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From Bach to Busoni: transcription as visionary process in Ferruccio Busoni's Fantasia Contrappuntistica Kingsbury, Brett Alexander 2006

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FROM BACH TO BUSONI: TRANSCRIPTION AS VISIONARY PROCESS IN FERRUCCIO BUSONI’S FANTASIA CONTRAPPUNTISTICA  by BRETT KINGSBURY B.Mus., The University of British Columbia, 2000 M.Mus., The University of British Columbia, 2002  A THESIS SUBMITTED 1N PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF MUSICAL ARTS  in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES  (Piano)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 2006 © Brett Kingsbury, 2006  ABSTRACT  This thesis begins with a historical synopsis of the compositional considerations and processes that inspired Busoni’s Fantasia Contrappuntistica. A meeting in Chicago with Bernhard Ziehn and Wilhelm Middelschulte provided the impetus for the composition of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica. At this meeting, Busoni was shown Ziehn’s solution to the uncompleted Fuga a 3 Soggetti from Bach’s Art ofFugue, as well as Ziehn’s novel compositional technique employing symmetrical inversion of harmonies. Busoni’s efforts following this meeting resulted in four different forms of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica which were published throughout the course of his career. The second section of the thesis surveys the overall structure of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica with reference to Busoni’s love of architecture and also to the architectural drawings he provided for the structure of the work. The remainder of the thesis explores some of Busoni’s aesthetic principles (as presented in his EnrwurfEiner Neuen Asthetik Der Tonkunst) and how they are realised in the Fantasia Contrappuntistica. Transcription is shown to be a broadly-defined process in Busoni’s thought, operating on many different levels in the realisation of musical works in general and of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica in particular. Transcription as a process is discussed largely with reference to Ziehn’s solution for completing Bach’s unfinished work. Ziehn’s concept of symmetrical inversion of harmony is also discussed, with reference to those sections of the Fantasia, such as the Chorale Prelude, Intermezzo, and Variations, in which Busoni is more composer than transcriber. These two compositional ideas, the completion and transcription of Bach’s work and the application of a new compositional technique, are linked in the thesis to the words Fantasia and Contrappuntistica respectively.  11  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract Table of Contents List of Tables List of Figures Acknowledgments Dedication  ii iii iv V  vi vii  SECTION § 1:  Introduction  1  SECTION §2:  Historical Background  3  SECTION §3: §3.1: §3.2: §3.3: §3.4: §3.5:  Busoni’s Architectonic Conception of the Fantasia The Chorale Prelude Fugues I through III The Intermezzo and Variations The Cadenza, Fugue IV, Corale and Stretta Overview  8 11 18 22 25 28  SECTION §4:  Compositional Influences  34  SECTION §5:  Busoni’s Aesthetics  44  SECTION §6: Two Aspects of Transcription: Fantasia and Contrappuntistica §6.1: Fantasia §6.2: Contrappuntistica  47 50 56  SECTION §7:  64  Concluding Remarks  WORKS CITED APPENDIX A: APPENDIX B:  66 List of Changes Made to the Fuga a 3 Soggetti Recital Programmes  111  68 74  LIST OF TABLES  Table 1:  Formal Components in the Chorale Prelude  13  Table 2:  Outline of the derivation of the Stretta from Contrapunctus XI from the Art of Fugue  57  iv  LIST OF FIGURES  Figure 1: Bernhard Ziebn’s combination of the four Art ofFugue subjects  5  Figure 2: Busoni’s architectural drawing for the frontispiece of the two-piano version of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica  10  Figure 3: mm. 184-185 of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica  18  Figure 4: mm. 585-588 of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica  24  Figure 5: Harmonic Sketch of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica  29  Figure 6: mm. 774-776 of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica  35  Figure 7: mm. 117-118 of Liszt’s Variations on “Weinen, Kiagen, Zorgen, Sagen”..39  v  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  This document would never have come into being without the support, encouragement, thoughtful comments and occasional prodding from a good many excellent persons. I would like to thank first of all the external examiner and university examiners who partook in the defense of this thesis, Dr. Jonathan Wisenthal, Dr. Gregory Butler and Professor Bruce Vogt. Their excellent questions and comments were extremely helpful in clarifying and polishing the ideas here presented. I would like also to thank especially Professor Jane Coop for her constant encouragement, kind assistance and helpful smiles which transformed seemingly impassable organizational quagmires into tiny bumps in the road. Also special thanks go to Dr. Sarah Buechner, a great apostle for the church of Busoni, by whose insightful comments and profound knowledge I was very fortunate to be enlightened. To Dr. Robert Silverman I am so profoundly in debt artistically that words fail me. His instruction and help over the years have changed everything, how I hear, how I think and especially how I work. If I can play the piano at all, it is in no small part his doing. Dr. Richard Kurth has been a great mentor, an even better friend and a superb example for me during the course of my degree. In writing this document, he has been supremely patient and understanding, a deep well of contemplation, a mental whetstone, constantly sharpening ideas and giving edge to their presentation. His contribution towards the preparation of this document is immense.. .it simply would not be without him. Finally, to Erika I express my deepest thanks and gratitude. She is for me the most honest of listeners, my best critic, and a constant help. It is a great delight to have travelled this road with her.  vi  DEDICATION  For Richard, Then he, ahead of me, entered the fire...” (Dante, Purgatorio, Canto XXVII, 46)  vii  §1 Introduction  Busoni’s first awareness of the work of J. S. Bach came at an early age, when his piano studies were overseen by his father. In the Epilogue to his edition of Bach’s keyboard works, Busoni writes a touching testimony of this early seminal encounter:  I have to thank my father for the good fortune that he kept me strictly to the study of Bach in my childhood and that in a time and in a country in which the master was rated little higher than a Carl Czerny. My father was a simple virtuoso on the clarinet  ...  