With one major exception, this two-disc set presents some of EMI's finest recordings of the keyboard and orchestral works of Ferruccio Busoni. Of the orchestral works, there are Frederik Prausnitz and the New Philharmonia's hauntingly beautiful 1967 performance of the Berceuse élégiaque, Riccardo Muti and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala's light and lovely 1992 recording of the Turandot Suite, and Daniel Revenaugh and the Royal Philharmonic's weirdly disturbing but wholly effective 1967 performance of the Sarabande and Cortége from Doktor Faust. Among the piano works are Thomas Adès' quirky but compelling 2000 performance of Sonatina ad usum infantis, John Ogdon's brilliant and delightful 1961 performances of the Ten Variations on Chopin's Prélude in C minor, Turandots Frauengemach (aka, Greensleeves), and Ogdon's scintillating take on Sonatina No. 6 (aka, Chamber Fantasy on Bizet's Carmen). The one disappointment is, unfortunately, the major work here, the monumental five-movement Piano Concerto with its closing men's chorus. The 1967 recording features Ogdon, a blazing virtuoso and renowned Busoni expert, backed by Revenaugh and the Royal Philharmonic, but the sound of the recording is so lacking in detail and presence and so washed out in tone that it is hard to hear what is going on, or even why it should matter. With the exception of the Piano Concerto, the set should be of interest to Busoni fans.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
Track Listing - Disc 1
|Concerto for piano, orchestra and male chorus, Op. 39|
Track Listing - Disc 2
|Turandot Suite, Op. 41|
|Sarabande and Cortège, 2 studies for "Doktor Faust", Op. 51|
|Sonatina ad usum Infantis (Sonatina No. 3)|