F. Busoni, Wks. for Cello & Piano,
Doktor Faust - Leitner
Doktor Faust - Nagano
This neatly encompasses his two main musical influences in Bach and Liszt (although Busoni well explored the limits of tonality before settling on his intriguing 'neo-classicism' style) which shine through even in the echt-Busoni Suite which, though not a transcription, is illuminated by Bach, from the inside. Terribly charming in its melancholic, structured, and undeniably romantic way, it is rightly at the heart of this recording by the brothers Angelo (piano) and Francesco (cello) of the epomymous Duo Pepicelli. As should be expected, the piano carries its own throughout all of Busoni's cello works and the artists perform to the highest standards... even if there remains the desire to hear some of the works played by two fiery soloists together.
The Serenata is Busoni-Busoni - a work he transcribed himself from the last movement of his clarinet suite op.10. It's far from mature Busoni, but in the transcribed form it already hints at some of the delicious complexities with which Busoni achieved to contemporary baffle ears, even if today most would find these earlier ventures rather tame. Thankfully, tameness does not go to the discredit of a work if it manages to be quite so pleasing. To fill out the disc a little beyond the 50-some available minutes of Busoni for that genre, Naxos added Busoni's contemporary and compatriot Ottorino Respighi to the mix - with his early (and later transcribed for cello and orchestra) Adagio con variazioni. Just like all of the Busoni works on this disc, I should be delighted to find it sticking its head out of any Piano/Cello recital - perhaps as a little respite between one stern Beethoven sonata and another. Until that takes place, Naxos' recording will serve as a most pleasing stopgap.