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Adrian Corleonis
Fanfare, November 2010

Holger Groschopp’s four-CD box of Busoni transcriptions and arrangements is loaded with delicious novelties, and rarities to be found nowhere else—from Bach and Mozart to Goldmark and Cornelius—and the grandest take yet on Busoni’s transcription of the Liszt Fantasy and Fugue on Ad nos, ad salutarem undam.

Paul Turok
Turok’s Choice, November 2009

Busoni’s piano transcriptions of operas, symphonic and organ works were recorded by Holger Groschopp between 2000 and 2008. He is a fluent pianist with the massive chops needed to plow through the music. Busoni was an inventive composer as well as one of the great pianists of his time (1866–1924). His transcriptions, full of cleverly laid-out textures, are designed to get as much of the original in as possible. They are thick with notes! Over the four discs, they begin to sound the same, regardless of the music they are based on, hardly Groschopp’s fault. Included are wonderful pieces, like Grosse Fuge, based on Bach’s unfinished last fugue in The Art of the Fugue, that are as much original compositions as transcriptions. Among the most successful of the transcriptions are the six choral preludes by Brahms that make more sense for piano than on the original organ, his famous arrangement of Bach’s Chaconne (originally for solo violin) and a Schubert Overture in E Minor.

James Leonard, July 2009

It takes not only super-virtuoso technique to play Ferruccio Busoni’s piano transcriptions and paraphrases, but brains, soul, and especially guts, and pianist Holger Groschopp has everything it takes. For this four disc Capriccio set, Groschopp has recorded all of Busoni’s transcriptions and paraphrases, including seven that have never been recorded before. The familiar works are here—the Carmen Fantasy and the Chaconne transcription—along with less well know works—the Don Giovanni Serenade and the Magic Flute Chorale—and hitherto unknown works—the Fantasy on Goldmark’s Merlin and Mozart’s C minor Fugue. Groschopp has the speed, the dexterity and the strength to bring off the most technically difficult pieces, along with the intelligence, the character and the charisma to make the most interpretively difficult pieces compelling. Although there have been recordings of some of these works that go deeper than Groschopp’s (Michelangeli’s reading of the Chaconne, for instance, remains one of the marvels of recorded history), anyone interested in Busoni’s music will want to hear these recordings, especially in Capriccio’s clean but atmospheric digital sound.

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