Busoni: Die Brautwahl, Op. 45; Indianische Fantasie, Op. 44; Gesang vom Reigen der Geister, Op. 47; Lustspiel-Ouvertüre, Op. 38

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COMPOSERS: Busoni
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Busoni
WORKS: Die Brautwahl, Op. 45; Indianische Fantasie, Op. 44; Gesang vom Reigen der Geister, Op. 47; Lustspiel-Ouvertüre, Op. 38
PERFORMER: Nelson Goerner (piano); BBC Philharmonic/Neeme Järvi
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10302
The Indian Fantasy is Busoni’s attempt to base a virtuoso piano concerto around Native American melodies. It’s a curious concoction, with the harmonic simplicity of the folk tunes distinctly at odds with Busoni’s own Expressionist language. The two disparate elements are more convincingly integrated in the impressively austere Gesang vom Reigen der Geister (Song of the Spirit Dance) which forms the second Book of Busoni’s Indian Diary, and where the melody unfolds in the form of a broad chorale in stark octaves, against a densely chromatic backcloth.

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In compiling an orchestral suite out of his ETA Hoffmann opera, Die Brautwahl, Busoni forged its various dramatic strands into superbly scored symphonic movements. In these, as elsewhere, Neeme Järvi proves himself a sympathetic interpreter, and only the middle section of the exotic Jewish movement, which Busoni later took over into his virtuoso piano Toccata, hangs fire: the same passage is much more impetuous in Barenboim’s complete recording of the opera (Teldec). Nelson Goerner negotiates the hair-raisingly difficult piano part of the Indian Fantasy with apparent ease, and this strongly recdommended disc is completed with the scintillating Comedy Overture. Misha Donat