Sorabji on studying composition

Let me think. When I was fifteen my old master said to me: “Look”, he said, “Look, you ought to start composing”. But I said I had never thought of doing such a thing. “Look here”, he said, “forget everything I taught you”; I went throught the ordinary routine you see, four part, five part harmony, counterpoint, strict, thank God I’ve forgotten it all now, various species. So I though, alright, so I started to write short occasional things, very much á la Ravel. “Very well”, said he, “you must go on”. So the next thing was a concerto. I never had a lesson in orchestration in my life, and yet people say I’ve a marvellous command of orchestration. A musician who came to me and had a look at one score said “this score is a marvel”. Whether it is or not I don’t know, I don’t care if it is or not. I had to go on writing, you see, like this. I have written an enourmous multitude of works. That thing, that cupboard there is full of enormous scores. One work, the Symphonic High Mass, which requires a chorus of 500. Of course it will never be performed, which doesn’t matter to me a scrap. I was put into the world to write them, so that’s that. What happens to them after I can’t tell, it doesn’t matter to me two hoots. I don’t care a damn.

Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji