BUSCH Beethoven in the USA (1919-1950) - PASC618

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BUSCH Beethoven in the USA (1919-1950) - PASC618

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BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 1
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto - Live & Studio recordings
BEETHOVEN Egmont Overture
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 3 - Scherzo (bonus track)

Live and studio recordings, 1919-1950
Total duration: 2hr 28:56

Adolf Busch, violin
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Orchester des Württembergischen Landes-Theaters
(bonus track)
conducted by Fritz Busch

This set contains the following albums:

Fritz Busch was not was the public frequently calls a ‘recording artist’; the number of his studio recordings is strongly limited, and mostly he worked with recording companies long defunct. The current collection of all of Fritz Busch’s Beethoven recordings made in the United States of America contains but one studio recording, which was not published during Busch’s lifetime – the Violin Concerto recorded at the New York Liederkranz Hall one day after the two public concerts at the Carnegie Hall the previous days. Adolf Busch, the conductor’s brother and soloist of all three performances, disallowed a release due to the problematic balance between soloist and orchestra (and although his problem could not be bettered the overall result has been improved by Andrew Rose), which has however been frequently circulated since – in contrast to the live performance, which was released for the first time only in 2006, by Music & Arts. The Beethoven Concerto is one of the few occasions when we can hear the brothers performing together.

Busch had already been performing in New York from 1927; his last New York concert is here represented by a performance of the Fifth Symphony, which in the last movement is marred by some loss of several bars, which have here for the first time been re-inserted from another New York performance, from February 1950, under Bruno Walter. Busch’s only surviving Beethoven recording from the West coast is the Overture to Egmont, performed in three subscription concerts in Los Angeles in 1946, part of which was broadcast in the Standard Oil Radio Hour programme. (The complete New York and Los Angeles concerts recordings have been published by Guild Historical.)

Busch had bought a small house in Riverdale, New York, early in 1948, when he frequently conducted the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra and was music director of the Metropolitan Opera. While he appeared in several North American metropoles such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland or Boston only with the Metropolitan touring company, he was several times a guest conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in 1947 to 1950. The 1949 broadcast performance of Beethoven’s First Symphony, following a concert performance the previous evening and hitherto misdated in any publications, has suffered only limited circulation, here finding its proper place in Fritz Busch’s discography for the first time.

The bonus file in this collection is one of a total of nine surviving 78s sides recorded by Busch and the Orchester des Württembergischen Landes-Theaters probably in mid-1919. Busch had attained the position as music director in Stuttgart in 1918, as successor of Max von Schillings. The music recorded was largely by Mozart (five sides), Reger (three sides, extracts from the Mozart Variations), and the Beethoven scherzo. Another recording of the Beethoven (now the complete ‘Eroica’) was only to take place in 1950, when Busch went into the Remington recording studio in Vienna for some Beethoven, Haydn, and Brahms (for the Brahms cf. PASC570).

Jürgen Schaarwächter

BuschBrothersArchive in the Max-Reger-Institut, Karlsruhe

BUSCH conducts Beethoven in the USA


1. BEETHOVEN Egmont Overture, Op. 84  (9:02)
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Live concert performance, Alhambra High School Auditorium, Los Angeles, 10 March 1946

BEETHOVEN  Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61  (live)
2. 1st mvt. - Allegro ma non troppo  (21:53)
3. 2nd mvt. - Larghetto  (9:35)
4. 3rd mvt. - Rondo. Allegro  (9:22)
Adolf Busch violin
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
Live concert performance, Carnegie Hall, New York, 8 February 1942

BEETHOVEN  Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
5. 1st mvt. - Adagio molto - Allegro con brio  (8:28)
6. 2nd mvt. - Andante cantabile con moto  (6:46)
7. 3rd mvt. - Minuet. Allegro molto e vivace - Trio  (3:10)
8. 4th mvt. - Finale. Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace  (5:40)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Radio broadcast performance, Orchestra Hall, Chicago, 23 March 1949


BEETHOVEN  Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
1. 1st mvt. - Allegro con brio  (7:27)
2. 2nd mvt. - Andante con moto  (9:17)
3. 3rd mvt. - Scherzo. Allegro - Trio  (4:58)
4. 4th mvt. - Allegro  (8:29)
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
Live concert performance, Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 10 December 1950
[Missing section from a 13 February 1950  NYPSO recording conducted by Bruno Walter]

BEETHOVEN  Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61  (studio)
5. 1st mvt. - Allegro ma non troppo  (22:05)
6. 2nd mvt. - Larghetto  (9:30)
7. 3rd mvt. - Rondo. Allegro  (9:36)
Adolf Busch violin
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
Studio recording unapproved by Adolf Busch, Liederkranz Hall, New York, 9 February 1942

Bonus recording:
  Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 'Eroica'
8. 3rd mvt. - Scherzo. Allegro vivace  (3:39)
Orchester des Württembergischen Landes-Theaters
Studio recording, Stuttgart c.1919

Conducted by Fritz Busch

XR Remastered by  Andrew Rose
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Fritz Busch taken in 1950
Special thanks to Dr. Jürgen Schaarwächter
Produced in co-operation with the Max-Reger-Institut/BuschBrothersArchive, Karlsruhe, Germany

Total duration:  2hr 28:56
CD1: 73:56     CD2:  75:00

“From the very outset of last night’s Philharmonic Orchestra concert Fritz Busch, as guest conductor, proved that he knew exactly what he wanted to do, and how to get it done. He proved also that the doing was well worth while. His ways with Beethoven’s ‘Egmont’ overture [...] were enlivening, sometimes surprising, but never mannered. He accomplished unusual results by the legitimate process of putting all the notes to work. Crisp rhythmic figures emerged where too often there has been but a mulling of notes. Brasses were allowed to come into resplendent tone, and their sonority seemed to give balance and clarity to the orchestration. In both the overture and the symphony there was warm, forthright emotion, and the whole program made sense.”
(Patterson Greene, in the Los Angeles Examiner, 8 March 1946)

“Adolf Busch is identified with the Bee­thoven Concerto in the minds of many music-lovers and his interpretation of it is fortunately familiar to Philharmonic-Sym­phony audiences. After a somewhat tenta­tive beginning he soon got his teeth into the music and played superbly. Of especial interest was a new, and terrific, cadenza by himself. One wonders whether other violinists will have the temerity to attempt it, but it is so good that one hopes that Mr. Busch will publish it and give them the opportunity. In the slow movement, his tone grew warmer and more eloquent, and he played with that encompassing nobility of style which characterizes his conception of the whole work. All too often, the final rondo seems repetitious, but Mr. Busch played it with such animation that it posi­tively seemed too short.”
(S. in a New York newspaper, 8? February 1942)