Author Topic: Cosi fan Busoni  (Read 17294 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

snyprrr

  • Guest
Cosi fan Busoni
« on: May 28, 2009, 10:25:00 PM »
The quintessential Romantic figure?

What of his vast output for piano? And the legendary Madge/Philips box that shoulda been?

I'm no fan of the concerto, and other than a cursory listened to the sonatas and elegies years ago, and the "Contrapunistica?", all I remember was Brendel/Philips' "Toccata" on a great recital that included, I believe, Beethoven and Berg amoungst others. The "Toccata" was like the epitome of precise piano. I wonder what other pieces of his really stand out.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 05:18:35 PM by snyprrr »

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3599
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2009, 04:06:18 AM »
You don't care for the Piano Concerto?  :(

I think that it is a magnificent piece-the very epitome of a totally overblown but gloriously grandiose and grandiloquent romantic piano concerto ;D I have loved the work for years ever since I first heard the wonderful John Ogden performance back in 1968. I still cherish the cd of Ogden's rendering but I also wonder at the incredible pianism of Marc-Andre Hamelin in the Hyperion recording with Mark Elder conducting the City of Birmingham SO.

Who cannot but be amazed at that first entry of the piano hammering out these arpeggios! It must be one of the most exciting openings to any piano concerto and what a feat of pianism to actually be able to play the concerto at all! Before Ogden took it up very few pianists had ever attempted it and those who had, most notably Egon Petri, were all pupils or disciples of Busoni himself. And then the equally glorious chorale finale.....!

But then Busoni was a genius and a genuine innovator whose music still gets too little exposure. Favourites include the delightful early Violin Concerto, the 'Berceuse elegiaque' and of course the marvellous operas and the orchestral suites arranged from them(particularly 'Turandot'), but, above all, 'Doktor Faust'. 'The Sarabande and Cortege' from 'Doktor Faust' really are magnificent and moving pieces of orchestral genius. There is lots more too....including the piano works!!

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8864
  • An American Hero!
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2009, 04:38:17 AM »
Yes, the Piano Concerto and Doctor Faust are two of the greatest musical works ever composed, and both should be much better known!

I also have the Ogden recording: great performance!

And everyone must hear the old DGG Fischer-Dieskau performance of the opera!  Stay alive!  Don't die until you have heard it!
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Josquin des Prez

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3655
  • Lyric Suite, Opus131
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2009, 05:26:52 AM »
Yes, the Piano Concerto and Doctor Faust are two of the greatest musical works ever composed

I don't think so. They are too dry and labored. What Busoni lacked in inspiration he had in virtuosity.

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3599
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2009, 05:57:56 AM »
"Dry and labored"??

I think not :o I could-just about-see where you are coming from with "labored" but "dry"....oh not, not to my ears!!


Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8864
  • An American Hero!
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2009, 07:39:46 AM »
"Dry and labored"??

I think not :o I could-just about-see where you are coming from with "labored" but "dry"....oh not, not to my ears!!



I hear nothing for those 2 adjectives: one of the fastest 70-minute works I know of!
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline vandermolen

  • Silver Subscriber
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 15021
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2009, 07:47:49 AM »
I love the opening of the Piano Concerto (especially the recording with John Ogdon), as Colin says it is a most exciting moment. This thread has encouraged me to listen to it again as I have not heard it for ages.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2009, 09:02:30 AM »
Remember that EMI disc with Schmidt, Busoni, and Lutoslawski? Don't know why I sold that so long ago...

I just have an aversion to 70min. P.C.s....no... I have an aversion to Busoni's P.C.... no.... I have an aversion to P.C.s...wait... ;D

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2009, 05:47:11 PM »
Busoni SQs 1-2/Quartetto Webern (Tacit):

Finally! ;D

I have barely cracked the 18th century for months. Finally, I reached a place where my initial Modern leanings (beginning with Deb/Ravel and Schoenberg Op.7) faced off with my recent Classical era explorations over the 75 year chasm between LvB's death and 1901-02.

My last two purchases were Spohr and Busoni, as if I'm trying to carefully bridge my tastes in my most historically problematic period, post-LvB, pre-"Modern" (pick a date!, pick a thread!).

Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Borodin, and Dvorak notwithstanding, I seem to have had problems finding my "sound" during this period. Late Beethoven comes and goes out of nowhere, and Schoenberg Op.7 was the first music (besides Deb/Ravel) I picked up on in the endless search for influences. Then came Wolf's SQ.

