Great Conductors – Fritz Busch

0 of 5 stars

Fritz Busch
Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Richard Strauss, Weber
Recorded 1936-51

Reviewed by: Bill Newman

Reviewed: August 2002
CD No: IMG Artists CZS 5 75103 2 (2 CDs)

I was travelling down on a ’48’ weekend pass by coach to London from Hereford during my RAF training in 1951. Looking forward to hearing the Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, I heard the radio announcement of conductor Fritz Busch’s passing. Erik Tuxen, Launy Grøndahl and Thomas Jensen assumed the responsibilities for the concerts ahead.

HMV ’Plum’ label 78rpm discs – EMI being far behind Decca in the LP stakes – were issued under Busch’s superb direction. He had brought the Danish Orchestra to the height of international excellence, and it is correct that Brahms’s Symphony No.2 (1947) and Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante be included here, excepting their release on other labels.

Live recordings of exceptional interest utilising the same forces provide the listener with examples of the conductor’s ’perfected’ mode of approach in well-tried repertoire: Beethoven’s Leonore II Overture, Mendelssohn’s ’Italian’ Symphony and Brahms’s Tragic Overture – all recorded in 1950 and offering a well-spring of fresh inspiration, moulded phrasing and superb response from the Danish players. Mozart’s ’Linz’ Symphony (1949) is also an advancement on the dim-sounding BBC Symphony version, while the 1948 Weber Der Freischütz overture is magnificent.

Strauss’s Don Juan with Beecham’s London Philharmonic is also a marvel of feathery-light articulated playing with its moments of perfectly judged drama.

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