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Piano Music 7

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Audio CD, December 14, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

The essence of Ferruccio Busoni' music lies in its synthesis of his Italian and German ancestry, emotion and intellect, imagination and rigour. This seventh volume in Naxos' highly-praised series brings together several virtuosic operatic transcriptions,
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 14, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B004807858
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #539,391 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 6, 2011
Format: Audio CD
There was a time when Busoni transcriptions figured fairly prominently in pianists' recital programs, but that has tailed off considerably in the past half century, although one still occasionally hears Bach/Busoni transcriptions. Aside from his transcriptions of Bach's music, Busoni wrote a raft of transcriptions and original music based on opera themes and this CD, the seventh in Wolf Harden's traversal of Busoni's piano music, is almost exclusively from that genre. The only things here that are not opera-based are four of the 'Five Short Pieces for the Cultivation of Polyphonic-Playing' (1923); the fifth of these pieces is based on the music of the Armed Men in Mozart's 'Magic Flute'.

The big work here is the 'Concert Fantasy on Motifs from the Opera "Merlin" by Karl Goldmark'. This is an almost eighteen-minute Goliath that pretty much covers all the memorable themes in Goldmark's magical opera 'Merlin' (not to be confused with an opera of the same name by Isaac Albéniz). This one is a humdinger with hugely virtuosic demands on the pianist which Harden pulls off admirably. The 'Fantasy' is indeed a fantasia that strings together themes rather like an old fashioned opera overture but with all manner of contrapuntal and pianistic fireworks. The only other acceptable performance of this I've heard on record is that of Holger Groschopp in a four-disc set at budget price Busoni: Piano Transcriptions [Box Set] and the two are roughly comparable. (If my memory serves, it does not appear on Geoffrey Douglas Madge's supposedly complete traversal (6 CDs) of Busoni's piano works. And even if it did, that set is largely unacceptable.
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