Busch-Serkin Duo

Bach: Sonata BWV 1018; Brahms: Sonata Op. 78; Horn Trio

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For fans of the celebrated violin and piano duo of Adolf Busch and Rudolf Serkin, the release of three previously unpublished recordings will be an unexpected pleasure. One of the finest such duos of the middle years of the twentieth century, Busch and Serkin were known for their intensity, purity, virtuosity, and absolute unwillingness to compromise their aesthetic ideals with portemento or rubato. All these traits are fully evident in these wonderful performances -- an austere but affecting Bach's F minor Sonata recorded live at the Library of Congress in 1939, a reserved but moving Brahms' G major Sonata recorded live at BBC Studios in 1936, and a restrained but joyous Brahms' E flat major Trio recorded piecemeal in EMI's Abbey Road Studios in 1933 with fabulous guest hornist Aubrey Brain. That the actual sound of these '30s recordings is at best dim and at worst harsh will not dissuade Busch and Serkin's fans -- although less dedicated listeners may be put off by the pops, snaps, crackles, and occasionally all-pervasive hiss.

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