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Busoni, Suk: Teatro Comunale di Bologna

About the Event

Ferruccio Busoni, an Italian with a strong connection to German intellectual culture, created music that combines both intellect and emotion. His compositions explore a blend of neoclassical tendencies and avant‐garde harmonies, breaking away from the exhausted language of Romanticism. The highlight of his repertoire is his colossal Piano Concerto, which can be compared to the grandeur of a Mahler symphony. With its five movements and final choral chorus, Busoni's Opus 39 sets the record for the lengthiest concerto for a solo instrument and orchestra. However, he skillfully merges the solo and tutti elements, eliminating the expected conflict found in the traditional romantic concerto. This results in a choral symphony with an obligatory piano part. The concerto made its debut in Berlin on November 10, 1904, conducted by Karl Muck with Busoni as the pianist. Busoni later performed the piece in his native Bologna in 1906, with Bruno Mugellini conducting. In 1915, Busoni would then take on the role of director at the Bologna Conservatory, a position he held for seven years.

Josef Suk, a influential musician in Bohemia from 1874 to 1935, was renowned as both a talented violinist and composer. He studied under Antonín Dvořák and married his daughter, Otilie. Suk was a member of the famous Bohemian Quartet and performed with them for four decades. While his music received regular acclaim in his homeland, it is recently being rediscovered thanks to the efforts of Kirill Petrenko, the current conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Petrenko has dedicated three recordings to Suk's work. One of Suk's notable compositions is the orchestral suite called "Pohádka," which serves as an abridged version of the stage music he wrote for Julius Zeyer's theatrical adaptation of the Slovak folktale "Radúz and Mahulena" in 1898. The suite is full of sweeping melodies and beautifully orchestrated original folk themes.

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