Hyperion Records

Busoni, Ferruccio (1866-1924)  
© Amadeus Schwarzkopf, Zurich
Ferruccio Busoni, between 1916 and 1919

Ferruccio Busoni

born: 1 April 1866
died: 27 July 1924
country: Italy

Born in Empoli, near Florence, Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924) was the only child of the clarinettist Ferdinando Busoni and the pianist Anna Weiss. A prodigy whose precocious career fortunately went beyond a brief flash, he gave his first recital and wrote his first composition at the age of seven, and published his first work when ten. He completed his private studies in composition (in Graz) while still a fifteen-year-old teenager and, two years later, he began contributing reviews and articles to a Trieste newspaper. He later became aware that he had written too much music and published several works prematurely. Jürgen Kindermann’s thematic catalogue has 303 numbers for the original works and 115 for the cadenzas, arrangements and editions. Busoni considered that his Sonata in E minor for violin and piano, completed in late 1898, was his actual ‘opus 1’.

Busoni’s career as a highly respected piano teacher started in 1888 with one- or two-year appointments in Helsinki, Moscow and Boston. After a short period of activity as a freelance pianist based in New York, he settled in 1894 in Berlin, whence he managed his career as one of the most esteemed pianists of his time. In addition to Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart, he championed Liszt and Alkan. Several of his private pupils, including Rudolph Ganz, Mark Hambourg, Eduard Steuermann, Theodor Szántó and Gino Tagliapietra, made a successful career. Returning to Berlin in 1920, after almost five years of self-imposed exile in Zurich, he taught composition to a small group of advanced students among whom was Kurt Weill. A highly cultivated person and a passionate collector of first editions, he kept an open house for musicians and intellectuals of various disciplines who sought his advice and enjoyed his brilliant conversation.

Like Liszt, Busoni devoted a large part of his production to the piano and became an acknowledged master of the transcription. This played against his reputation as a composer (which was what really mattered for him) until at least the centenary of his birth in 1966, if not the 1980s, because his name, for many, was associated solely with his Bach arrangements. Yet his output also comprises several works for chamber ensembles and for orchestra (including concertos), as well as songs and operas. His massive Piano Concerto of 1904 (recorded by Marc-André Hamelin on Hyperion CDA67143), whose fifth and final movement calls for a male chorus, with which he stylistically bid farewell to the past, and the Fantasia contrappuntistica (recorded by Hamish Milne on Hyperion CDA67677), a completion of the final fugue from Bach’s Art of Fugue within a large-scale original structure, written in 1910, have become much better known and admired over the last thirty years or so. This is also true of his four operas, especially Doktor Faust (1916–23), the final masterpiece that sums up his mature years as a composer.

