DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Ferruccio Busoni Is A Perfect Pick-Me-Up For COVID Gloom

By Norman Lebrecht on December 10, 2021

Pianist Peter Donohoe (Photo: Olivier Fleury / Festival International de Musique de Dinard)
Pianist Peter Donohoe (Photo: Olivier Fleury / Festival International de Musique de Dinard)

Ferruccio Busoni: Elegies, etc (Chandos)

★★★★☆

🎧 Amazon | Spotify | Apple Music

Gustav Mahler, who disliked flashy soloists, used to say that his mood picked up if he saw Busoni’s name on the program. The Italian-Austrian, half-Jewish piano virtuoso and ambitious opera composer was a voracious intellectual and bibliomane who could talk philosophy all night long, studding his conversation (like his music) with jokes. Mahler liked him so much that he conducted the premiere of his orchestral Berceuse in New York in the last concert he ever gave.

This recital by the British pianist Peter Donohoe is a perfect pick-me-up for COVID gloom. Starting with the Bach-Busoni Toccata in C major — a favourite with Horowitz and other Golden Agers — it moves into seven quirky Elegies which include, wait for it, King Henry VIII’s Greensleeves among other fragments of Busoni’s operatic version of Turandot.

His Sonatina super Carmen is well known but nonetheless super… a frilly romp through the main themes of Bizet opera with some admonitory fingerwork from Busoni to douse the raging libido. It works, inasmuch as the closing pages are pretty depressive.

Donohoe closes with another Bach-Busoni Toccata to restore the high-minded tone. His playing is always a pleasure, not least for his capacity to make a modern Steinway sound like anything but. On first hearing, I thought mid-century Bösendorfer, on second perhaps a Fazzoli. It takes a truly original pianist to transcend the limitations of these post-industrial behemoths.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, subscribe to Slippedisc.com.

#LUDWIGVAN

Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the Ludwig van Daily — classical music and opera in five minutes or less HERE.

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Crossing The Invisible Borders Between Kodály, Dvořák and Janáček

By Norman Lebrecht on January 7, 2022

British musicians Laura van der Heijden and Jâms Colemanhave cross the invisible border between the Czechs and Hungarians on this recording.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

FEATURE | Musical Ear Syndrome: When The Brain Creates Music From Nothing

By Anya Wassenberg on December 28, 2021

Hearing phantom music may seem more like a gift than a disorder, but there is a clinical name for it: Musical Ear Syndrome.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

ZERO IN | Chopin Competition Scorecards Show Bruce Liu Was The Favourite From The Start

By Michael Vincent on January 3, 2022

When it comes to music competitions, the expectations are absurdly high.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.