Unlike many great pianists whose careers shine bright but change nothing in the prevailing zeitgeist, Ferruccio Busoni’s contribution to the history of piano playing is as revolutionary and game-changing as that of Liszt, Chopin or Anton Rubinstein. Busoni’s esthetic was radically opposite that of the decadent style of Hofman and Leschetizky, in all aspects of technique, sound production, repertoire and even general approach, and served as a sort of counterweight. The school of piano playing that emerged in the years after WWII, especially the Russian, is a wonderful amalgam of the two great movements of the decades before, and was indelibly influenced by Busoni’s art.
Busoni is best remembered as a composer of remarkable piano transcriptions. The selections on this disk, originally from the organ, violin, orchestra and opera repertoire, represent his art at its best.
Svetlana Belsky is the author of the recently published book "Busoni as Pianist" (Eastman Studies in Music, University of Rochester Press, 2010).