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Alan Becker
American Record Guide, March 2018

Wolf Harden is now up to Volume 9 in his Busoni series. This one gives us early works composed between ages 11 and 15. As expected, they show the influence of Bach, Mozart, Weber, and Schumann. They are nothing to be ashamed of, and the composer displays plenty of technical skill, imagination, and humor.

Each is a gem, a delight to be savored from a composer who was to develop into a master of more complex extended forms. The notes are good, the sound excellent, and the pianism is perhaps the best this pianist has given us so far. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, February 2018

German pianist Wolf Harden, a native of Hamburg, does a bang-up job with the latest installment of his ongoing series of the piano music of Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924).

Harden’s robust, compelling performances make the best possible case for this composer. © 2018 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review



Stephen Barber
MusicWeb International, January 2018

Wolf Harden offers workmanlike pianism with a light touch, very necessary given the rather heavy piano writing throughout. Occasionally I fancied I detected a slight rhythmic uncertainty, understandable given that he must have much less experience with these works than with the later and greater Busoni. The recording, made in Wyastone Concert Hall, is excellent… © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Records International, October 2017

Seventeen years and a few months into this series we get a disc of early works, all composed when Busoni was between the ages of eleven and fifteen. Full of charm and wit, they reveal his precocious absorption of earlier models—principally Bach, Mozart, Weber and Schumann—as well as exceptional technical finesse. Una festa charts the day’s events of a village festival while Suite campestre, one of his most distinctive early compositions, possesses moments of inwardness that presage the mature works to come. © 2017 Records International



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2017

For the ninth volume of Naxos’s recording of the complete piano music of the Italian-born pianist and composer, Ferruccio Busoni, we return to his young years. He made his concert debut in 1874, at the age of eight, before moving to study in Germany where he spent most of the remaining years of his life. As a composer, we have his solo piano music from the age eleven to fifteen, the earliest, from 1877, coming with Cinq Pieces, a student exercise in the art of the Baroque. There is no sense of copying or imitation for there was already a deep understanding for the accepted form in a Preludio, Etude, Menuetto, Gavotta and Gigue. At this stage, he was as precocious as the young Mozart, the movements perfectly shaped. The following year we have the Racconti fantastici, the roots still in the Baroque but seen through the eyes of the Romantic era, each movement a picture story. From the same year came the Suite campestre, written while studying in Vienna, and here we take a massive leap forward to a series of five short but highly descriptive movements. Completed the following year, 1879, the Danze antiche, contain four dances from previous times, but now musically Busoni is very much in a modern era looking backwards. Finally the Una festa di villaggio, six rustic scenes composed in a style of the mid 19th century. Throughout the disc, he was composing in quite short pieces to construct a more substantial work. They do not make any call on the technique of the performer, Wolf Harden continuing his dedicated championing of the composer, his series already encompassing Busoni’s piano masterpieces. Very good sound from John Taylor in the UK. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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