he was a man of incomplete  musical education. How did such a man in his ambition for his son’s career hit upon the one 1 very thing that was right? I can only compare it to a mysterious revelation.  This Epilogue, written in August 1923 during the final year of Busoni’s life (he died on July 27,1924), testifies to the enduring engagement he maintained with Bach’s work. The central expression of Busoni’s interaction with Bach’s output is the seven-volume Bach-Busoni edition issued in 1920. The Fantasia Contrappuntistica was republished in two of its forms, the Edizione Definitiva and the Edizione Minore, in Volume IV of this series. The Bach-Busoni edition demonstrates the broad range of Busoni’s responses to Bach. It contains critical commentary on the works of Bach and the works of other composers; transcriptions; original works inspired by Bach; treatises on the technical aspects of transcription, the nature of fugue, and other topics; and works that blur the lines between some of these categories. The Fantasia Contrappuntistica is in this latter category: it is partly an original work inspired by Bach and  ‘As quoted in Larry Sitsky, Busoni and the Piano (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986), p. 180 and Edward J. Dent, Ferruccio Busoni: A Biography (London: Oxford University Press, 1933), p. 18.  partly a transcription of Bach’s own fugues. Bach’s and Busoni’s spirits become so intermingled that it is in some ways difficult to separate the two from each other without close awareness of their respective contributions. The Bach edition as a whole and the Fantasia in particular are testaments to Busoni’s intense imaginative encounter with Bach’s music, and to his vigorous and exuberant response. The richness and enormousness of this encounter demand that we reassess the image of Busoni as mainly a transcriber who churned out virtuosic Bach arrangements for the piano--an inaccurate image all too common during his lifetime--with a clearer understanding of the creative scope of his achievements. Two facets of Busoni’s attitude towards Bach are compactly expressed in a passage from the Sketch ofa New Esthetic ofMusic:  [Bach] had no reverence for his predecessors (although he esteemed and made use of them) the still novel acquisition of equal temperament opened a vista of--for the time being--endless new possibilities.  2  The aspects of Bach’s artistic process that Busoni holds up for inspection here are Bach’s unfettered attitude towards the use of the works of others--his own art was shaped by the transcriptions and study he made of his contemporaries and predecessors--and his determination to exploit the latest technical resources available. These two values are also at the heart of Busoni’s Fantasia Contrappuntistica, in which Bach’s own fugues encounter the harmonic idiom  2  Ferruccio Busoni, Sketch ofa New Esthetic ofMusic, trans. Dr. Theodore Baker, in Three Classics in the Aesthetics ofMusic (New York: Dover reprint edition, 1962), pg. 80. Baker’s translation originally appeared in 1911. All references to this work will maintain Baker’s spelling (“Esthetic”) in the title of the work. 2  and the pianistic techniques of Busoni’s era. It is the purpose of this document to show how Busoni modeled his own artistic thought on the attitudes he perceived in Bach, to examine the underlying aesthetic on which these attitudes are based, and to explore how these attitudes are manifested in the Fantasia Contrappuntistica.  §2 Historical Background  Before examining the Fantasia Contrappuntistica in detail, a brief account of the history of its composition and an outline of the piec&s formal architecture will be given. There are already several fine and detailed accounts of the compositional history of the Fantasia (by Anthony Beaumont, Larry Sitsky, Marc-André Roberge), as well as a number of good biographies of Busoni’s life (by Della Couling, H.H. Stuckenschmidt, and Edward Dent) that position the Fantasia in Busoni’s output. 3 The following historical account relies heavily on these sources and does not claim to add anything new to them. It provides a synopsis of ideas pertaining to the Fantasia that are presented more diffusely in these more broadly-focused volumes. At the end of 1909 and in January of 1910, Busoni was involved in preparations for his Bach edition. On the sea voyage to America for a concert tour, Busoni was studying the Art of Fugue and the unfinished Fuga a 3 Soggetti (BWV 1080/19) in particular. Busoni recorded in  3 A nthony Beaumont, Busoni the Composer (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985); Larry Sitsky, Busoni and the Piano (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986); Marc-André Roberge, “Ferruccio Busoni, His Chicago Friends, and Frederick Stock’s Transcription for Large Orchestra and Organ of the ‘Fantasia contrappuntistica’,” The Musical Quarterly 80/2 (Summer 1996): 302-331; Della Couling, Ferruccio Busoni: “A Musical Ishmael” (Lanham, Md.: The Scarecrow Press, 2005); H. H. Stuckenschmidt, Ferruccio Busoni: Chronicle ofa European (London: Calder and Boyers, 1970. [German original, 1967]; Edward Dent, Ferruccio Busoni: A Biography (London: Oxford University Press, 1933). 3  his notebook an idea for a composition that would consist of a set of variations based on the first fourteen contrapunctae, followed by a completion of the unfinished Fuga a 3 Soggetti, and preceded by a prelude based on the chorale Wenn wir in die hOchsten NOten, which had been printed at the end of the original edition of the Art ofFugue. In his notes, however, Busoni describes this chorale as “dubious” (although he does not specify in which sense), and he did not use it for the eventual composition that would soon emerge from this first idea. 4 This compositional seed germinated immediately after Busoni’s meeting, two weeks later in Chicago, with the theorist and composer Bernhard Ziehn and his student the organist Wilhelm Middelschulte (to whom Busoni would later dedicate the first and second versions of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica). This meeting was highly stimulating for Busoni--who was likely not looking forward to another grueling concert tour and long periods away from his family--and the discussion centred on the completion of the Fuga a 3 Soggetti and on a new compositional device with which Ziehn was experimenting. Ziehn introduced Busoni to the ideas about symmetrical inversion he was developing at the time. The fruits of Ziehn’s researches into symmetrical inversion would be published in 1912 in his Canonical Studies. 