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Busoni - Piano Music

Ferruccio Dante Michelangelo Benvenuto Busoni (1866-1924) was born in Empoli, near Florence, Italy.
He was taught by his parents, who were both professional musicians, and made a sensational public debut as a pianist at the age of seven. After holding teaching posts in Helsinki, Moscow and Boston, he settled permanently in Berlin at the age of 28, continuing to travel widely as a performer.
Busoni’s important achievements as a composer were long over-shadowed by the fact that he was generally thought the greatest piano virtuoso after Liszt.
He also made his mark as a respected teacher of both piano playing and composition, and as an editor of Bach’s keyboard music. His thoughts on Bach’s music have been highly influential, although his editions weren’t exactly what we today would call authentic. In spite of his interest in baroque and classical music, Busoni was certainly no backward-looking composer. In his writings he proposes the use of microtonal scales and electronics, and in 1912 he produced his first work “without tonality”, the Second Sonatina. Busoni’s major keyboard work, Contrapuntal Fantasy, is based on the final, incomplete fugue from Bach’s Art of Fugue. It was first published in 1910, and later revised several times.
His Piano Concerto is one of the longest ever written, at least seventy minutes in performance, and makes use of a male choir. This preference for writing long and difficult works has not made Busoni a favourite in concert halls, but through his teaching he influenced 20th century music greatly.
Among his pupils were Kurt Weill, Edgard Varèse and Stefan Wolpe; John Cage and Morton Feldman are among the later composers who have acknowledged his importance.

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Total pieces by Busoni: 40

TitleASTKey Published Type Level
Contrapuntal Fantasy n/a 1912 Piece 8+
Fantasy after J. S. Bach F Minor 1909 Piece 8+

Bach: Chaconne for Violin (BWV 1004) D Minor 1897 Transcription 8+
Bach: Prelude & Fugue for Organ (BWV 532) D Major 1888 Transcription 8+
Bach: Prelude & Fugue for Organ (BWV 552) E-flat Major 1890 Transcription 8+
Bach: Toccata and Fugue for Organ (BWV 565) D Minor 1900 Transcription 8+
Bach: Toccata for Organ (BWV 564) C Major 1900 Transcription 8+
Bach: Chorale Prelude (BWV 667) No. 1C Major 1909 Transcription 8+
Bach: Chorale Prelude (BWV 645) No. 2E-flat Major 1909 Transcription 8+
Bach: Chorale Prelude (BWV 659) No. 3G Minor 1909 Transcription 8+
Bach: Chorale Prelude (BWV 734a) No. 4G Major 1909 Transcription 8+
Bach: Chorale Prelude (BWV 639) No. 5F Minor 1909 Transcription 8+
Bach: Chorale Prelude (BWV 617) No. 6A Minor 1909 Transcription 8+
Bach: Chorale Prelude A (BWV 637) No. 7A Minor 1909 Transcription 8+
Bach: Chorale Prelude B (BWV 705) No. 7D Minor 1909 Transcription 8+
Bach: Chorale Prelude (BWV 615) No. 8G Major 1909 Transcription 8+
Bach: Chorale Prelude (BWV 665) No. 9E Minor 1909 Transcription 8+

Six Pieces:
Schwermut Op. 33 No. 1n/a 1896 Piece 8
Frohsinn Op. 33 No. 2D Minor 1896 Piece 8
Scherzino Op. 33 No. 3C Major 1896 Piece 7
Fantasia in modo antico Op. 33 No. 4B Minor 1896 Piece 7
Finnish Ballade Op. 33 No. 5C Minor 1896 Piece 7
Exeunt omnes Op. 33 No. 6B Major 1896 Piece 7

Nach der Wendung No. 1n/a 1907 Piece 8+
All'Italia! (in modo napolitano No. 2n/a 1907 Piece 8+
Meine Seele bangt und hofft zu Dir No. 3n/a 1907 Piece 8
Turandots Frauengemach No. 4n/a 1907 Piece 8+
Die Nächtlichen No. 5n/a 1907 Piece 8
Ercheinung No. 6n/a 1907 Piece 8+
Berceuse No. 7n/a 1907 Piece 8

Indian Diary - Book 1:
Indian Diary No. 1n/a 1915 Study 7
Indian Diary No. 2n/a 1915 Study 8+
Indian Diary No. 3n/a 1915 Study 8+
Indian Diary No. 4n/a 1915 Study 8

Sonatina No. 1n/a 1910 Sonata 8
Sonatina No. 2n/a 1912 Sonata 8+
Sonatina No. 3n/a 1916 Sonata 7
Sonatina No. 4n/a 1917 Sonata 7
Sonatina No. 5n/a 1919 Sonata 8
Sonatina - Chamber Fantasy from the Opera Carmen by Bizet No. 6n/a 1920 Sonata 8

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