And now, Busoni...

Was he reallly 14-16 when he wrote No.1??? ??? :o :DWOW!!! The notes say that only Mozart was younger when invited to join the Accademia Filarmonica in Bologna. Now, I try to take every composer separately when it comes to "student works" (some composers are better off early, some are better off late). The first time I listened to No.1 in c/C Op.19 I didn't like it, but after the cd played through I listened again and heard a masterpiece. Yea, I know, strange. ::)

This is truly the birth of "heavy metal"! Both SQs start off with a menacingly gruff minor key "riff" in classic heavy metal style, very "gothic", as I like to say. I suppose "Distilled Brahms", in that no note is wasted, and every note is perfect, might be apt, but Busoni's personality definitely has a discernable Italianate character in the choice of melodic line; and I get a feeling of "ancient" music here with Busoni in the minor key "dances".

My notes say No.1 is "c minor" but the cd says "C Major". I suspect the minor. ::) Either way, this SQ, written by a 14-16 year old,... well, what are you going to say? It is quite a piece of work. It is carefully wrought, to be sure.

No.2 in d minor Op.26 didn't take two listens to acheive materpiece status! Right out of the barn door, this SQ means business. I suppose this is what I imagined Schumann's SQs would sound like, but Busoni resides more in the world than in the head here. The feeling of listening to ancient dances is overpowering for me here. This could be Bach's SQ! But there is much from the late LvB SQs here too, but then, they also illicit the "ancient dances" feeling in me. After listening to these two works I am just in another world, similar in feeling to listening to Borodin's SQ No.1.

So, Brahms to Wolf/Busoni to Schoenberg works for me, in terms of 1875-1900, Germanic/Romantic timeline type stuff. Busoni is the missing link.

Well, I'm certainly raving about the music. There are now four recordings of No.2 (including an interesting Busoni/Reger/Pfitzner Vox-like issue (with separate players for each SQ)).  The Pellegrini on CPO have been the standard bearer since the mid-'90s, and now hearing this 2003 issue makes me really want to hear them also. The third contender is the BusoniQuartet on Centaur. The timings for Quartetto Webern are:

No.1:

9:34
6:07
5:13
8:09

No.2:

10:30
8:07
5:57
7:57

The music has such interesting twists and turns that I can't what's the music and what's the performance! Perhaps compares might reveal something? Honestly, I would looove to hear these played HIP style. I can imagine the string sound would add incredibly.

Anyhow, otherwise, the Quartetto Webern (four Italians) play admirably. I'll admit that I took their name into consideration when choosing between the suspiciously named BusoniQuartet and the QWebern, haha! I guess I figured that if they named themselves "Webern" they should be able to play Busoni just fine, haha.

Wow, so, anyhow, these Busoni SQs are the skillet, the pan, and the fire! I can't possibly rave more than I am now: if you need something really nice, this is it. Every gothic note is right where it's supposed to be.


karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2011, 06:39:16 AM »
Yes, the Piano Concerto and Doctor Faust are two of the greatest musical works ever composed, and both should be much better known!

I also have the Ogden recording: great performance!

And everyone must hear the old DGG Fischer-Dieskau performance of the opera!  Stay alive!  Don't die until you have heard it!

High time I got around to the Piano Concerto . . . and the Fantasia contrappuntistica . . . .

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2011, 07:01:15 AM »
High time I got around to the Piano Concerto . . . and the Fantasia contrappuntistica . . . .

Found the latter on Naxos . . . .

Offline Cato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8864
  • An American Hero!
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2011, 07:28:44 AM »
Found the latter on Naxos . . . .

Yay team!

Busoni supported the "radicals" of his day in his writings, rather than joining them through his own works. 

