Personalities | Ferruccio Busoni | Modern Era | Classical

(Fer-rooch’-yo Boo-zo’-ne) 1866–1924
Italian-German composer

Busoni was a child prodigy, giving concerts from the age of seven and starting to compose soon after. His music was formed from the fruitful tensions between his Latin and Teutonic ancestries and between his reverence for the past – J. S. Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) above all – and his openness to the new. What he called ‘Young Classicism’ was rather close to Stravinskian neo-classicism, and he welcomed Schoenberg’s radicalism. Several of his works, including the monumental Fantasia Contrappuntistica (1910), reinterpret Bach for the twentieth century. Many of his later compositions are sketches for, or tributaries from, his masterpiece, the opera Doktor Faust (1924), a humanist and optimistic retelling of the ancient legend.

Recommended Recording:
Piano Concerto, Garrick Ohlsson, Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus (cond) Christoph von Dohnányi (Telarc)

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