- Kultaselle, variations (10) on a Finnish Folksong for cello & piano, KiV 237
- Serenata, for cello & piano in G minor, Op. 34, KiV 196
- Märchen, for cello & piano, KiV 123
- Valse oubliée, arrangement for cello & piano, (after Liszt), KiV B69
- Albumblatt, for flute (or muted violin) & piano in E minor, KiV 272
- Kleine Suite, for cello & piano, Op. 23, KiV 215
- Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, arrangement for cello & piano (after J. S. Bach, BWV 903; BBGA 7/7), KiV B38
Ferruccio Busoni had already composed an enormous amount of music before he arrived, rather late in life, at his "breakthrough" piece, the "Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 36a," in 1898. For decades, that and his "Violin Concerto" (1897) were the earliest Busoni compositions to reach the recorded medium, almost as though his earlier work threatened to reveal something of Busoni that was better off unexcavated. The early Busoni has only begun to surface since the 1990s, and that which has come along reveals that he was just as gifted in his prodigious adolescence as in adulthood, and he addressed many of the same ideals in his formative work as he did in maturity. Tactus' Ferruccio Busoni: Integrale delle composizioni per Cello e Piano features cellist Luca Paccagnella with pianist Sabrina Alberti (of the Duo Shostakovich) in a generous recital of all the works created by Busoni for cello and piano. Outside of the two transcriptions (of Bach's "Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue, BWV 903" and one of Liszt's "Valses Oubliées") and the "Albumblatt" of 1916, none of these pieces were composed after 1890. There is an earlier compilation on Naxos by Duo Pepicelli that claims to be "complete," but isn't -- it is padded out with Respighi's Adagio con variazioni and does not include the "Märchen" or "Albumblatt" heard here; in the case of the latter, the original score is for flute or muted violin, but Busoni did revise it for cello later on. The most engaging of the pieces are the "Kultaselle variations" and the "Kleine Suite, Op. 23," and indeed, these ambitious pieces have been widely adopted by cellists since revised editions of these works appeared in 2000. The "Moderato ma energico" movement of the "Kleine Suite" already demonstrates Busoni's interest in Baroque forms and in comparison to the Duo Pepicelli, Paccagnella and Alberti are slightly slower but articulate the music far more carefully. This disc isn't out there just to fill another repertory hole; Paccagnella and Alberti have something eloquent to say in this music, and this element is what raises the disc above the mere "let's get these things out into the catalog" stage. The only drawback is the recording, which is rather quiet and one may need to turn it up a bit. It does have the advantage of being rather dry, which is a good perspective for chamber music. The cello and piano transcription of the Bach "Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue, BWV 903," is a remarkable example of Busoni taking the work of Johann Sebastian Bach and turning into something that doesn't sound like Bach at all. Nevertheless, this goes toward Busoni's work in the field of total re-creation of already existing music, something that was an important step in the development of modernism -- perhaps of more importance in 2007 than it must have seemed in 1916.