WILLIAM BUSCH (1901 - 1945)
William Busch was born in that first decade of the twentieth century which also saw the birth of Tippett, Rawsthorne, Rubbra, Walton and Lambert. Initially envisaging a career as a pianist, he decided to concentrate on composition in his mid-thirties. At the outbreak of war in 1939 he was evacuated to Devon, where in 1945 he died of a brain haemorrhage. Overexertion in very cold weather was cited as the cause, although the symptoms could also imply an attack of meningitis.
In addition to being a committed pacifist, Busch was a shy, retiring individual who suffered from concert nerves and was unwilling to indulge in self-promotion. He left for Devon when his composing career was just beginning to develop, so found himself outside the musical mainstream at a time when a London presence would have been to his professional advantage. In 1944 a 78 r.p.m. recording of four of his songs was sponsored by the Committee for the Promotion of New Music (now the SPNM): but with this exception his slender output (which includes concertos, songs and chamber music) has remained almost totally forgotten, although the concertos for piano and for violoncello are currently available on CD.