5 The details of this device will be discussed in some detail later, in connection with the Fantasia. Ziehn believed that the Fuga a 3 Soggetti was likely intended by Bach to be completed by writing a final fourth, quadruple fugue in which the three fugue subjects would be combined with the principal Art of Fugue subject, and he showed Busoni his solution for combining these four subjects. Busoni later acknowledged his debt to Ziehn for this idea in the first edition of the prototype for the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, which appeared under the title Grosse Fuge. It is difficult to argue  Beaumont, Busoni the Composer, p. 161 Bernhard Ziehn, Canonic Studies (London: Kahn & Averill, 1976). 4  _________  ________  with the ingenious way in which the four fugue subjects mesh together in Ziehn’s solution, which is shown inFigure 1.  Figure 1. Bernhard Ziehn’s combination of the four Art ofFugue subjects. .  A  JJ  rJ  k-  r.  trrrr  9: —  ‘P  Busoni’s imagination was obviously sparked by Ziehn’s ideas, and he later wrote an article about Ziehn and Middelschulte entitled “The Gothics of Chicago, Illinois” which was published in Signale fur das Musikalische Welt. 6 He took with him sketches that Ziehn had made, and began working out some uses of Ziehn’s new compositional tool. 1  Busoni worked on his new composition while on the concert tour, and a complete work soon took shape. By March 1; 1910, in New Orleans, the Grosse Fuge was finished. In a letter from Cincinnati on February 19, 1910, Busoni told his wife that he had abandoned the idea of prefacing this first version with a fantasia introduction (presumably based on the “dubious” chorale). The Grosse Fuge consists of an extremely brief introduction (rising fifths D-A repeated three times), followed by a transcription of the Fuga a 3 Soggetti involving substantial alterations to the original score. Busoni fmished Bach’s fragment with his own substantial development of  Ferruccio Busoni, “Die ‘Gotiker’ von Chicago, Illinois,” Signale für die Musikalische Welt, LXVIII/14: 6/4/10. 5  the three fugue subjects. There follows an intermezzo, three variations, a cadenza, a fourth fugue based on the solution Ziehn had shown him, and finally a stretta finale. The Grosse Fuge constitutes the bulk of what would eventually become the Fantasia Contrappuntistica. Six weeks after completing the Grosse Fuge, Busoni had “a beautiful idea on the train  ...  I  thought I would arrange the great fugue for orchestra. Transcribe the choral prelude (Meine Seele bangt und hoffi zu Dir) as an introduction to it and let it recur as a reminiscence just before the stretta in the Fugue.” 7 Busoni never did orchestrate the Grosse Fuge or the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, but during his lifetime the conductor Frederick Stock made a transcription for orchestra of the Fantasia. 8 Although Busoni had dropped the idea of writing a prelude based on the “dubious” chorale from the Art ofFugue, he realised that he had a ready-made chorale prelude in the form of his third Elegy, subtitled Meine Seele bangt und hoffi zu Dir, which he had first published in 1907. Busoni grafted this Elegy onto the beginning and end of the Grosse Fuge a few weeks later, in June 1910. Busoni also made some changes to the Elegy, which will be discussed later. In this form, Busoni published his work with the daunting title Fantasia Contrappuntistica--Edizione Dejmnitiva: Preludio al Corale “Gloria al Signore nei Cieli” e Fuga a quattro soggetti obbligati sopra unframmento di Bach. It was in this version that Busoni premiered the Fantasia Contrappuntistica on September 30, 1910 at the Musikhochschule in 9 It is this version which will be the focus of the thesis, for several reasons. First, it is by Basle. far the most recorded and published solo version of the piece. Second, Busoni was sufficiently  Letter to his wife, Denver, April 18, 1910; in Rosamond Ley (trans.). Ferruccio Busoni: Letters to his Wife (New York: Da Capo Press, 1975), p. 175. There is an excellent account of Stock’s orchestration in Marc-André Roberge, “Ferruccio Busoni, His Chicago Friends, and Frederick Stock’s Transcription for Large Orchestra and Organ of the ‘Fantasia contrappuntistica’,” The Musical Quarterly 80/2 (Summer 1996): 302-331. Beaumont, Busoni the Composer, p. 160. 9 6  satisfied with it to premiere it and play it numerous times. And third, although it is not the final version, the fact that it is marked as Edizione Definitiva suggests that it represented for Busoni a key stage in his development of the piece--a stage that rewards detailed examination. There exist two other versions of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica by Busoni. They are the Edizione Minore of 1912 and the version for two pianos of 1921. The Edizione Minore is described by Busoni as a work for study and not performance: “The present smaller Edition is intended more for pianoforte study than for performance at concerts.” 0 This edition replaces the Elegy as a prelude with new variations on the same chorale tune. The Edizione Definitiva had made cuts made in Fugues 1, 2 and 3, and additions in these and other fugues; the Edizione Minore restores the cut original material and removes most of Busoni’s transcriptional additions. The Intermezzo and Variations are cut completely and the fourth fugue and stretta are simplified and laid bare in a sort of musical anatomy lesson. The main interest in the Edizione Minore lies in the new chorale prelude which comprises three completely new variations of the chorale that inspired the third Elegy. In the final version of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, written in 1921 for two pianos, these new variations of the chorale melody were combined with the older third Elegy to create an expanded prelude. Composed at the suggestion of the pianist Frida Kwast-Hodapp for use by her husband and herself, the two-piano version thus reworks the opening prelude completely by amalgamating the 1910 and 1912 versions. Busoni also made substantial cuts to the first fugue, cut about 15 measures from the third fugue, and cut the fourth fugue so that it is shorter than in the 1910 version. Larry Sitsky feels that Busoni’s insecurities over the length of the piece, particularly regarding the first and fourth fugues, caused him to make cuts to the two-piano  the Preface to the Edizione Minore; quoted from Sitsky, Busoni and the Piano, p 150. 