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Busoni: Songs / Bruns, Eisenlohr


Release Date: 10/31/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557245   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. BrunsUlrich Eisenlohr
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BUSONI 2 Lieder, op. 31. Album Vocale, op. 30. Altdeutsche Lieder, op. 18/1. Hebräische Lieder, op. 15. 2 Lieder, op. 24. Des Sängers Fluch. Goethe-Lieder: Lied des Brander; Lied des Mephistopheles; Lied des Unmuts; Zigeunerlied; Schlechter Trost. Reminiscenza rossiniana Read more class="BULLET12b">• Martin Bruns (bar); Ulrich Eisenlohr (pn) NAXOS 8.557245 (69: 16)


Busoni was prolific from his earliest years, composing nearly 300 works large and small—capped by the mammoth Piano Concerto in five movements with choral finale (1904)—before emerging, in his early forties, as one of the makers of modernism in a series of ever more hermetically wrought Faustian utterances. This transformation is the point and origin of our fascination with him, for without it he would loom as a lesser (particularly in the sense that more is less) Wolf-Ferrari—distinguished, earnest, elegant, charming. This program encompasses the great divide, the bulk of the songs being drawn from Busoni’s teens, with the Goethe-Lieder , composed in Zürich over 1917/18, representing his final manner. The very brief Reminiscenza rossiniana is pastiche, a clever takeoff addressed to Busoni’s friend, the English musicologist E. J. Dent—reproduced in Dent’s biography—composed in 1923 as the chronic nephritis, which would kill Busoni the following year, tightened its grip. It is an amusing request for first editions of the works of Wilkie Collins, whose novels Busoni had just discovered—the charm worked and the publishers, Chatto & Windus, sent him the collected edition. The Goethe-Lieder , on the other hand, are pure Busoni—spare, laconic, bleak, haunting. The “Lied des Brander” remained a strophic sketch, put in order and published by Busoni’s famulus , Philipp Jarnach, long after the composer’s death, while the rattling “Lied des Mephistopheles” was adapted to Busoni’s text and used in Doktor Faust . “Lied des Unmuts” (“disgruntled song”) is a sarcastic animadversion upon poetasters (“Not a rhymester will you find but thinks his stuff’s the best”) and critics unable to distinguish mouse droppings from coriander, while “Schlechter Trost” depicts the sick man’s midnight visitation by spooks. Eeriness takes an animated turn in the “Zigeunerlied,” as the narrator glimpses seven village girls in the snowy forest transformed into cats—werewolves—uttering strange cries.


If we possessed only these crisply brisk performances we would consider ourselves fortunate, but Fischer-Dieskau long ago took possession of the Goethe-Lieder (absent the “Lied des Brander”) and projects their peculiar expressiveness, with Gerald Moore, in ways which make Bruns seem understated. That’s a sport—and difficult to find apart from expensive multi-disc reissues, if available at all—for the genuine competition is a venerable 1978 collection featuring both early songs and the five Goethe-Lieder sung with Italianate plangency by baritone Elio Battaglia, sympathetically accompanied by Erik Werba (reissued in 1994 and perhaps still available, Italia CDC 84). In the early songs, Battaglia is warm and lingering, treating them as if they were absolute masterpieces, where Bruns is straightforwardly effective, with Eisenlohr hand-in-glove. The Goethe-Lieder come off cool and incisive with Bruns, where Battaglia evinces—as does Fischer-Dieskau—an expressiveness primal yet nuanced. With the exception of the seven-year-old Busoni’s op. 1, an Ave Maria , the present program includes everything on the Battaglia/Werba album and adds the four songs of the Album Vocale and Des Sängers Fluch , a 17-minute effusion by the 12-year-old composer. Though melodically persuasive, much of this fare is of more musicological than aesthetic interest, though it may all be heard with pleasure… in varying degrees. My favorite has always been the melting Ich sah die Thräne (after Byron’s “I saw thee weep”), which, according to Bruns’s informed annotations, “remains stuck in a kitschy, sentimental pose.” You get the idea.


The sound of this Bavarian Radio production is open and closely immediate, with voice and piano evenly matched. For poems and translations, listeners are referred to the Naxos Web site—“This measure is designed to help keep our releases at an affordable price. . .”. Tradeoffs. Suggest you sock away Battaglia/Werba (which includes poems and translations) before it disappears, look out for the Fischer-Dieskau, and grab this.


FANFARE: Adrian Corleonis
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Works on This Recording

1.
Lieder (2), Op. 31/K 167 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. Bruns (Baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1880 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
2.
Album Vocale, Op. 30/K 114 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano), Martin A. Bruns (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1879 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
3.
Altdeutsche Lieder (2), Op. 18/K 207: no 1, Wohlauf, der kühle Winter ist vergangen by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. Bruns (Baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1885 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
4.
Lieder (2), Op. 15/K 202 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano), Martin A. Bruns (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Italy 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
5.
Lieder (2), Op. 24/K 216 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. Bruns (Baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; Italy 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
6.
Des Sängers Fluch, Op. 39a/K 98a by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. Bruns (Baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1879 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
7.
Lied des Brander, K 299 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. Bruns (Baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1919; Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
8.
Lied des Mephistopheles, K 278a by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. Bruns (Baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Berlin, Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
9.
Lied des Unmuts, K 281 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. Bruns (Baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Berlin, Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
10.
Zigeunerlied, Op. 55 no 2/K 295 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. Bruns (Baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Berlin, Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
11.
Schlechter Trost, K 298a by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. Bruns (Baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; Berlin, Germany 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 
12.
Caro Dent, due paroline in confidenza "Reminiscenza Rossiniana" by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Martin A. Bruns (Baritone), Ulrich Eisenlohr (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Language: German 
Notes: Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (09/05/2004 - 09/09/2004); Bavarian Radio Studio 2, Munich, Germany (10/26/2004) 

Sound Samples

2 Lieder, Op. 31: No. 1. Wer hat das erste Lied erdacht?
2 Lieder, Op. 31: No. 2. Bin ein fahrender Gesell
Album vocale, Op. 30: No. 1. Il fiore del pensiero
Album vocale, Op. 30: No. 2. L'ultimo sonno
Album vocale, Op. 30: No. 3. Un organetto suona per la via
Album vocale, Op. 30: No. 4. Ballatella
2 Altdeutsche Lieder, Op. 18: No. 1. Wohlauf! Der kühle Winter ist vergangen
2 Lieder, Op. 15: No. 1. Ich sah die Trane
2 Lieder, Op. 15: No. 2. An Babylons Wassern
2 Lieder, Op. 24: No. 1. Lied des Monmouth
2 Lieder, Op. 24: No. 2. Es ist bestimmt in Gottes Rat
Des Sangers Fluch, Op. 39a: Des Sangers Fluch, Op. 39
Lied des Brander
Lied des Mephistopheles: Op. 49, No. 2
Lied des Unmuts
Zigeunerlied, Op. 55, No. 2
Schlechter Trost
Reminiscenza Rossiniana

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