Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 1 - Ferruccio Busoni

Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 1 - Ferruccio Busoni

Nikolai Demidenko (piano)


Ferruccio Dante Michelangiolo Benvenuto Busoni (1866–1924) was born in Empoli, near Florence. His father was an Italian clarinettist, his mother a pianist of German descent. As a child encouraged by Anton Rubinstein and written about by Hanslick, as an adolescent befriended by Goldmark and Brahms, as a man admired by Sibelius and Reger, and as a teacher revered by students like Agosti and Haskil, Harriet Cohen and Eduard Steuermann, Palmgren and Petri, he stood in his lifetime for the embodiment of the complete musician—an artist deeply rooted in the Teutonic, in Bach and Beethoven, in the wondrous majesty of that god of his farewell Berlin concerts, Mozart. He was a composer of awesome dimension, a classical formalist no less than an innovative discoverer questing after the new, for ever seeking his ‘own individual sound’. And he was a pianist (essentially self-taught, without allegiance to any school or master) concerned with the monumental, the titanic, the spiritually transcendental. A modernist, a stylistic transitionalist, he was a player of powerfully investigative mind, who both shocked and stimulated his contemporaries with the independence of his thought, the ‘extraordinary cold white fire’, the ‘intellectualized and sublimated emotion’ (Sorabji’s words) of his musicality. He liked, as he put it in 1902, to cleanse works of ‘the dust of tradition’: ‘I try to restore them to their youth, to present them as they sounded to people at the moment when they first sprang from the … composer.’

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