Adolf Busch, Violin - Rudolf Serkin, Piano - Bach, Beethoven & Schumann (live, 1943 & 1946)
(Adolf Busch, Part I)
Many thanks to the person who brought the missing Beethoven movement to my attention (apparently, it was not converted to a flac file because the title was too long - and I unfortunately didn't notice). And my sincere apologies to all for the inconvenience. But, here it is again - this time WITH the missing movement (Track 06 - II. Tempo di menuetto, ma molto moderato e grazioso).
Bach - Sonata No. 3 in E major for Violin and Keyboard, BWV 1016 - Beethoven - Sonata No. 8 in G major, Op. 30, No. 3 - Schumann - Sonata No. 1 in A minor, Op. 105 - Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 121 - Adolf Busch, Violin / Rudolf Serkin, Piano (Live performances at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 1943 & 1946)
An LP set of the recordings of Adolf Busch was issued 1977 on the Columbia / Odyssey label. This set contained the first releases of live performances from Busch and pianist Rudolf Serkin in recitals held 1943 and 1946 at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Whether this material has been made available elsewhere since 1977 is unknown to me.
However, these recordings continue to be remarkable musical documents (plus - all things considered, their sound is more than acceptable when it comes to live recordings from this period). And when it comes to violin / piano duos - it's difficult to imagine a better pairing.
While all of these performances are quite wonderful, Busch's unique handling of the Schumann sonatas - especially Op. 121, a "difficult" work in many respects - reveals him as a master regarding the interpretation of the romantic literature - and of Schumann's music as a special case. Bush's approach to these two works (to touch upon only one aspect) is made even more powerful through his relative lack of dependence upon vibrato, bringing him closer to the performance practice of Schumann's era. The temptation exists to use the word "experiences" instead of "performances" to describe these two recordings. One comes away with the marked impression (whether actually the case or not) that Busch has succeeded in conveying precisely what Schumann had in mind. This is because Busch has fashioned performances which are totally convincing on the terms of the music alone. They stand as prime examples of performances made possible by total selflessness with regard to the composer's intent - exactly what Busch had to offer as an artist. This is also what Schumann's music in particular not only asks for - but finally demands above all else (and also probably one of the main reasons why there remain so few great interpreters of Schumann's music in general).
In his tribute to Busch (quoted in the recording notes) Yehudi Menuhin describes his colleague and former teacher as a "pure classicist"; but Menuhin doubtless meant this formulation in a somewhat broader sense than one simply designating an artist "specializing" in the "German classics":
"He was one of the most sincere musicians I know, with an integrity beyond reproach. He was fundamentally a pure classicist. He was all purpose, all devotion and service ....[He was] unbending in following the letter of the composer's intent...."
LP transfer of material issued 1977 (Columbia / Odyssey)
Covers and selected notes included.
Note: some basically unobtrusive, slight crackling noise may be occasionally heard (especially at the beginning of the Bach recording). This is not from the LP, but the original recordings (probably acetate discs), and therefore cannot be completely removed. Otherwise, the sound in all of these recordings - even though each possesses a different sound quality - is very clean and clear