We think this might be the hardest piece of piano music ever written

20 June 2016, 15:34 | Updated: 11 September 2017, 15:05

Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji’s Opus clavicembalistic

Pianists everywhere, prepare yourself for possibly the most demanding piece of piano music ever written. *gulps*

This is a section of the score from Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji’s Opus clavicembalisticum. It’s hard to pronounce, but even harder to play.

For a start, it lasts for over four hours in total, spread across 12 movements. That would be bad enough if it was dead easy to play, but of course, it’s much worse. It’s  a fiend.

Don’t let the first bar fool you - here’s the opening movement:

And here’s the final one, about which the composer himself wrote: “The closing 4 pages are so cataclysmic and catastrophic as anything I've ever done—the harmony bites like nitric acid—the counterpoint grinds like the mills of God.”