Sunday, March 26, 2017

Ferruccio Busoni - Piano Concerto (Garrick Ohlsson)


Composer: Ferruccio Busoni
  1. Piano Concerto in C major, Op. 39 (BV 247): I. Prologo e Introito (Allegro, dolce e solenne)
  2. Piano Concerto in C major, Op. 39 (BV 247): II. Pezzo giocoso (Vivacemente, ma senza fretta)
  3. Piano Concerto in C major, Op. 39 (BV 247): III. Pezzo serioso (Introductio: Andante sostenuto - Prima pars: Andante, quasi adagio - Altera pars: Sommessamente - Ultima pars: a tempo)
  4. Piano Concerto in C major, Op. 39 (BV 247): IV. All'Italiana. Tarantella (Vivace; In un tempo)
  5. Piano Concerto in C major, Op. 39 (BV 247): V. Cantico (Largamente, piu moderato)

Garrick Ohlsson, piano
Cleveland Orchestra & Men's Chorus
Christoph von Dohnányi, conductor

Date: 1989
Label: Telarc



Reference Recording: Busoni’s Monumental Piano Concerto

Busoni's fascinating, mammoth Piano Concerto no longer can claim to be the rarity it once was, when just about the only version available was John Odgon's not-really-as-great-as-its-reputation-would-lead-us-to-believe recording for EMI. For the performance that really is great, look no further. Dohnányi and Ohlssen play the spots off the work, rugged and impassioned in the opening two movements, thoughtfully intense in the long central Pezzo serioso, scintillating in the All'Italiana, and refreshingly cogent and truly "moderato" in a finale that never drags or sounds anti-climactic. This is, in fact, an ideal sort of piece for Dohnányi, and a perfect partnership, one in which the conductor can maintain the thread of symphonic argument and concentrate on securing superior results from the Cleveland Orchestra while leaving the more impassioned and Romantically self-indulgent moments to Ohlssen. The recording, also one of Telarc's best from this source, still betters the competition. At mid-price, here's an easy first choice for this wonderful work.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

More reviews:


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.


Garrick Ohlsson (born April 3, 1948 in New York) is an American classical pianist. Ohlsson was the first American to win first prize in the International Frédéric Chopin Piano Competition, in 1970. Ohlsson is an avid chamber musician and has collaborated with the Cleveland, Emerson, Takács and Tokyo string quartets, among other ensembles. Ohlsson possesses an unusually vast repertoire that ranges over some eighty concertos. He is also known for his exceptional keyboard stretch (a 12th in the left hand and an 11th in the right).


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