Busoni: Piano Music, Vol. 4

Busoni: Piano Music, Vol. 4

by Wolf Harden
     
 

In the fourth volume of his cycle of Busoni's piano music for Naxos, pianist Wolf Harden tackles some of the most important pieces in Busoni's solo repertoire; the "Six Elegies," the "Toccata: Preludio -- Fantasia -- Ciaccona," and the "Fantasia nach J.S. Bach." Harden fills out the program with appropriate, contextually related choices; the See more details below

Overview

In the fourth volume of his cycle of Busoni's piano music for Naxos, pianist Wolf Harden tackles some of the most important pieces in Busoni's solo repertoire; the "Six Elegies," the "Toccata: Preludio -- Fantasia -- Ciaccona," and the "Fantasia nach J.S. Bach." Harden fills out the program with appropriate, contextually related choices; the Bach/Busoni "Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV 532," originally for organ, and the seldom recorded piano solo version of the "Berceuse Elegiaque," subtitled by Busoni as "Elegy No. 7." One would expect in such emotionally wrought Busoni -- the "Berceuse" is a memorial to his mother, as is the "Fantasia" to his father -- that Harden would be firing on all cylinders here. In a technical sense, he is; the execution aspect of the whole disc is impressive apart from a transition or two that come off as abrupt. However, Harden takes the "Elegies" a shade faster than most, and the underlying dance rhythms -- usually muted owing to slower tempi -- become the detail that plays to the foreground. In making such tempo choices, Harden's "Elegies" come off as being rather strident and he loses the sense of shrouded mystery that these pieces are normally associated with, and that doesn't seem like an appropriate trade-off. This may be the result of a conceptual misunderstanding; though Busoni was a pioneer of neo-classical thinking in music, the "Elegies" in particular are closer to the realm of Liszt than they are of Prokofiev. In any event, it is somehow encouraging that twenty first century pianists are able to take piano pieces once thought barely possible and perform them in a manner that's almost blasé. In this matter, a bit more give would've yielded expressive results in this music, such as is customary, but one cannot fault Harden for playing such extraordinarily difficult piano music with such proficiency, it's just an additional flair for drama, mood, and suspense that is lacking.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/26/2008
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313054374
catalogNumber:
8570543
Rank:
131529

Tracks

  1. Praeludium & Fuge, transcription for piano in D major (after J. S. Bach, BWV 532), KiV B20  - Ferruccio Busoni  - Ferruccio Busoni  - Wolf Harden  - Michael Holz
  2. Elegien, suite of elegies (6 or 7) for piano, KiV 249  - Ferruccio Busoni  - Wolf Harden  - Michael Holz
  3. Berceuse, for piano (Elegies No. 7), KiV 252  - Ferruccio Busoni  - Wolf Harden  - Michael Holz
  4. Fantasia nach J. S. Bach, for piano, KiV 253  - Ferruccio Busoni  - Wolf Harden  - Michael Holz
  5. Toccata: Preludio, Fantasia, Ciaccona, for piano, KiV 287  - Ferruccio Busoni  - Wolf Harden  - Michael Holz

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