioni e fuga triplice sopra “Dies irae” per pianoforte (1923-26; 201 pp.) 0 2
Trois poèmes du “Gulistān” de Saʿdī (1926, rev. 1930; 16 pp.) 13 0
L’irrémédiable (1927; 8 pp.) 0 1
Concerto V for Piano and Large Orchestra [no. 8] (1927-28; 344 pp.) 6 4
Toccata [no. 1] for Piano (1928; 66 pp.) 3 0
Nocturne, “Jāmī” (1928; 28 pp.) 3 0
Sonata IV for Piano (1928-29; 111 pp.) 12 0
Movement for Voice and Piano (1927, 1931; 9 pp.) 0 1
Second Symphony for Organ (1929-32; 350 pp.) 13 0
Quintet II for Piano and String Quartet (1932-33; 432 pp.) 11 4
Fantasia ispanica (1933; 54 pp.) 2 0
Pasticcio capriccioso sopra l’op. 64, no 1 del Chopin (1933; 8 pp.) 2 0
Toccata seconda per pianoforte (1933-34; 111 pp.) 2 0
Sonata V (Opus archimagicum) (1934-35; 336 pp.) 12 0
Fragment Written for Harold Rutland (1926, 1928, 1937; 2 pp.) 2 0
Symphonic Variations for Piano (1935-37; 484 pp.) 1 0
Tāntrik Symphony for Piano Alone (1938-39; 284 pp.) 12 0
Transcription in the Light of Harpsichord Technique for the Modern Piano of the Chromatic Fantasia of J. S. Bach, Followed by a Fugue (1940; 15 pp.) 12 0
“Quaere reliqua hujus materiei inter secretiora” (1940; 16 pp.) 2 0
“Gulistān”—​Nocturne for Piano (1940; 28 pp.) 2 0
St. Bertrand de Comminges: “He was laughing in the tower” (1941; 16 pp.) 13 0
Trois poèmes (1941; 13 pp.) 13 0
Études transcendantes (100) (1940-44; 456 pp.) 3 0
Rapsodie espagnole de Maurice Ravel—​Transcription de concert pour piano (second version, 1945; 26 pp.) 0 1
Concerto da suonare da me solo e senza orchestra, per divertirmi (1946; 70 pp.) 2 0
Schlussszene aus “Salome” von Richard Strauss—​Konzertmäßige Übertragung für Klavier zu zwei Händen (1947; 25 pp.) 0 1
Sequentia cyclica super “Dies irae” ex Missa pro defunctis (1948-49; 335 pp.) 3 0
Symphony [no. 2], “Jāmī”, for Large Orchestra, Wordless Chorus, and Baritone Solo (1942-51; 826 pp.) {The Kodak is found on reels 5, 7, and 10} 5, 7, 10 4
Third Organ Symphony (1949-53; 305 pp.) 13 4
Second Symphony for Piano (1954; 248 pp.) 9 2
Passeggiata veneziana sopra la Barcarola di Offenbach (1955-56; 24 pp.) 0 2
Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra (1935-37, 1953-56; 540 pp.) 0 2
Opus clavisymphonicum—​Concerto for Piano and Large Orchestra for Piano and Large Orchestra (1957-59; 333 pp.) 0 4
Third Symphony for Piano Solo (1959-60; 144 pp.) 0 4
Messa grande sinfonica (1955-61; 1,001 pp.) 0 3
Frammenti aforistici (Sutras) (104) (1962-64; 37 pp.) 0 1
Benedizione di San Francesco d’Assisi (1973; 2 pp.) 0 1
Symphonia brevis for Piano (1973; 120 pp.) 0 4
Variazione maliziosa e perversa sopra “La morte d’Åse” da Grieg (1974; 2 pp.) 0 1
Opusculum clavisymphonicum vel claviorchestrale (1973-75; 334 pp.) 0 2
Sixth Symphony for Piano (Symphonia claviensis) (1975-76; 270 pp.) 0 1
Frammenti aforistici (4) (1977; 1 p.) 0 1
Symphonic Nocturne for Piano Alone (1977-78; 113 pp.) 0 1

Critical Writings and Essays

Collected Writings from Five Serial Publications

Collected Writings from Five Serial Publications. Compiled by Paul Rapoport and Kenneth Derus. Chicago: The University of Chicago, Joseph Regenstein Library, Photoduplication Department, 1977 (no. N4424). Microfilm, one reel, 35 mm. Preface (19 pp.), 864 frames. Five locations are listed on OCLC’s FirstSearch (subscription required) as of 3 June 2014:

The following three (unlisted) locations also own the microfilm:

Sorabji’s critical writings have long remained a terra incognita, never having been fully catalogued in reference works. Thanks to this microfilm compilation prepared by Paul Rapoport and Kenneth Derus, most of them (645 items), which document his career as a music critic, became available to the selected few who knew of its existence. An advertisement was published in Tempo, n.s., no. 130 (September 1979): 40. The film, which could be ordered directly from Derus, then cost USD 17.50 for individuals and USD 25 for libraries. The serial publications covered (with inclusive years for which items exist) are:

Collected Published Writings of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji

Collected Published Writings of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. Vol. 1: Book Chapters, Articles, Essays and Notes, Letters-to-the-Editor; vol. 2: Reviews. Bath: Sorabji Music Archive, 1992. Ca. 1,250 pp. (unpaginated, ring-bound).