7  version and also to some extent to the 1910 version which cause them to misfire. ’ Before 1 discussing the aesthetic success of the 1910 Edizione Definitiva, it will be helpful to get a more detailed perspective on its construction.  §3 Busoni’s Architectonic Conception of the Fantasia  Architecture was a source of much interest to Busoni. Egon Petri, Busoni’s student and close friend, used to say that Busoni could have been a great architect.’ 2 For both his 1904 Piano Concerto and the 1921 two-piano version of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, Busoni made architectural drawings to be used as frontispieces for the scores. The drawing for the Piano Concerto shows three edifices: a Greek-inspired temple; a central building with Egyptian and Masonic motifs, housing a torch and fronted by a sphinx; and a tomb, guarded by something between a Seraph and an Egyptian god. Lush gardens separate the buildings: the first has an exotic bird propelling itself upwards, and the second opens a vista to an erupting volcano in the distance. It is clear that Busoni’s drawing aims to express and symbolize something of the overall form and character of the five movements of his concerto. The volatility, rich inventiveness, and Mediterranean character of the melodic second and fourth movements are admirably represented by paradisal gardens. The first, third, and fifth movements, more austere and more composed (in every sense), are aptly depicted as temple-like edifices, each housing its own mysteries. For the two-piano version of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, Busoni used a single  Sitsky, Busoni and the Piano, p. 148. 12 Ibid., p. 152. 8  structure to represent its formal principle. This architectural drawing, shown in Figure 2 on the following page, also aptly expresses the formal outline of the 1910 Edizione Definitiva, even 13 According though Busoni made some changes in interior detail for the 1920 two-piano version. to Busoni, the overall architectural design for this drawing was inspired by the Papal palace at 14 Beaumont suggests that the Palais des Papes, which was a refuge for the Popes from Avignon. the violence and chaos of Rome, serves as a metaphor for the Fantasia in both its function as a 15 Busoni said musical refuge from the chaos of the age and also in its superhuman proportions. that the Fantasia was his most important work for the piano, with the exception of his Piano 16 Concerto.  In letters to Egon Petri, Busoni referred to his concerto as the “Skyscraper  17 Concerto,” making reference to another architectural structure of superhuman proportions. The Papal palace also serves as a metaphor for the spiritual function and spatiality of the Fantasia. The art of transcription was viewed by Busoni as a quasi-mystical artistic act of the highest order, in a way that sets him apart from his musical contemporaries, and it is embodied in the Fantasia in much the same way that the Papal palace at Avignon represents a historical schism in the Catholic church. Busoni’s drawing has little to do with the Palais des Papes in terms of proportions, but resembles it in the detailing of the arches and the use of larger towers as imposing masses that break up the uniformity of the façade. The relative sizes of the numbered areas of the drawing do not correspond to the relative temporal lengths of the Fantasia’s components. Busoni seems instead to be suggesting that the interior formal boundaries of the  13  For a description of the changes, see Ibid., pp. 152-155. Ibid., p. 161, footnote 18. Beaumont, Busoni the Composer, p. 174. 15 Rosamond Ley (trans.), Ferruccio Busoni: Letters to His 6 ‘ p. 156. Beaumont (ed. and trans.), Ferruccio Busoni: Selected Letters (London: Faber and Faber, 19W7),p. 174. 9  Figure 2. Busoni’s architectural drawing for the frontispiece of the two-piano version of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica  Plan des Werkes .,..  r  Analytischer:  Ubergang) Choral und Variationen Choral Variationen (Einleitung 2. Fuga I. 3. Fuga II. 4.. Fuga III. 5. Intermezzo. 6. Variatio I. 7. Variatio II. 12. Stretta, 11, Corale. .10. Fuga IV. 8. Variatio III. 9. Cadenza. .  -  —  —  B. Architektonischer:  10  Fantasia Contrappuntistica divide it into a series of musical spaces of differing architectural characters. Since the expansiveness of the impression we receive from a room has little to do with the amount of time we spend in it, the proportions in Busoni’s drawing perhaps represent the character and spatiality of each section relative to the others. The three artistic manifestations, in different media--the Fantasia itself, the idealized architectural graphic representation of the piece, and the Papal palace--are all transcriptions of a single “feeling,” as Busoni would call it. This layering of sensations in different media is very typical of Busoni’ s manner of thinking. There are twelve sections in total in the architectural plan of the Fantasia and their presentation suggests to the eye possible larger groupings among those twelve. It will be profitable to return to this idea after surveying in detail the musical components of the work. The architectural drawing represents the compartmentalized structure of the Fantasia. Beaumont points out that assembling the work in this way had practical compositional advantages for Busoni, who was writing the work while on tour: “By dividing the great fugue into ‘chapters,’ he devised a rapid and economical way of working.” 8  §3.1 The Chorale Prelude  The first “chapter” of the Fantasia is the “Choral Variations” as they are referred to in the drawing. In the 1910 Edizione Definitiva, Busoni calls this section “Preludio corale,” and here it will be consistently referred to as the Chorale Prelude. Busoni’s drawing further divides this first “chapter” into 3 parts, the introduction (Einleitung), the choral variations, and a bridge  8  Beaumont, Busoni the Composer, p. 169. 