B0275. (BUSCH) Tully Potter. Adolf Busch, The Life of an Honest Musician. London, Toccata Press, 2010. 1423pp., in Two Volumes, plus Two CDs of recordings, 1922-80, partially Live Performances in transfers by Roger Beardsley, Bryan Crimp & Seth Winner; Indices; Bibliography; Exhaustive Discography; Busch the Composer: Commentaries and Worklist; Numerous Photos; DJ. - 9780907689508
“The words ‘magisterial’ and ‘monumental’ are no hyperbole as applied to this remarkable pair of volumes. There are few people alive today who know as much about the history of recordings and of the music (vocal and especially chamber) that they contain as does Scottish-born Tully Potter. His output of articles on 20th Century chamber groups alone is vast, but it pales before this publication. It has taken Potter 30 years of research to assemble the staggering quantity of information and documentation into a work of unchallengeable authority….
These volumes constitute a tremendous contribution to the literature on great musicians. It is hard to imagine anything matching them. Their price is pretty steep, but no one who ventures the investment will regret owning them. And no library with a serious music collection should be without them.”
- John W. Barker, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April, 2012
“Adolf Busch’s reputation today is primarily based upon his work as a chamber musician and as the leader of the famous Busch Quartet, whose recordings, especially of the Beethoven quartets, still remain benchmark performances. His solo career, teaching and composing are largely unrecognised nowadays, that is until now. Tully Potter brings over 30 years of research to bear on a monumental study, of a kind which few performer/composers have been granted before. There is a staggering amount of material here, with lavish use of quotation from a vast array of sources, and illustrated with many fascinating photographs, drawing greatly upon Potter’s renowned photographic archive….Potter is particularly strong in providing a vivid picture of the milieu in which Busch worked and, most valuably, is able to draw on many of his own personal conversations with people who knew Busch….Busch’s career as a chamber musician is well drawn and the evolution of the Busch Quartet is handled with skill and perception. It is also interesting to note how Busch’s work with larger chamber ensembles foreshadows many of the tendencies found in later period instrument performance, especially in terms of size of ensemble used….There is an enormous amount to fascinate here, and the importance of Busch as one of the most important German violinists of the twentieth century emerges clearly.”
- Donald Ellman, CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY, Winter, 2010
“Adolf Busch (1891-1952) was not only an all-round musician; he was also a moral beacon in troubled times. Now remembered as the first violin of the Busch String Quartet, which he founded in 1912, he was the greatest quartet-player of the last century and also the busiest solo violinist of the inter-War years, regularly performing the great concertos with such conductors as Toscanini, Walter, Furtwängler, Boult, Barbirolli and many others. He was, moreover, an outstanding composer whose works enjoyed performances both at home in Germany and further afield.
But at the peak of his popularity his profound sense of decency and his simple human dignity brought about a dramatic reversal in his fortunes. His courageous decision to boycott his native country from April 1933 - despite Hitler's efforts to persuade 'our German violinist' to return - drastically reduced his income and damaged his career as soloist and composer. In 1938, because of Mussolini's race laws, he imposed a similar boycott on Italy, where he had been one of the most popular of classical performers. The following year he emigrated with his quartet colleagues to the United States, where he was not fully appreciated, although he had many successes with his chamber orchestra and founded the Marlboro summer school.
This biography, based on more than thirty years' research, documents Busch's life, examining his exemplary behaviour in the context of the tumultuous period in which he lived. 'Adolf is a saint', declared Arturo Toscanini. And Sir Ernest Gombrich said of Busch: 'He was exactly as he played - there was not a false tone in him'.”