Busoni: Four Elegies; Sonatina No. 2; Toccata; Bach transcriptions

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Busoni
LABELS: Dabringhaus und Grimm Gold
WORKS: Four Elegies; Sonatina No. 2; Toccata; Bach transcriptions
PERFORMER: Claudius Tanski (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: MDG 312 0436-2
Tryon’s and Tanski’s CDs both include Busoni’s arrangement of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Tryon is closely and warmly recorded, and produces a mellow sound, even in the loudest passages. Tanski is more distant and more brittle, and some of his rubatos are contrived rather than organic – the two Bach Chorale Prelude arrangements are very mannered. But his sensibility suits the strange, inward Elegies and Second Sonatina, and he’s not short on virtuosity in the Toccata and Turandots Frauengemach – though what was Busoni thinking when he used the melody of ‘Greensleeves’ in this context? Tryon’s CD is completed largely by more transcriptions and arrangements, including the Bach Chaconne. Here she can’t eclipse the memory of the flair of the old Michelangeli recording, though her playing is unfailingly engaging and musical. The Variations on Chopin’s C minor Prelude are a joy, and they are also included on JY Song’s CD of Busoni and Liszt. Song is absolutely at home with the big gesture, though the simplicity of Chopin’s theme finds her less at ease. But the Liszt Totentanz receives a terrific performance, and she also encompasses the dark world of La lugubre Gondola and Busoni’s Berceuse with sensitivity. Martin Cotton

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