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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ferruccio Busoni - Orchestral Works Vol. 1 (Neeme Järvi)


Composer: Ferruccio Busoni
  1. Orchestral Suite No. 2 "‘Geharnischte Suite", Op. 34a: I. Prelude
  2. Orchestral Suite No. 2 "‘Geharnischte Suite", Op. 34a: II.  War Dance
  3. Orchestral Suite No. 2 "‘Geharnischte Suite", Op. 34a: III. Funeral Monument
  4. Orchestral Suite No. 2 "‘Geharnischte Suite", Op. 34a: IV. Assault
  5. Berceuse élégiaque, Op. 42 (A man's cradle-song at his mother's bier)
  6. Concertino for Clarinet & Small Orchestra in B flat major, Op. 48: I. Allegretto sostenuto - Tranquillo - Un poco animato
  7. Concertino for Clarinet & Small Orchestra in B flat major, Op. 48: II. Andantino - Adagio -
  8. Concertino for Clarinet & Small Orchestra in B flat major, Op. 48: III. Allegro sostenuto - Un poco meno sostenuto -
  9. Concertino for Clarinet & Small Orchestra in B flat major, Op. 48: IV. Allegro - Tempo di minuetto, sostenuto e pomposo
  10. Sarabande and Cortège, Op. 51: I. Sarabande
  11. Sarabande and Cortège, Op. 51: II. Cortège. In the style of a polonaise
  12. Tanzwalzer, Op. 53: Introduction. Andante - Tempo di valse sostenuto -
  13. Tanzwalzer, Op. 53: I. [ ] -
  14. Tanzwalzer, Op. 53: II. Piu vivo -
  15. Tanzwalzer, Op. 53: III. Tempo I -
  16. Tanzwalzer, Op. 53: IV. [ ] - Tempo I, tranquillo - Tempo deciso - Presto  - Più mosso

John Bradbury, clarinet (6-9)
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor

Date: 2001
Label: Chandos
https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/CHAN 9920




There isn’t much Busoni orchestral music, and what there is varies widely in quality. His finest work in the medium is also his largest: the epic piano concerto. The Geharnischte (“Armored”) Suite, an early work (comparatively speaking) from the 1890s, has something to do with war, but the message it sends (like so much of this composer’s music) remains ambiguous. For example, the second movement War Dance hardly sounds threatening–or even especially militaristic–and the title of the concluding movement, Assault, contrasts oddly with the rather affirmative nature of the music itself. Still, it’s an enjoyable work and Järvi’s forces play it very well, better certainly than the two other recordings currently available.

The shorter works go equally well: the Berceuse élégiaque moves very swiftly, but that’s no bad thing in this static music, and Järvi certainly has the measure of the marvelous Sarabande and Cortège from Doktor Faust (containing, for my money, Busoni’s finest orchestral writing). The two lighter works, Tanzwalzer and Concertino for Clarinet and Small Orchestra, lack the sort of character (i.e. catchy tunes) that the best pieces of this type require; but like all of the music in this collection they are very well played and excellently recorded. If you think you might be interested in exploring Busoni beyond the Piano Concerto, then this disc makes a fine place to start.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

More reviews:
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: ****


Ferruccio Busoni (1 April 1866 – 27 July 1924) was an Italian composer, pianist, conductor, editor, writer, and piano teacher. Busoni was an outstanding (if sometimes controversial) pianist from an early age. He began composing in his early years in a late romantic style, and later developed a more individual style, often with elements of atonality. Busoni's impact on music was perhaps more through those who studied piano and composition with him, and through his writings on music, than through his compositions themselves, of whose style there are no direct successors.


Neeme Järvi (born June 7, 1937 in Tallinn) is an Estonian conductor. He studied at the Leningrad Conservatory under Yevgeny Mravinsky and Nikolai Rabinovich, among others. He made over 400 recordings for labels such as BIS, Chandos and Deutsche Grammophon and best known for his interpretations of Romantic and 20th century classical music. In 1982, he became the principal conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony, and held the post for 22 years, the longest-serving principal conductor in the orchestra's history.


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