11  (Ubergang) leading to the ensuing fugues. These subsections correspond with mm. 1-23, mm. 24-183, and mm. 184-203 respectively. The Chorale Prelude is based on Busoni’s Elegy No. 3 (1907), which he subtitled Meine Seele bangt und hoffi zu Dir. Despite the subtitle, the chorale tune on which its variations are based is Allein Gott in der HOh sei ehr, which Bach set numerous times, mostly in his own chorale preludes for organ. When Busoni first wrote this elegy, it represented for him a further consolidation of his style and another step towards the music he envisioned for the future. There is some question as to what inspired Busoni’ s subtitle for the piece. It has been suggested the Psalms were an influence. 19 Sitsky simply suggests that the title is Busoni’s own and doesn’t attempt to account for it further. ° Beaumont suggests the German subtitle makes reference to 2 Busoni’s hopes for the music of the future and his fears at making the attempt. 21 Certainly the score is filled with markings that suppoert such a claim, particulary the part concerning fears: “angstlich,” “flehend,” “ansioso,” and “in hochster Angst” (this last indication appears only in the original version of the Elegy). Busoni also wrote on the manuscript of the Elegy the words “Angst und Glauben” (fear and belief). 22 The performer who is aware that this dichotomy of feeling is inherent in the work will be able to characterize the phrase structure more appropriately, as will be demonstrated in the following account. The table on the following page presents an overview of the Chorale Prelude’s architecture. The introduction (Einleitung) is divided into two sections: the first half runs from mm. 1-13 and the second from mm. 14-22. Measures 1-6 consist of three two-note figures (in  Roberge, “Ferruccio Busoni, His Chicago Friends, and Frederick Stock’s Transcription for Large Orchestra and Organ of the ‘Fantasia contrappuntistica’,” p. 304. 20 Sitsky, Busoni and the Piano, pp. 14 1-2. 21 Beaumont, Busoni the Composer, p. 102. 22 Ibid., p. 102. 12  Table 1. Formal Components in the Chorale Prelude  Section  Length! Measures  Comments  Introduction (Einleitung)  22 = mm. 1-22  Variation 1  19 = mm. 23-41  First Episode  10 = nmi 42-51  Two subsections: A = mm. 1-13; B = mm. 14-22; cadence in Eb major at m. 22 Variation based on the Chorale tune “Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr” in registrally-layered three part texture. Two subsections: A = mm. 23 -33 (A Lydian over Eb pedal); B = mm. 35-41; cadence in Eb at m. 41 Based on B material ofthe Introduction, this time closing on Ab in bass  Variation 2  27 = nmi. 52-78  Second Episode  25 = mm. 79-103  Variation 3  20 = mm. 104-123  Third Episode  23 = mm. 124-146  Closing section  38  Transition (Ubergang)  20=mm. 184-203  --  This variation also in registrally-layered three-part texture but with principal voice in the middle register and highly chromatic tremolo figures in the highest register; the structure is similar to Variation 1: A = mm. 52-65; B = mm. 66-73 extended cadence closing on Gmajor, mm. 73-78 This episode is a quasi-variation with incomplete statements of the Chorale tune, chromatically altered, at mm. 83-84 and 93-98; cadences in A minor Variation in registrally layered 3 part texture with the Chorale tune appearing in the middle voice in single notes, the lower register has triplet octaves on beats 2 and 3, the upper register has repeated chords on beats 1 and 4; initially cadences falsely in F major in mm. 116 and 118 but then closes on a D major chord in first inversion in m. 123 Development ofthe first four notes ofthe Chorale tune in the middle part of a three part texture, supported by pedal Bb’s in the bass and ornamented with different scalar modes presented as arpeggios in thirds in the higher Another quasi-variation, this time based on the first eight notes of the Chorale tune; texture reminiscent of Liszt’s “Un Sospiro,” surprise modulation up from F major to Gmajor in m. 154; Section closes in Gmajor Bass line is built fromthe subject of Fugue I; upper voices are constructed from the intervals ofthe chorale tune and various forms of BACH or quasi-BACH figures; ends on a strong dominant A in D minor which is not resolved until five bars into the fugue at the close of the first subject.  mm. 146-183  13  octaves), each spanning a progressively larger interval: ascending minor third, then descending perfect fifth, then ascending octave. These figures are presented in octaves in both hands, and seem to make an affirmative expression of faith, with an appropriately monumental sense of G Dorian modality. (The right-hand octaves are simultaneous, while the left-hand octaves are set as thirty-second note tremolos.) Measures 7-13, on the other hand, express uncertainty. The left and right hands are each still in octaves, but the left hand (still tremolo) no longer duplicates the right-hand pitches; instead, it echoes the right hand at changing intervals, creating a sense of constant melodic and harmonic reinterpretation. The right-hand intervalsalso progress differently in this segment: instead of consistently expanding as before, they first expand but then contract and tentatively settle on A, perceived here as the fifth of the dominant D. The left-hand tremolos cause us to question whether D is actually a dominant, because they waver alternately between D major and D minor harmonies in mm. 11-13. Thus, if mm. 1-6 seem to be a positive affirmation of faith, then measures 7-13 in contrast are more permeated by Angst and uncertainty. Moreover, they lead into the triple meter and new rhythms of the ‘pauroso” music at m. 14. In a reversal of the emotions expressed in the first half of the introduction, the first four measures of the second half begin with fear. In the pauroso section itself, in mm. 14-17, the left-hand octaves undulate chromatically between the tritone poles Eb and A, which will each be differently manifested in the ensuing chorale variations proper. The chromatically ascending lines in thirds in the right hand of mm. 13-17 reinforce a feeling of dread, in part through the Ab minor sonorities that are suggested at the end of each slur. To complete the mirror image of the emotions in the first half, the second half ends more hopefully. Eb is strongly reinforced by the cadence in mm. 22-23, and by the repeated right-hand figures in mm. 18-19 and 20-21, which develop out of the two-note figures in mm. 1-13, and which here present (in displaced hemiola rhythm) a harmonic motion  14  from tonic to dominant in Eb major. These