Adolf Busch

Schubert: Fantasia in C Major; Schumann: Sonatas for Violin & Pianos Nos. 1 & 2

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A terrific program of first-rate but under-recorded Romantic repertoire, this disc has everything going for it except for its sound, which is frankly terrible. Violinist Adolf Busch and pianist Rudolf Serkin were one of the finest musical partnerships of the ‘30s and ‘40s, and these performances are as good as any of their best. Their Schubert Fantasia in C major, D. 934, recorded in 1931 exhibits the kind of absolutely controlled and long-lined passion required to hold 20 minutes of highly emotional music together. Similarly, their recordings of Schumann's Sonata in A minor, Op. 105, from 1943 and D minor Sonata, Op. 121, from 1946 are powerfully expressive and wildly imaginative, but still formally firm and solid. The sound of this Urania reissue, however, is dim, grainy, thin, and scratchy, which thereby rules out this disc for all but the most resolute listeners.

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