S0148. ADOLF BUSCH: Sonata #3 in C for Violin Unaccompanied (Bach), recorded 18 May, 1942; ADOLF BUSCH, w.Fritz Busch Cond. NYPO: Concerto in D (Beethoven), recorded 9 Feb., 1942. (England) Biddulph 80211. Transfers by David Hermann. Long out-of-print, final copy! - 744718021123
“Adolf Busch, one of the great German violinists of the first half of the twentieth century, performed Beethoven's Violin Concerto more than 400 times during his career under such conductors as Walter, Furtwängler, and Klemperer. Yet this 1942 recording for Columbia with his brother Fritz conducting the New York Philharmonic is his only extant complete recording of the work (a live 1949 version exists albeit seriously marred by large gaps). The joke is that Busch himself rejected this recording for release: he objected to the producer having stood him on a box during the recording session, thereby putting him far closer to the microphone than the orchestra. But even with that caveat, this recording still deserves to be heard by anyone who loves Beethoven's concerto. For one thing, Busch's interpretation is among the noblest and most elevated ever recorded. His legato in the central Larghetto is lyricism of the highest order. For another thing, Busch's playing is among the clearest and cleanest ever recorded. His phrasing in the closing Rondo is lucidity of startling clarity. To top it off, Busch's cadenza in the opening Allegro is among the strangest yet most compelling ever recorded. Even in an era in which soloists routinely composed their own cadenzas, Busch's was particularly passionate and especially stringent. Although sounding as if from a great distance, Fritz Busch leads the NYP in a performance of complete commitment and unreserved support. The addition of Busch's objective but exalted 1942 recording of Bach's C major Sonata for solo violin fills out the disc with another superlative performance. The transfers by David Hermann are about as clean as any transfer from a 60-year-old source can be, and while it may deter those who can accept nothing less than the most perfect of digital sound, it will surely not impede the appreciation of anyone who already knows and loves Busch's playing.”
- James Leonard, allmusic.com
"These two important performances date from the years of Busch’s American exile. The Beethoven was never issued at the time, the violinist, perhaps uniquely for one of his breed, objecting that the recording had placed him too far forward, a result of faulty spatial separation (Busch was asked to stand raised on a box for the session).
There are tremendous qualities in the performance to which I respond with genuine admiration….It is in the Larghetto that he really illumines the performance. Few can match him for rapt intensity and concentratedness, inner light. No one was less likely to skim over the surface of the music here than Busch. The finale is not the tidiest of performances though it’s rugged and full of incidental interest (and a little bit of orchestral congestion). But Busch seems to gain here in elegance and eloquence as the movement develops and there’s assuredly much to admire. Busch plays his own – not entirely successful – cadenzas.
Coupled with the Beethoven is the Bach in a suitably powerful and human performance. He’s not always technically precise but the sense of arch and architecture is total. The Fuga is splendid and the Largo full of expressive depth whilst the final movement’s contours and terraced diminuendos bespeak Busch’s authority in Bach….The rewards are palpable."
- Jonathan Woolf, musicweb-international