Among Busoni’s charming and perceptive ‘Aphorisms on Mozart’, which he wrote on the 150th anniversary of Mozart’s birth for a Berlin newspaper, we find one that might have been inspired by the Andantino
from the twenty-one-year-old Mozart’s Piano Concerto in E flat major K271, which Busoni transcribed for solo piano: ‘In him the antique and the rococo combine in perfect ways without resulting in a new architecture.’ The florid cantilena, framed by the canonic severity of the orchestra and interspersed with fragments of poignant recitative, evokes in the original an almost palpable feeling of opera seria. Notable here is the way in which Busoni suppresses the elaboration to be found in his other transcriptions in favour of faithful and almost unadorned reproduction in pianistic language of this sublime scena. He makes discreet excisions to avoid pointless repetitions which have meaning only in the contrast between piano and orchestra, but only in the cadenza (his own in place of Mozart’s) does his own personality intrude.
from notes by Hamish Milne © 2008