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Busoni: The Complete Two Piano Programme / Revenaugh, Smith


Release Date: 12/04/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 97469   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartFerruccio Busoni
Performer:  Daniell RevenaughLawrence Leighton Smith
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Busoni's music always will have its fans, if only because it's so much more interesting to talk about than it is to listen to. This disc conveniently brings together all of his works for two pianos, and with the exception of Egon Petri's arrangement of the Berceuse, all of it is based on either Mozart or Bach. The result offers an effective scheme of contrasts, just as Busoni himself intended, even if not all of the music is equally successful. The transcription of the Magic Flute Overture is entirely literal and comes across as a touch mechanical in this performance, at least as regards the repeated-note figures in the principal fugato. The Improvisation on a Bach Chorale has plenty of atmospheric moments; Busoni is often most appealing Read more when he is drifting about dreamily, as so often seems to be the case here. Mozart's Fantasia for Musical Clock (or "Clockwork Organ" as listed here) seems to gain in substance when transferred to the two-piano medium, while the Duettino Concertante is both charming and played with a lively sense of fun.

With the Fantasia Contrappuntistica Busoni's big guns come out, for good or ill. Daniell Revenaugh and Lawrence Leighton Smith do better with the "fantasia" bits than with the "contrappuntistica" episodes. I'm thinking in particular of the moment, some 12 minutes in, when the fugal stuff really gets going and the music seems to demand a bit more variety of articulation and a sharper rhythmic profile, at least when compared to Schiff/Serkin on ECM (but then, that disc includes Reger's Beethoven Variations, not exactly a charmer of a work either). Still, there's little to quibble with technically, and the work is certainly expertly paced and convincingly projected throughout its half-hour length. The Berceuse makes a logical encore, and it's all Busoni and no one else.

As suggested above, the recording, made in Yale's Sprague Hall in 1995, could have been a touch cleaner in the densest passages, but it's very pleasant in the main. It must have been shopped around for a while before showing up on EMI, but we can only be glad that it did. Revenaugh is best known for his conducting of the Busoni Piano Concerto (with John Ogdon in one of his best recorded performances), and his dedication to the cause is never in question (nor is Leighton Smith's). Making this recording was, according to Revenaugh's notes, a lifelong dream. Okay, some people dream about the strangest things, but who are we to complain?

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Die Zauberflöte, K 620: Overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Daniell Revenaugh (Piano), Lawrence Leighton Smith (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT 
Length: 7 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Ferruccio Busoni.
Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT (03/13/1995 - 03/16/1995) 
2. Improvisation on J.S. Bach's Chorale "Wie wohl ist mir" for 2 Pianos, K 271 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Lawrence Leighton Smith (Piano), Daniell Revenaugh (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Germany 
Venue:  Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT 
Length: 15 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT (03/13/1995 - 03/16/1995) 
3. Fantasy for a Barrel Organ after Mozart by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Lawrence Leighton Smith (Piano), Daniell Revenaugh (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT 
Length: 10 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT (03/13/1995 - 03/16/1995) 
4. Duettino concertante after Mozart's Piano Concerto, K 459 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Lawrence Leighton Smith (Piano), Daniell Revenaugh (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Berlin, Germany 
Venue:  Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT 
Length: 8 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Notes: Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT (03/13/1995 - 03/16/1995) 
5. Fantasia contrappuntistica, K 256 by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Daniell Revenaugh (Piano), Lawrence Leighton Smith (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910/1922; Berlin, Germany 
Venue:  Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT 
Length: 31 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT (03/13/1995 - 03/16/1995) 
6. Berceuse elégiaque, Op. 42a by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Daniell Revenaugh (Piano), Lawrence Leighton Smith (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Berlin, Germany 
Venue:  Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT 
Length: 7 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: Sprague Hall, Yale Univ., New Haven, CT (03/13/1995 - 03/16/1995) 

Sound Samples

Berceuse Élégiaque
The Magic Flute Overture
Improvisation On A Bach Chorale
Fantasie For A Clockwork Organ
Duettino Concertante
Fantasia Contrappuntistica
Berceuse Élégiaque

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