Ferruccio Busoni

Busoni was a child prodigy. He was considered to be a piano virtuoso , a successor to Liszt and the superior of Rachmaninoff and Paderewski. He was known also as a composer, teacher, arranger, and philosopher. He was also a conductor who introduced the music of Debussy, Gabriel Faure, Sibelius, and Bartok to Berlin. He taught in Europe and America. At his death he was a Professor of Composition at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. His opera Dr. Faust, is considered to be a masterwork of our century. He also wrote essays about music, the most prophetic of which is "Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music" (1907).

Busoni was a champion for anything new in art. He opened his house in Berlin to young artists and composers from many countries. He presided nightly over furious discussions about music and art.In his music, Busoni constructed new scales because he refused to accept the limitations of major and minor modes. He experimented with quarter tones. He was anti- Romantic, and detested Wagner. He was a neoclassic preferring small ensembles and an avoidance of emotionalism. Busoni felt that music had stalled.

That the rules of tonality and the available instruments were blocking the freedom of music. He could see into the new era of music and constantly looked for and encouraged anything new. "Exhaustion surely waits at the end of a course the longest lap of which has already been covered. Whither then shall we turn our eyes? In what direction does the next step lead?...I believe that all efforts must be directed towards the virgin birth of a new beginning." 

One of the new instruments of his day was the "Dynamophone"  also known as "Telharmonium".  The Dynamophone was a primitive ancestor to today's synthesizer. Invented by Thaddeus Cahill, Busoni had read about  it in an article named " New Music for an Old World" published in McClur's Magazine in 1906. Busoni saw in the Dynamophone a new source of sound materials as well as a source of just intonation. His enthusiasm was also shared by others such as Stokowski and Varese ( a pupil). Busoni's enthusiasm for the new Dynamophone led him to prophesy "...I almost think that in the new great music, machines will also be necessary and will be assigned a share in it."

We find that Busoni was a very balanced musician. His favorite composer was Mozart. In a short memoir about his teacher, Varese writes," He deplored that his own keyboard instrument had conditioned our ears to accept only an infinitesimal part of the infinite graduations of sounds of nature. However, when I said that I was through with tonality, his quick response was : You are denying yourself a very beautiful thing"

Busoni could see through the door of the 20th century. His acceptance of the Dynamophone, his visions of the future, were the groundwork for electronic music. In 1906, here a renowned pianist and composer, greeted the electronic age with high hopes, and legitimized the new winds blowing . His influence on Varese set Varese on a course that he wouldn't see come true till late in his life. Yet, the prophecies of Busoni became Varese's calling. The gospel of Busoni boiled down to one statement, "Music is born free; and to win freedom is its destiny." 

Source: http://csunix1.lvc.edu/~snyder/em/busoni.html

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1894 Variationen und fugue in freier Form ueber Chopin's C-moll Praeludium Opus 22 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
John Ogdon - Piano
1897-1904 Eine Lustspielouverture Opus 38 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
North German Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Werner Andreas Albert
1901-1904 Concerto per un Pianoforte principale e diversi strumenti ad arco a fiato ed a percussione Opus 39 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
John Ogdon - Piano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Daniell Revenaugh
1901-1904 Concerto per un Pianoforte principale e diversi strumenti ad arco a fiato ed a percussione Opus 39 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
John Ogdon - Piano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Daniell Revenaugh
1904 Turandot Suite Opus 41 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Filarmonica della Scala cond. Ricardo Muti
1908 Elegien No 4 Opus 41 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Turandos Frauengemach, Intermezzo

John Ogdon - Piano

1909 Berceuse Elégiaque Opus 42 4.00 stars LP
Berceuse Comments:
Solists conducted by Frederik Prausnitz
1909 Berceuse Elégiaque Opus 42 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Solists conducted by Frederik Prausnitz
1909 Berceuse Elégiaque Opus 42 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
North German Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Werner Andreas Albert
1912-1913 Nocturne Symphonique Opus 43 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
North German Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Werner Andreas Albert
1915 Rondo arlecchinesco Opus 46 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
North German Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Werner Andreas Albert
1915 Gesang vom Reigen der Geister Opus 47 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
North German Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Werner Andreas Albert
1916 Sonatina Ad Usum Infantis (Sonatina 3) 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Thomas Ades - Piano
19 ? Tanzwalzer Opus 53 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
North German Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Werner Andreas Albert
1918-1919 Sarabande and Cortege from 'Doktor Faust' Opus 51 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Daniell Revenaugh
1920 Sonatina No.6: Chamber Fantasia on Bizet's Opera Carmen 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
John Ogdon - Piano
1923? Fantasie fuer eine Orgelwalze for two pianos (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:) 4.00 stars 6 CD
Comments:
Martha Argerich - Piano
Lilya Zilberstein - Piano