Sergiu Luca

Bach Busoni (Unhyphenated)

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The original release of the Delos album Bach Busoni (unhyphenated) in 1975 was something of a milestone in classical recording; it helped establish small, Los Angeles-based label Delos as a heavy hitter in the classical music industry. It was violinist Sergiu Luca's first recording, touching off a career that ultimately led to a classic set of Bach's solo violin sonatas and the premiere recording of the Bolcom Violin Concerto, among many others. It was also one of the first recordings of David Golub, who would go on to a significant recording career as pianist and conductor, lasting until his untimely death in 2000 at the age of 50. In the Bach Sonata No. 6 in G, BWV 1018, Luca is joined by legendary harpsichordist Albert Fuller, a pioneer in the early music movement who was by then in mid-career. At the time, there was a growing amount of interest in Ferruccio Busoni after a long period of neglect, and Delos wisely recognized the need; the only previous commercial recording of Busoni's important Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 36a, had been an effort by violinist Joseph Szigeti appearing in 1955 on a Columbia LP hardly anyone bought.

Thankfully, this recording has aged well and the performances still pack a lot of punch; recording the Bach violin sonata on harpsichord was still a novel concept in 1975, as was the idea of combining it with a modern work that had a piano accompaniment. Bach Busoni (unhyphenated) hasn't been out of print since it was first issued in 1975, although it is an analog recording; as Delos' CD releases are all-digital, when it first appeared on CD in 1987 this was relegated to Delos' non-digital Facet imprint at a lower cost. While the recording is still great -- the Bach was one of the first projects for producer Judith Sherman, as well -- there are some issues with the package. It is a shame the original cover shot was not included somewhere in the book, and the disc bears the wrong opus number for the Busoni -- the sonata is Op. 36a and not Op. 35a, which is for Busoni's Violin Concerto. Also, both works are included on one track each, with index points -- while this is OK for the Busoni as he intended it as a single-movement work, it is less than convenient access for the Bach. Nevertheless, Bach Busoni (unhyphenated) is a classic, and well deserves its long run as an in-print item.

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