Adolf Busch (1891–1952) enjoys a reputation as one of the greatest of all violinists: his recordings of Beethoven with the Busch Quartet have never been surpassed. But Busch was also one of the major composers of his day, equally natural as contrapuntist and melodist, with a style that owed much to his boyhood idol, Max Reger. Yet, always a man of principle, he sacrificed his career as both violinist and composer with his dignified refusal to perform or be performed in Nazi Germany. This second CD of his lyrical writing for clarinet, one in a series of recordings of Busch’s light-filled chamber music, is part of the rediscovery of one of the leading musicians of his day.
Bettina Beigelbeck, clarinet; Busch Kollegium Karlsruhe
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Catalogue No: TOCC0293EAN/UPC: 5060113442932Release Date: 03.07.2015Composer: Adolf Busch Artists: Bettina Beigelbeck,
Busch Kollegium Karlsruhe
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Jonathan Woolf :
… This second volume is sensibly programmed to give us more examples of his homely Hausmusik, a Divertimento, a major Clarinet Sonata and the Suite for solo clarinet, as well as a sequence of delightful Canons. The 1944 Divertimento is a genial six-movement affair for clarinet, oboe and cor anglais and shows a certain vaudevillian side to Busch’s nature … In fact humour is never far from the surface in a number of his chamber works and is a welcome element: there is no stern, Olympian mind at work here. Charming and witty throughout, the Scherzo, the penultimate movement, is the centre of gravity in terms of development. …
[The Clarinet Sonata of 1939:] The ethos is late-Brahmsian and the work is interestingly constructed with a brief scherzando surrounded by two quite imposing outer movements. There’s much lyricism to be encountered and increasingly in the finale a splendid quotient of loquacious humour. Melodic writing is generously parcelled out between the two instruments. A much earlier work is the 1926 Suite for solo clarinet, quite a demanding test of accuracy and breath control. The Prelude-like start echoes Bach, as often with this great Bachian, with some big leaps as well and following a quirky, comic chromatic Scherzo we reach the finale, the longest of the four movements. …
The Hausmusik Duet No.2 for violin and B flat clarinet is Mozartean, affectionately unpretentious, whilst the German Dances evoke the world of Schubert pithy, unceremonial, and charming.
The performances are uniformly fine and marry technical finesse with affectionate warmth. —Music Web International, August 2015
Lutz Lesle :
“Is there a chamber music by Adolf Busch? Indeed there is. The legendary violin virtuoso that was born in Siegen, Westphalia in 1981 and died in Vermont in 1952 was also a composer and even a highly professional one. This passionate player of Bach and an outstanding interpreter of Beethoven and Brahms was the world-wide violinist who founded the legendary Busch Quartet just after the First World War. …
The clarinetist Bettina Beigelbeck, Yasushi Ideue (violin) and Paula Valpola (violoncello) make the latter [German dances for clarinet, violin and cello, Op. 26c] so light and easy that you would like to play them right away. … The sonata [in A major for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 54] moves in the traditional horizon of the clarinet works of Brahms and Regers. The scherzo-like middle movement shows Busch from the whimsical side. The final set of variations is used for the design of the foreground. …
Also in the USA, where Busch lived since 1940, he won the friendship of Simeon Bellison. This soloist of the New York Philharmonic that emigrated from Russia and performed Mozart’s clarinet concerto with the Busch Quartet in 1944, inspired the Divertimento for Clarinet, Oboe and English horn Op. 62b in six movements. This time Bettina Beigelbeck with Antoine Cottinet (oboe) and Petar Hristov (English horn) make wonderful partners. Their joy of playing music with a witty humour (fourth movement) and a playful exuberance (fifth movement) has a rousing effect.” —Das Orchester, December 2015
James A. Altena :
“The major entry here, almost a half-hour in length, is the Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. … as with all of Busch’s works it remains firmly within a late Romantic stylistic ambit. It also shares the idiosyncratic feature common to many of Busch’s works of movements of highly unequal length and unconventional successions of tempos. (A man of high ideals and rigorous adherence to principles, Busch in crafting his music clearly said exactly what he thought he should say, and how he should say it, without regard to typical expectations.)… the two pieces of Hausmusik and the Divertimento provide charming diversions for entertainment. The six-movement Divertimento in particular is an absolute delight that ought to be standard concert fare… The performances here, by clarinetist Bettina Beigelbeck and her colleagues of the ad hoc Busch Kollegium Karlsruhe, are once again exemplary. … Toccata once again provides excellent recorded sound and detailed, informative booklet notes. As with its predecessor, this is enthusiastically recommended, and I look forward with a mixture of eager anticipation and impatience to successive items in this remarkable series.” —Fanfare Magazine, January/February 2016
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