Doktor Faust remained a fragment at the time of the composer's death. Busoni died in 1924, unable to complete what he himself described as his ''state masterpiece'' - an opera to which he had a deep personal attachment. The missing scenes from the score - the appearance of Helen and Faust's closing monologue - were completed by his pupil, Philipp Jarnach, whom Busoni had become acquainted with during his period in exile in Zürich. In this form the opera was given its first performance in Dresden in 1925. Then in the 1980s the conductor Anthony Beaumont came across previously undiscovered sketches by Busoni and produced a new version of Doktor Faust, which was premiered in Bologna in 1985. The current recording uses the Jarnach score.
The Piano Concerto in C major, Op. 39 (BV 247), by Ferruccio Busoni, is one of the largest works ever written in this genre. The concerto lasts around 70 minutes and is in five movements; in the final movement a male chorus sings words from the final scene of the verse drama Aladdin by Adam Oehlenschläger, who also wrote the words of one of the Danish national anthems.
Busoni’s opera, Doktor Faust is unquestionably one of the experimental operatic masterpieces of the twentieth-century. The composer wrote his own libretto and worked on the composition for nearly two decades, although it remained unfinished on his death in 1924. Doktor Faust was completed the following year by Busoni’s pupil, Philipp Jarnach.
Busoni (1 April 1866 – 27 July 1924) was an Italian composer, pianist, editor, writer, piano and composition teacher, and conductor. Most of Busoni's works are for the piano. Busoni's music is typically contrapuntally complex, with several melodic lines unwinding at once. Although his music is never entirely atonal in the Schoenbergian sense, his mature works, beginning with the Elegies, are often in indeterminate key…
‘Hamelin mastered its rising and falling cascades of scales, biting rhythms and thunderous textures as though he was Busoni himself’ (The Birmingham News, USA). Marc-André Hamelin is indisputably the king of Busoni pianists. He triumphantly masters the extraordinary technical difficulties and contrapuntal complexities this composer presents. This generously priced triple album offers most of Busoni’s mature works and the widest selection of pieces from the Klavierübung so far recorded, many of them for the first time.