right-hand figures also highlight, through the use of tenuto markings, a setting of the stepwise ascent through a third (Bb-C-D, mm. 18-19) that is characteristic of all the fugue subjects and also the chorale theme. The first statement of the chorale tune Al/em Gott in der HOh sei ehr, in mm. 24-4 1, has something of the character of a variation, since it is based on a Bach chorale, but in this context it seems also like an initial statement of a theme. The fact that Busoni has labelled this piece as a Chorale Prelude suggests that he expected his audience to know that it was based on a pre existing chorale; consequently, this initial statement will henceforth be referred to as the first variation in this document. The first phrase of this variation begins strongly, in the right hand at least, with a version of the chorale tune that presents a bright and hopeful A Lydian modality in triadic organum. But the phrase gradually decays into the chromatic sighs of mm. 30-33, and the whole right-hand Lydian modality is also subverted by the Eb pedal tone beneath the entire passage. In mm. 36-41, a new sense of positive closure is achieved as the pedal Eb is reaffirmed by the right-hand cadential figure which closes agreeably in Eb major. But even this closure is partially subverted by the repeated descending D-C-B-Bb octaves in the left hand (over the Eb pedal), which create a sense that dominant harmony (rather than tonic) is being prolonged here, and which can be heard as the partially-liquidated residue of the chromatic undulation between Eb and A that opened the pauroso section (m. 14). It is tempting to associate the multi-layered texture and strongly whole tone flavor of the harmonies in this passage with Debussy’s work of around the same time. This is perhaps a misleading connection to make for reasons that will be addressed in the section of this document pertaining to Busoni’s influences. Busoni’s use of whole-tone language is much more likely to have been developed with an ear turned towards Liszt’s whole-tone idiom than any  15  of Busoni’s French contemporaries, whom he generally dismissed as being too restricted in their harmonic language. 23 Also the organ-like texture of this passage is very likely to have been influenced by the works of the quintessential composer-organist of the day, César Franck. At m. 42, material from the introduction is restated and developed into a modulatory episode that leads to Variation 2 at m. 53. The end of Variation 2 is expanded until it settles chromatically through a Neapolitan cadential figure onto G major at m. 73. The rising third G-B, derived from the first two notes of the chorale theme, is repeated three times leading into the second episode. This episode looks deceptively like another variation since it is filled with chorale-prelude-style development of the first half of the material which made up the first two variations (mm. 24-31, first note). These quasi-variations are interspersed with repetitions of the rising thirds of the chorale theme until Variation 3 begins. Variation 3 runs from mm. 104-123 with an extension similar but not identical to that of mm. 71-73. From mm. 124-146, there is a third modulatory episode which focuses on the first four notes of the chorale. Beginning at m. 146 is a final quasi-variation which works with the first eight notes of the chorale tune and the minor-third sighs featured earlier in mm. 79-82. The large-scale structure of the Chorale Prelude projects an opposition between chromatic uncertainty and diatonic hopefulness. Beginning at m. 79 and moving through to m. 146, there is a gradual increase in chromatic tension, climaxing with the presentation of the chorale theme at mm. 104-113, which begins diatonically (in A Aeolian), but soon gives way to chromatic influences from the accompanying textures above and below the tune. A kaleidoscope of third based harmonies ensues in the Presto section of mm. 124-145, which through their chromatic  23  For Busoni’s comments on Debussy’s use of the whole-tone scale, see Ferruccio Busoni, The Essence ofMusic and Other Papers, trans. Rosamond Ley (London: Rockliff, 1957), p. 24. 16  meanderings and exploration of increasingly high registers, heighten a sense of uncertainty and searching until the music falls to the repose of m. 146, and moves into alla breve. At m. 146 begins a final quasi-variation which develops the first eight notes of the chorale tune and the minor-third sighs which featured in mm. 79-82. In this quasi-variation, Busoni adopts a texture similar to the etude “Un Sospiro” by Liszt. The technical difficulties of this section are happily resolved here by the hand-crossing technique on which “Un Sospiro” is based, making for a kind of physical quotation. The sense of release which the music creates here makes the reference to “Un Sospiro” particularly relevant. Also, the melodic shape of the first phrase in “Un Sospiro” is remarkably similar to that of the chorale tune on which the variations of the Chorale Prelude are based. In m. 163, the rising and falling third figure is marked gemendo (groaning) and further sigh-like motives are presented in mm. 179 and 180 in B major/minor chords over the closing G chords of the choral variations. A potential referential framework for all of this sighing and groaning will be suggested later (in Section §6.1, under the heading “Fantasia”). The Ubergang (transition) from the Chorale Prelude to the fugues is based on a statement of the subject of the first fugue. The opening D-A of the fugue subject is repeated twice in the bass. The second repetition of D-A continues with an ornamented version of the first subject which stops on the dominant A (mm. 195-20 1) and is not resolved until the completion of the first fugue subject in Fugue I. By not allowing the transition section to resolve harmonically until after the material of Fugue I has already begun, the listener is led smoothly from Busoni’s material in the Chorale Prelude into the transcription of Bach’s material in the first fugue. The reference to the subject of Fugue I in the bass of the transition subtly hints at the coming material and helps to make clear that the music between mm. 184-203 is heading towards a new larger section. The upper voices of the Ubergang are ingeniously constructed to make reference to the  17  _____________ chorale theme and also to foreshadow some of the material from later in the piece.  Figure 3. mm. 184-185 of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica.  