Ferruccio Busoni is most widely known today as the composer of such works as the Second Violin Sonata, the incidental music for Gozzi's Turandot, and the most monumental piano concerto in the repertory (some eighty minutes long, with male chorus in the finale). But Busoni was also renowned in his day as an author and pedagogue and, most especially, as a pianist. Busoni's recordings of pieces by Chopin and Liszt--and of his own arrangements of keyboard works by Bach and Beethoven--are much prized and studied today by connoisseurs of piano playing. Yet even his most important biographers have cast only a cursory glance at the pianistic aspect of Busoni's fascinating career.
Grigory Kogan's book Busoni as Pianist (published in Russian in 1964, and here translated for the first time) was and remains the first and only study to concentrate exclusively on Busoni's contributions to the world of the piano. Busoni as Pianist summarizes reviews of Busoni's playing and his own writings on the subject. It also closely analyzes the surviving piano rolls and recordings, and examines Busoni's editions, arrangements, and pedagogical output. As such, it will be of interest to pianists, teachers and students of the piano, historians, and all who love piano music and the art of piano playing.
Grigory Kogan (1901-79) was a leading Soviet pianist and music critic. A conservatory professor at the age of twenty-one, Kogan created the first-ever course in Russia dealing with the history and theory of pianism. Through his brilliant lectures, his concert performances, and his many books, articles, and reviews, Kogan influenced an entire generation of Soviet pianists.
GREAT NEWS! Busoni as Pianist has been nominated for the Claude V. Palisca Award (for outstanding Translation of 2010) by the American Musicological Society!
NEW"...This book is a gem...don't overlook the Preface and copious footnotes. The information provided by translator Belsky about author Kogan and Soviet Russia is fascinating. Kudos to her not only for bringing Kogan's extraordinary book to our attention, but also for troubling to place its creation into the prober historical context."
--Catherine Kautsky, American Music Teacher, October/November 2011.
"... a 'must read' for serious pianists, piano pedagogues, scholars of performance practice, Busoni scholars, and anyone interested in the historical development of interpretive styles, schools , and trends." --Erinn E. Knyt, Notes, March 2011
--Music Media Monthly calls the translation "excellent" and recommends the book!
“Busoni's immense significance in the history of pianism, and the perceptive, illuminating observations of the late Grigory Kogan, make this volume a major addition to the existing literature on this fascinating, enigmatic musical personality. Svetlana Belsky's annotated translation is admirable."--Donald Manildi, curator, International Piano Archives, University of Maryland
"Illuminating, and brilliantly translated. Kogan's book sheds invaluable light on the life and career of a unique creative genius. Busoni's awe-inspiring artistry and personality are here described in riveting analytical detail. We are indebted to Svetlana Belsky for making this important work available in English, to the lasting benefit of students, scholars, and performers. ” --Ann Schein, noted concert pianist and educator
"This book is a treat for Busoni lovers in the English speaking world. The musical and technical examples plus fingerings demonstrate Busoni's autodidactic accomplishments in all their peculiarities. The reviews of his performances in Russia have to my knowledge never appeared before in any other published books or articles. As such they are an essential addition to this literature... if you're interested in the phenomenon that was Ferruccio Busoni, this should be in your library."
"...Svetlana Belsky's translation is spirited and stylish. Her efforts to document Kogan's sources provide valuable paths for additional research and reading.
For those not sufficiently aware of the oppressive hand of Soviet authorities on all forms of cultural expression, Belsky provides a valuable,
sobering introduction to the currents of Soviet culture during the first sixty years of the twentieth century."