And yet, a kind of edgy Radikalismus comes through many of his works.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline mjwal

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 525
  • Location: Lagorce/France - Berlin
  • Currently Listening to:
    Goehr, Beethoven, William Lawes, Giuffre Trio, Steve Lacy, Eisler
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2011, 08:33:14 AM »
The single most achingly beautiful recording of Busoni I know is Michael Gielen conducting the BBC SO in the Berceuse Elégiaque on an obscure Euro-trash collection of B's music (also including DFD singing four of his songs) - the best 2,90 € I ever invested. Probably impossible to find  :'( I would direct your attention to a Pearl CD of Busoni playing Bach, Liszt and Chopin plus Petri playing Busoni's own Sonatinas 3 & #6, Red Indian Diary Bk.1, Fantasia after Bach, Elegy#2, and the Liszt-Busoni Spanish Rhapsody. As Petri was the Busoni pianist par excellence, this is worth looking for - as is the M&A issue with the striking Indian Fantasy w/Petri, the Violin Concerto w/Szigeti and the Cortège & Sarabande from Doktor Faust, all conducted by Mitropoulos - http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=832.  Szigeti also recorded the alternately lyrical and magisterial 2nd violin sonata w/Haskil (a noisy echoey live performance), coupled with the great Brahms D-minor with Szigeti/Petri in the reissue I have.
I only know the excellent Leitner recording of Doktor Faust with DFD - I would like to hear it with the Beaumont completion of the ending so will probably be acquiring the Nagano version. I first experienced the work in a wonderful production at the Frankfurt Opera in the 70s conducted by Gielen, whi is IMO the conductor of choice in this composer's music - there's a Vox recording of various pieces that I have heard but haven't got, very good. Try the classic EMI Glyndebourne recording of Arlecchino (also available as a download on some blog, I forget which, shouldn't be hard to find). As to the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, there is a superbly performed recording on Nonesuch LP with Jacobs & Oppens, never released on CD AFAIK, but I believe the Serkin/Schiff version on ECM is very good.
The Violin's Obstinacy

It needs to return to this one note,
not a tune and not a key
but the sound of self it must depart from,
a journey lengthily to go
in a vein it knows will cripple it.
...
Peter Porter

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2011, 05:55:21 PM »
Can anyone comment on the Violin Sonatas? Are they as good as the SQs?

Offline Luke

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2436
  • Tuplet Nester (Fourth Degree)
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2011, 07:06:28 PM »
Can anyone comment on the Violin Sonatas? Are they as good as the SQs?

The second one is, yes - very fine piece, most of the hard-to-define things that make Busoni who he is are to be found here. Mature, thoughtful, stylish, intelligent, elusive... The first one is quite youthful and fiery, a bit simplistic and four-square in comparison, though certainly worth a listen.

Offline Luke

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2436
  • Tuplet Nester (Fourth Degree)
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2011, 02:57:31 AM »
The transcriptions are important in their own way, as part of the development of piano technique and as a major part of that whole separate world that is Virtuoso Piano Transcription. But really, Busoni's piano music is important above all for the Elegies and the Sonatinas. (The Fantasia Contrapuntistica too, though its introduction is one of the Elegies). This group of works contains everything that is wonderful about Busoni, fabulously forward-thinking, futuristic writing, a playfulness and a deep culture, a knowledge of the past....oh I could go on about them, for hours. In his book Music in Transition Jim Sampson cites the Elegies and the Second Sonatina as among of the key works in the movement towards atonality, and I think he's absolutely right. Masterpieces, all of them.

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3326
  • 396 CCs
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2011, 03:43:20 AM »
Quote
He had definite views on some composers. Franz Schubert he considered "a gifted amateur". He felt Beethoven did not have the technique to express his emotions. He ridiculed Robert Schumann's Carnaval. But he considered Felix Mendelssohn "a master of undisputed greatness" and "an heir of Mozart". He was planning to play some of Mendelssohn's Songs without Words in a series of recitals in London in the year of his death.[

This slightly eliptical paragraph from the wiki page - can anyone elaborate on these?
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2011, 05:31:55 AM »

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2011, 05:34:22 AM »
My Fantasia contrappuntistica was shipped from Maine yesterday . . . .

Offline edward

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3684
  • Hello, little man. I will destroy you.
Re: Ferruccio Busoni
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2011, 01:53:34 PM »
slightly elliptical
This phrase just jumped out at me regarding Busoni as an ideal description of the emotional content of much of his music. So often, particularly in his later works, Busoni paints something very intense in subdued colors (Berceuse elegiaque and its almost total neglect of the treble register, for example) or hints at something instead of truly depicting it.

I've always found this a particularly effective part of his compositional make-up; it might leave the later works short on overt drama but it gives large parts of even as large-scale a work as Doktor Faust a very intimate, confessional feeling.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music