A  (  I  zzzz FA V• 11 -.  —  ii  I  —‘-—-  fT I T’  I7  ‘J  \  &h.  j.  I  4I  -  I  —  —  I  mf/  Figure 3 shows the first two bars of the Ubergang. In the upper voice in the right hand, the notes A-F#-E-D are presented in an inversion of the first four notes of the chorale theme. The repeated E-E-D is a motive used later, particularly in the variations of the Intermezzo (e.g. mm. 62 1-3, at the beginning of Variation 2) and in Fugue IV (e.g. mm. 742-4, upper voice). The motives E-D F-E and G-F#-A-G are very similar in contour to B-A-C-H, the theme of Fugue III. At m. 195, in announcement of the upcoming material from the Art ofFugue, the B-A-C-H motive begins to dominate the texture until the end of the Ubergang and the beginning of Fugue I. The two directions in which the musicof the transition points the listener, backwards in time towards the music of the chorale theme and also forwards in time towards the music of the coming fugues, help to smooth out the transition section and provide time for the listener to adapt to the stylistic change which is coming up in the fugues.  §3.2 Fugues I through III  The first three fugues, up to m. 431 in Fugue III, are a transcription, with some additions and 18  alterations, of the unfinished Fuga a 3 Soggetti from The Art ofFugue, and together constitute a larger architectonic unit in the work. (Each fugue is devoted to one of three subjects, with the famous B-A-C-H motto appearing as the incipit of the subject for Fugue III.) The alterations made by Busoni to this section of the piece are discussed later in the section entitled “Fantasia” (Section §6.1) and are also listed in detail in the Appendix. Busoni’s continuation and completion of Fugue III, from m. 432 onward, gradually introduces and develops his own voice, and employs the new techniques introduced to him by Bernhard Ziehn. Busoni closes Fugue III with a grand climax that deploys all three subjects simultaneously. Busoni’s markings suggest that he wished Fugue Ito be interpreted in a fairly subdued manner. Except for the initial entry of the subject--in octaves, fortissimo, and marked con molto importanza e sostenutissimo--the only markings to indicate dynamics are piano, pianissimo, and, perhaps most surprisingly, sotto voce at the point of the final entry of the subject in octaves in the bass (m. 303). This final sotto voce is surprising since the texture and registration of mm. 303312 naturally suggest a substantial amount of sound. Although it is not necessary to play the entire fugue in a soft dynamic, it does seem likely that Busoni wanted a controlled, introductory character for this fugue so that a larger arch can be projected across the next two fugues. Fugue II has a more active character simply as a result of the nature of its subject--which is in eighth and sixteenth notes rather than quarters and eighths like the first. Once again, however, dynamic indications suggest a restrained approach. Busoni indicates dolce at m. 333, leggiero for the octaves at m. 336, non forte at m. 355, and onlypoco forte at m. 371 where the final climax begins to build toward the close of the fugue. A broader dynamic palette than these indications may be necessary, but restraint is nonetheless required for the larger form to emerge clearly.  19  Busoni addresses the issue of dynamics in a letter to his wife that includes maxims for practicing the piano. He suggests that dynamics can help with overcoming physical difficulties:  Always join technical practise with the study of the interpretation; the difficulty, often, does not lie in the notes but in the dynamic shading prescribed. 24  Also, in the Sketch ofa New Esthetic ofMusic, Busoni addresses the relationship between restraint and the projection of larger forms more generally:  Feeling on a grand scale is mistaken by the amateur, the semi-artist, the public (and the critics too unhappily!), for a want of emotion, because they all are unable to hear the longer reaches as 25 parts of a yet more extended whole. Feeling, therefore, is likewise economy.  Buson?s economical application of dynamic indications in these fugues exemplifies his preference for a clear conception and presentation of the musical architecture (projecting “the longer reaches as parts of a yet more extended whole”). The supposition that he applied other expressive nuances (i.e. rhythmic freedoms, physical gestures, pedaling) just as economically in his interpretations would help account for the often-laid charge that his playing was cold and austere. Fugue III suddenly slows down the flow of the work, as the basic movement changes to  24  Letter to Gerda, 20 July 1898; see Rosamond Ley (trans.) Ferruccio Busoni: Letters to his Wife, pp. 27-28.  25  Busoni, Sketch ofa New Esthetic, p. 98.  20  half notes with the entry of the B-A-C-H subject. Busoni accordingly marks the beginning of the fugue pensoso, which could be interpreted as meaning something like “contemplative” or “ponderous” (in the sense of pondering but without the suggestion of heaviness often associated with this word). The arrival of the B-A-C-H motive at this point in the piece is certainly worth some thought. It appears in single notes after a substantial and thickly-orchestrated climax at the end of the second fugue. It is as though, after leaving the turbulence of the musical space which is the second fugue, Busoni presents us with a single object of contemplation, the B-A-C-H motive, which instantly suggests itself as a kind of synecdoche for everything that Bach’s work means for Busoni. This motive stands as a kind of musical sculpture at the heart of Busoni’s musical palace, an object to be contemplated from many perspectives, as though perceived from different angles in musical space, or sustained in memory when we have moved on to another “room” in the musical edifice. At mm. 411, 417 and 419, there are a series of allargando markings suggesting a sort of exhaustion of motion just before the point where Bach’s fragment finishes. At m. 422, Busoni marks riprendendo ii movimento so that the performer will make a running start towards both the place where all three subjects first enter simultaneously and where Bach’s fragment ends. There is a sense that Busoni, in order to reach the new music within his grasp, needs to build momentum to get past the point where Bach stumbled, hindered by the constraints of his own times. Busoni’s completion of Fugue III makes it by far the