Beginning in 1992, Marc-André Roberge discovered a number of previously unknown articles and open letters in Frank Holliday’s collection of newspaper clippings in the Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji Collection (McMaster University). He also found several other items by scanning entire runs of periodicals at McGill University, the University of Toronto, and the British Library (including the British Library Newspaper Collections, known until April 2014 as the Colindale Newspaper Library). These discoveries revealed that Sorabji had contributed to several non-musical journals on an astonishing variety of subjects. In the 1990s Alistair Hinton found several open letters in The Catholic Herald with a thorough search, and in 2006 Sean Vaughn Owen found several more by going through a complete run of the Swanage Times as part of his doctoral dissertation. These publications are listed as part of a full bibliography of Sorabji’s published essays and open letters on this website.

In 1992, Alistair Hinton photocopied and bound all known essays, reviews, and open letters by Sorabji in his possession (excluding the contents of Around Music and Mi contra fa). Much of this material was provided by Marc-André Roberge. The irrelevant material by other authors whose texts appear on the same pages as those devoted to Sorabji’s articles is hidden in the photocopies. The copies are unedited.

Annotated Indexes to “Around Music” (1932) and “Mi contra fa: The Immoralisings of a Machiavellian Musician” (1947) by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji

Roberge, Marc-André. Annotated Indexes to “Around Music” (1932) and “Mi contra fa: The Immoralisings of a Machiavellian Musician” (1947) by Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. Bath: The Sorabji Music Archive, 1992. xviii, 47 pp.

In 1992, Marc-André Roberge with the help of his research assistant, Michel Duchesneau, prepared annotated indexes to Sorabji’s two collections of essays. Mi contra fa does not contain an index, and the one that accompanied Around Music, prepared by Bernard Bromage, was so poor that a new one was needed; indeed, Bromage’s incompetence in this respect was instrumental in the composer’s decision to sever all ties with him. The introduction gives the sources of previously published articles (of which an updated list is published here) and quotes several excerpts from the available reviews. The index to each book has two sections: “Proper Names and Titles of Musical and Literary Works” and “Corporate Bodies and Place Names”. Years of birth and death and a brief identification are given for all the persons mentioned.

An Annotated Bibliography of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji’s Collected Published Writing

Roberge, Marc-André. An Annotated Bibliography of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji’s Collected Published Writings. Bath: The Sorabji Archive, 1993. xiv, 141 pp. (index on pp. 129-41).

In 1993, using a photocopy of the entire microfilm Collected Writings from Five Serial Publications by Paul Rapoport and Kenneth Derus, Marc-André Roberge, with the help of his research assistant, Jean Lecomte, prepared a detailed annotated bibliography of the 645 items for which Rapoport had provided a list (with an indication of titles) as part of his extended preface. The introduction includes tables giving (1) the titles of all the musical and non-musical journals to which Sorabji contributed and (2) year-by-year statistics of the number of articles and open letters published, both in chronological order and in descending order by number of items; another version merging the tables is offered on this website. The annotations include the names of the composers and performers for all the works discussed in the case of record reviews. The numbers in the Index of Names refer to entries, not to pages.

An Index of Proper Names to be Found in the Complete Published Writings of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji

An Index of Proper Names to be Found in the Complete Published Writings of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (compiled by George Alexander Ross with additional material by Marc-André Roberge). Bath: Sorabji Archive, 1994. 285 pp.

On the basis of an unpublished preliminary 56-page (in 2-column layout) working document entitled “Sorindex”, consisting of an “alphabetical index of references to be found in literature by Sorabji”, begun by Alistair Hinton in 1992, the late George Alexander Ross (see below) compiled in 1994 a complete index of proper names found in Sorabji’s published writings. The “additional material” mentioned in the title refers to (1) the previously unknown items discovered by Marc-André Roberge and made available to the Sorabji Archive in the form of photocopies and as part of the Collected Published Writings of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, and (2) his indexes to Around Music and Mi contra fa (both listed above).

The following is a tribute to George Alexander Ross in recognition of his work for the Sorabji cause.

George Alexander Ross (b. Winnipeg, Manitoba, 19 August 1929; d. Spokane, Washington, 30 August 1998) received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Manitoba in 1951, majoring in English literature and minoring in French. He spent twenty-three years on the music faculty of Whitworth College, a small liberal arts college in Spokane. He later resigned, partly for medical reasons, and began preparing radio programmes for the local National Public Radio station (KPBX), on one occasion (13 June 1990) presenting music by Sorabji played by Michael Habermann. From a telephone conversation with Alistair Hinton, to whom he had written in connection with an order for scores, he understood that Hinton was funding the Sorabji Archive out of his own pocket. This led him to volunteer work at the Archive for seven weeks in the summer of 1990, organizing material and making photocopies of Sorabji’s writings. He returned to the Archive in September 1994 to put the finishing touches to his Index of Proper Names to be Found in the Complete Published Writings of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. In his later years, Ross was also active as a pianist for the Whitworth College Chapel and taught the piano privately.

Last modified: 2024-03-05
© Marc-André Roberge 2024
Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)
Faculté de musique, Université Laval, Québec

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