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Cat. No. CHAN 10302 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10302 - Busoni: Orchestral Works, Volume 2
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Available From: 11 April 2005
"Busoni’s Lustspiel-Ouvertüre (1897) is an essay in the spirit of Mozart’s comic-opera overtures. With its clear-cut themes and effervescent wit, it has become one of Busoni’s best-loved works. Despite the ‘classical’ air, the overture’s wide range of tonal modulation into remote keys is entirely modern.

Busoni’s first opera, Die Brautwahl (The Bridal Choice), is a fantastic comedy based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Set in bourgeois Berlin society of the 1800s, it tells a complex story of love and magic. Rather than simply extracting a sequence of set pieces to create a suite from the opera, Busoni assembled episodes that suggested a particular mood and wove those together to make a whole movement of that character. Vocal parts were transferred to instruments, and the gorgeous tapestry of Busoni’s scoring can be appreciated for its own sake.

In the years just before World War I Busoni became fascinated by the Native Americans. He was moved to incorporate their starkly pentatonic tunes in his own works, beginning with the Indianische Fantasie, Op. 44 (1913–14) for piano and orchestra. Though rhapsodic in its succession of themes, this rarely heard work resembles a concise piano concerto, laid out in three linked movements. The melodic material is drawn from the songs of several native American peoples, and Busoni presents the tunes in elaborate and colourful pianistic and orchestral textures, with strong intimations of the mystical style he had previously explored in works like Die Brautwahl.

Gesang vom Reigen der Geister, Op. 47 (Song of the Spirit Dance) forms Book II of Busoni’s Indian Diary (1915). Busoni considered it a member of his series of orchestral elegies along with Berceuse élégiaque. It is the most austere, and perhaps the saddest, of that series. The Pawnee song around which the work is woven is connected with the notorious massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890.


…excellently played by the BBC Philharmonic under Neeme Järvi and, one hopes, the start of a much needed Busoni series…
"The Guardian ‘Classical CD of the Week’ on CHAN 9920 (Busoni,Vol. 1)"

Järvi’s performances on his two Busoni collections – the first welcomed by Michael Oliver (7/02) – are the most consistently sympathetic I’ve heard in some years and they’re sure – not least because of the series’ comprehensiveness – to enhance Busoni’s reputation as an orchestral composer. I can’t wait for the third disc in this survey.

Enthusiastically recommended.
"Fanfare on CHAN 9920 (Busoni,Vol. 1)"

…a constantly surprising programme and performances alternating unparalleled atmosphere with infectious spirit.
"BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9920 (Busoni,Vol. 1)"

The sound is detailed, and Calun MacDonald’s booklet note readily enhances one’s listening. There is enough worthwhile Busoni orchestral music for a couple more discs…In the meantime, this disc can be cordially welcomed.
International Record Review

In these, as elsewhere, Neeme Järvi proves himself a sympathetic interpreter…Nelson Goerner negotiates the hair-raisingly difficult piano part of the ‘Indian Fantasy’ with apparent ease, and this strongly recommended disc is completed with the scintillating ‘Comedy Overture.
BBC Music Magazine

Busoni tossed off ‘Lustspiel Overture’ (Comedy Overture) in one night in 1897 and revised it in 1904. He had no particular comedy in mind, but wanted to write an overture in the Mozart tradition. The result is a delightful, effervescent romp, combining suggestions of Smetana, Mozart, Brahms, and the Baroque. Only frequent remote modulations betray its more modern origins. Performances, sound, and notes are first rate, maybe even better than the first disc. Recommended especially for ‘Brautwahl’ and ‘Gesang’, but there is much to enjoy in all these works.
American Record Guide


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