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Adolf Busch: The Life of an Honest Musician (2 Volume Set) Hardcover – September 17, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1408 pages
  • Publisher: Toccata Press; Har/Com edition (September 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0907689507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0907689508
  • Product Dimensions: 3.9 x 6.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,854,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The words magisterial and monumental are no hyperbole as applied to this remarkable pair of volumes AMERCAN RECORD GUIDEThis is far and away the greatest biography of a musician (...) I have encountered for many years. It is simply a magnificent achievement after what must have been lifetime's study. MUSICAL OPINION Potter's deeply researched tomes encapsulate a whole era of musical history in lucid, engaging prose that brings Busch and his contemporaries vividly to life. STRINGENDOTully Potter's epic narrative (is) a real labour of love which has preoccupied him for the past 40 years.TEMPO Potter's point of view regards Busch's life as a journey that needs to be witnessed and observed to understand the life and times of the man. (...) As portrayed by Potter, classical music not only affects individuals, it affects nations as well. STRINGS A labour of love 30 years in the making, this monumental biography does credit to its subject, its author and its publisher. (...) The book brims with fascinating, amusing, surprising and touching incident and insight. THE STRAD After reading Tully Potter's exhaustive two-volume biography Adolf Busch 'The Life of an Honest Musician', one comes away not only with the greatest respect and admiration for the subject. THE TABLET A brief review cannot hope to do justice to this comprehensively researched and beautifully produced book. (...) How to behave under a tyranny is a complicated question for all but a few rare spirits. Busch was one of them. This remarkable book honours him for it, at last, and for his wonderful music-making. SUNDAY TIMESThe book is a barn-burner, impossible to put down, as the musical world of the era flashes by. (...) this is a magnificent achievement, one to challenge all future biographers of any musician. FANFARE (D)eserves wider circulation in its own right, as an evocation of a tumultuous era in which right and wrong were plainly discernible yet all too rarely acted upon. INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEWEvery great musician deserves his or her Tully Potter. ... The variety of sources quoted is dizzying, from personal interviews... to little-known books and journals. GRAMOPHONE (A)t once a stirring tale and a disturbing one. WALL STREET JOURNALA meticulous narrative of over 900 pages. BBC MUSIC (5 stars)

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Laurence Vittes on November 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a book of extreme importance. It brings to the fore, in great detail and with a sharp writing style, the life and times of one of Germany's greatest musicians, whose direct lineage to Brahms validated his simple elegant virtuoso's style, always playing as if this were the most important thing in his life, totally in the context of his own, unalterable identity as a musician. Every library needs this; every music lover needs to see this, and at least glance through its pages. Tully Potter has been standing up for classical music since he was knee-high to a violin, and deserves a knighthood for this, although he might decline, and a place in our own Classical Music Hall of Fame.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Piso Mojado on March 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Long awaited, this biography of violinist, composer, quartet and trio leader, teacher, and conductor Adolf Busch (1891-1952), co-founder of the Marlboro School of Music, is a history of the violin, of concerts and chamber-music in the first half of the 20th century. The texts, research notes, copious illustrations, and appendices detail virtually every concert and associate of Busch's life with full descriptions of his musical and personal relations with Reger, Busoni, Tovey, Roentgens and hundreds of others, including those unsympathetic to him such as Furtwaengler, Sibelius, Edwin Fischer, and Elly Ney, for musical or political reasons. Busch's early immigration from Germany and his part in creating the Lucerne Festival and Palestine Symphony Orchestra, precursor of the Israel Philharmonic, before settling in the U.S. and co-founding the Marlboro School of Music with his son-in-law Rudolf Serkin, are fully chronicled, as are those of his brothers, conductor-pianist Fritz Busch and cellist Herman Busch.

Adolf Busch was a stalwart of the German school of violin inherited from Joseph Joachim, standing apart from the Leopold Auer and other schools. The violinists he is most often compared with are Joachim, Bronislaw Huberman, and Joseph Szigeti.

Mr. Potter has done service equal to Henry-Louis de la Grange's for Mahler. His book, well worth the price, is in two volumes, 1400 pp., with hundreds of photographs, many previously unknown. The explanatory notes and identification of those mentioned in the text are exemplary.
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