from notes by Marc-André Roberge © 2013

'Busoni: Fantasia contrappuntistica & other piano music' (CDA67677)
Busoni: Fantasia contrappuntistica & other piano music
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67677 
'Busoni: Late Piano Music' (CDA67951/3)
Busoni: Late Piano Music
Buy by post £26.00 CDA67951/3  3CDs   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Busoni: Piano Concerto' (CDA67143)
Busoni: Piano Concerto
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67143 
'Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 1 – Ferruccio Busoni' (CDA66566)
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 1 – Ferruccio Busoni
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66566 
'Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 2 – Ferruccio Busoni' (CDA67324)
Bach: Piano Transcriptions, Vol. 2 – Ferruccio Busoni
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67324 
'Hommage à Chopin' (CDA67803)
Hommage à Chopin
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'Marc-André Hamelin – It's all about the music' (DVDA68000)
Marc-André Hamelin – It's all about the music
Buy by post £16.00 DVDA68000  DVD  
'Marc-André Hamelin live at Wigmore Hall' (CDA66765)
Marc-André Hamelin live at Wigmore Hall
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66765  Archive Service  
'Mozart: Stephen Hough's Mozart Album' (CDA67598)
Mozart: Stephen Hough's Mozart Album
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67598 
'Rare Piano Encores' (CDH55109)
Rare Piano Encores
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55109  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'The Composer-Pianists' (CDA67050)
The Composer-Pianists
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA67050  Archive Service  
'The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 1' (HYP12)
The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 1
HYP12  Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  
'Hyperion monthly sampler – November 2013' (HYP201311)
Hyperion monthly sampler – November 2013
HYP201311  Download-only monthly sampler  
On other labels
'Emil Gilels & Yakov Zak – Mozart, Mozart-Busoni & Saint-Saëns' (APR5664)
Emil Gilels & Yakov Zak – Mozart, Mozart-Busoni & Saint-Saëns
Buy by post £8.50 APR5664 
'Gina Bachauer – The first HMV recordings' (APR5643)
Gina Bachauer – The first HMV recordings
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'Grigory Ginzburg – His early recordings – 1' (APR5667)
Grigory Ginzburg – His early recordings – 1
Buy by post £8.50 APR5667 
'Grigory Ginzburg – His early recordings – 2' (APR5672)
Grigory Ginzburg – His early recordings – 2
Buy by post £8.50 APR5672 
'Michael Zadora – The complete recordings' (APR6008)
Michael Zadora – The complete recordings
Buy by post £10.50 APR6008  2CDs for the price of 1  
'The Transcendental Tradition' (APR5630)
The Transcendental Tradition
Buy by post £8.50 APR5630 
'Vladimir Horowitz – The complete solo European recordings' (APR6004)
Vladimir Horowitz – The complete solo European recordings
APR6004  2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only  
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
6 Ecossaises for piano, WoO83 (Beethoven/Busoni)
Adagio in G major, BWV968 (Bach/Busoni)
Allegro (Busoni)
All'Italia! (In modo napolitano)  No 2 of Elegies, BV249 (Busoni)
An die Jugend, BV254 (Busoni)
Andantino  Movement 2 of Piano Concerto No 9 in E flat major 'Jeunehomme', K271 (Mozart/Busoni)
Andantino tranquillo  No 7, With the use of the third pedal (Steinway & Sons Sustaining-Pedal) of Seven Short Pieces for the Cultivation of Polyphonic Playing, BV296 (Busoni)
Berceuse  No 7 of Elegies, BV249 (Busoni)
Canonic Variations and Fugue, BVB40 (Busoni)
Capriccio in B flat major 'on the Departure of his Beloved Brother', BWV992 (Bach/Busoni)
Chorale Prelude 'Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr'  Part 1 of Fantasia contrappuntistica (Busoni)
Ciaccona  Movement 5 of Partita No 2 in D minor, BWV1004 (Bach/Busoni)
Die Nächtlichen (Walzer)  No 5 of Elegies, BV249 (Busoni)
Die Zauberflöte (Mozart/Busoni)
Duettino Concertante (Mozart/Busoni)
Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt, BWV637/705 (Bach/Busoni)
Elegies, BV249 (Busoni)
Erscheinung (Notturno)  No 6 of Elegies, BV249 (Busoni)
Fantasia after J S Bach, BV253 (Busoni)
Fantasia contrappuntistica (Busoni)
Fantasia in C minor, BWV906 (Bach/Busoni)
Fantasia in F minor, K608 (Mozart/Busoni)
Fantasia on two themes from Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart, S697 (Liszt/Mozart/Busoni)
Fantasia on two themes from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (Liszt/Busoni)
Fantasie und Fuge über den Choral Ad nos, ad salutarem undam, S259 (Liszt/Busoni)
Fugue  Movement 2 of Fantasia in C minor, BWV906 (Bach/Busoni)
Giga, bolero e variazione  Book 3 of An die Jugend, BV254 (Busoni)
Herr Gott, nun schleuss den Himmel auf, BWV617 (Bach/Busoni)
Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV639 (Bach/Busoni)
In dir ist Freude, BWV615 (Bach/Busoni)
Indianisches Erntelied (Busoni)
Indianisches Tagebuch I, BV267 (Busoni)
Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, BWV665 (Bach/Busoni)
Kammer-Fantasie über Carmen, BV284 (Busoni)
Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist, BWV667 (Bach/Busoni)
Little Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV533 (Bach/Busoni)
Meine Seele bangt und hofft zu Dir (Choralvorspiel)  No 3 of Elegies, BV249 (Busoni)
Motive 'Allegro risoluto' (Busoni)
Nach der Wendung (Recueillement)  No 1 of Elegies, BV249 (Busoni)
Nach Mozart: Adagio  No 6 of Seven Short Pieces for the Cultivation of Polyphonic Playing, BV296 (Busoni)
Nine Variations on a Chopin Prelude, BV213a (Busoni)
Nuit de Noël, BV251 (Busoni)
Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gemein, BWV734 (Bach/Busoni)
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV659 (Bach/Busoni)
Overture  Arrangement of Die Zauberflöte (Mozart/Busoni)
Partita No 2 in D minor, BWV1004 (Bach/Busoni)
Perpetuum mobile, BV293 (Busoni)
Piano Concerto in C major, Op 39 (Busoni)
Piano Concerto No 9 in E flat major 'Jeunehomme', K271 (Mozart/Busoni)
Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV532 (Bach/Busoni)
Prelude and Fugue in E flat major 'St Anne', BWV552 (Bach/Busoni)
Prélude et étude en arpèges, BV297 (Busoni)
Preludio 'Allegro festivo' (Busoni)
Preludio 'without the third finger, Moderato alla breve' (Busoni)
Prologo, BV279 (Busoni)
Rapsodie espagnole, S254 (Liszt/Busoni)
Serenade 'Deh vieni alla finestra' from Mozart's Don Giovanni (Busoni)
Seven Short Pieces for the Cultivation of Polyphonic Playing, BV296 (Busoni)
Sonatina 'ad usum infantis Madeline M* Americanae', BV268 (Busoni)
Sonatina brevis 'in signo Joannis Sebastiani Magni', BV280 (Busoni)
Sonatina 'in diem nativitatis Christi MCMXVII', BV274 (Busoni)
Sonatina seconda, BV259 (Busoni)
Sonatina, BV257 (Busoni)
Three Albumleaves, BV289 (Busoni)
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV565 (Bach/Busoni)
Toccata 'Preludio, Fantasia, Ciaccona', BV287 (Busoni)
Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major, BWV564 (Bach/Busoni)
Turandots Frauengemach (Intermezzo)  No 4 of Elegies, BV249 (Busoni)
Variations-Studie nach Mozart I (Busoni)
Veloce e leggiero (Busoni)
Vivace moderato, con precisione (Busoni)
Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV645 (Bach/Busoni)
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