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#656045 - 11/30/07 10:03 PM Busoni's reproducing piano rolls
judith@USQ Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 1
Loc: Queensland, Australia

I'm a music researcher at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. Currently, I'm working on a project to locate and preserve reproducing piano rolls recorded by Ferruccio Busoni for Philipps DUCA. These rolls exist primarily in private collections and are proving to be most elusive. My intention is to photograph the rolls to ensure that the information contained on them survives into the future.

I'd be very appreciative of any information about the possible whereabouts of Busoni DUCA rolls. Any suggestions would be most welcome!

Many thanks,

#656046 - 12/01/07 05:24 AM Re: Busoni's reproducing piano rolls
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2726
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hello Judith,

I don't know about "Duca" rolls, but I can tell you about Busoni's Ampico rolls. There were 4 of his rolls from Ampico. According to the Obenchain Catalog of Ampico Rolls, his Ampico rolls were converted from Hupfeld rolls.

1. Ballade Op.23, No. 1, G minor Chopin, Roll # 50047M

2. "Dance of the Gnomes" No.2 Liszt, Roll # 51364M 431F (S-A)

3. Nocturne "Soirees Musicales De Rossini" No.10 Liszt, Roll # 62633H

4. Rigoletto Paraphrase Verdi-Liszt, Roll # 50676N, 681L (S-A)

The above information was taken from the Ellen Obenchain book, "The Complete Catalog of Ampico Reproducing Piano Rolls". The following information was taken from the Obenchain book as well:

Here was a truly monumental talent. Imbued with music from his earliest days by his clarinetist father and pianist mother, Busoni made his debut in Vienna at the age of eight and toured Italy at 17.

In 1890 he won the Rubinstein prize for composition and piano playing. He taught in many of the major cities of Europe as well as at New England Conservatory in Boston. Percy Grainger, only one of Busoni's many famous pupils, described his attributes in a 1921 Etude article, "Pianistically speaking, the range of his additions to keyboard technic, the uncanny infallibility of his manual precision, the scope of his inventivity and imagination as an arranger for the piano, outstrips anything I have witnessed by any other great virtuosi." Busoni toured the U.S. in 1909 and 1911 which prompted Ampico to release the earliest of his Hupfeld conversions. [/b]

Edward J. Dent said, ".....the louder Busoni played the more beautiful the sonority of his tone became." Composer Isidore Phillip observed, "There was something fairylike about his technique, a blend of audacity and delicacy of flexibility and the most thorough precision." Not content to bask in such adulation, Busoni busied himself with composing everything from short piano pieces to symphonies and operas. In addition he wrote works of Liszt. He really excelled, however, in performing his own piano arrangements of Bach's organ works.

After his death in 1924, Etude magazine said, "He will be best remembered for his devotion to the works of Bach of which he was the greatest transcriber and interpreter among pianists." And later: "The exquisite beauty with which he suffused his playing of Bach was unforgettable." Busoni's own advice on pianistic technique was given succinctly in a discussion with Phillip: "It is in the perfection of details that a great pianist is recognized."


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