longest fugal section in the Fantasia, at 179 measures in length. Fugue III divides into four sections, of 47, 39, 36, and 57 measures respectively, with climaxes at the end of each section. The first section ends where Bach’s fragment comes to a finish (m. 431). The second section, mm. 432-470, ends with another  21  statement of all three subjects simultaneously. This occurs in a thick, widely registered texture from m. 466-470. After an abrupt change of texture and a dynamic drop back to piano dolce, the third section builds up, through a crescendo subito at m. 490, to the remarkably un-Bach-like climax at mm. 494-498, where the B-A-C-H motto is transformed and chained in the top voice and echoed in strict canon at the minor sixth below in the adjacent voice. The third section of Fugue III ends on dominant harmony (A major) with a short pause at m. 506. The fourth and final section then begins risoluto and builds to the final statement of all three subjects, in Bb, at m. 544 where there is finally a fortissimo marking. The first and third fugue subjects are stated in bass and tenor octaves respectively, and the second fugue subject is presented in the upper registers against a largely mirror-like counterpoint. The second fugue subject and its counterpoint expand in and out from intervals as close together as a second to as far apart as a tenth. The whole fugue closes with a huge cadence in D major.  §3.3 The Intermezzo and Variations  The following short Intermezzo (20 measures long) is marked piu tranquillo e misticamente and sotto voce. It comprises a series of statements of B-A-C-H as well as variants of it, such as the chromatic lower voice in the dotted-quarter-sixteenth motion in m. 565. Busoni’s idea of the mystical, transfigured character of the Intermezzo and its relation to other sections of the Fantasia can be discerned from a letter he wrote to Egon Petri. It concerns a 1911 performance of a version of the Fantasia for orchestra and organ, arranged by Frederick Stock, who conducted the performance with Middelschulte at the organ:  22  The greatest event of the festival was Middelschulte’s superhumanly beautiful organ playing. What the layman understands by “Music of the angels” was realized. The transition to the first fugue, the Intermezzo, the cadenza (particularly the march-like 26 section) were artistry of the highest order and sounded as if from another world.”  As will be discussed in more detail later, the Intermezzo is the first place in the Fantasia Contrappuntistica where Busoni uses Bernhard Ziehn’s technique of symmetrical inversion openly and transparently. The knowledge that this section is introducing a new harmonic technique, in combination with the indication misticamente, and Busoni’s pleasure that Middelschulte had made this music sound “as if from another world,” suggest that Busoni viewed this section as being pivotal in the overall structure of the work. It operates as a gateway leading from the past towards the music of the future that Busoni desired so intensely. The Intermezzo, and the three Variations that follow it, together suggest a parallel structure to what has already been presented in the Chorale Prelude and Fugues 1-111. The first large group, the Chorale Prelude and Fugues I-Ill, revolves around revisiting and transcribing the works of the past; by contrast, the second large group, the Intermezzo and the three Variations, rework the material presented in the first large group through the latest techniques available to Busoni. The three variations are not variations in the classical sense, based on a harmonic structure. They are fugal variations: essays in counterpoint that use variants of the three fugue subjects to present short characteristic studies in contrapuntal technique. Variation I (see Fig. 4) uses the theme from Fugue I in modified inverted form, with added suspensions and chromatic  26  Beaumont, Selected Letters, p. 136 23  passing tones. The counterpoint to the subject involves a descending figure in eighth notes that is similar to, and eventually changes into, the second fugue subject, but is characterized by a double-neighbour figure at the end of each slur, derived from theE-A-C-H motive from the subject of Fugue III.  Figure 4. mm. 585-588 of the  Fantasia Contrappuntistica.  Variazione I.  A tempo, tranquillo molto dolc4 cantabire  : :  I  I  -  F?I  I  —‘4 -  I  I I2  —  I  I -  -  I  I  v  ‘1’—  N  I  1  I  —.  I’ F,.  I  —  The counterpoint in the first half of Variation I is closely related to certain novel-sounding sections of Fugue III, places in which Busoni begins to expand his harmonic language more freely, particularly mm. 494-498 and mm. 532-53 5. The second half of Variation I returns to a dolce cantabile character, and is roughly bipartite: the initial part is composed in the highly chromatic harmonic language derived from the B-A-C-H theme, while the second part is in a suddenly and unexpectedly more diatonic mode (mm. 608ff). The diatonic section, in Db major, is highly reminiscent of another Db-major episode from a fugue in a set of variations: mm. 278-284 of Brahms’s Handel Variations. Variation II, marked sempre sotto voce, is constructed around rhythmic and intervallic variants of the subject from Fugue III. (The subject first appears in transposition as Db-C-Eb-D, but the three-pitch variant F-E-Gb-F follows immediately; both motives then appear in many transpositions.) Early on in this variation, the basic rhythm of the countersubj ect-like material 24  shifts from duplet to triplet-eighth notes. These two layers of texture--the transformed fugue subject and the triplet-eighth notes--are interspersed with two transposed B-A-C-H statements in very low registers in staccato octaves. As the variation progresses, the triplet layer becomes increasingly hectic while statements of the inverted B-A-C-H motive are set in counterpoint against the upright B-A-C-H rhythmic variant in stretto. A new, spiccato version of the B-A-C-H motive is introduced and played with towards the end of the variation. Variation III continues the use of textural layers similar to those achieved by the end of Variation II, but now uses them to present variants of all three fhgue subjects instead ofjust the B-A-C-H subject. The tension of the counterpoint increases until the voices explode in a doubling of octaves atm. 677. Variation III closes in Db major after an expansion reminiscent of the ends of the variations in the chorale preludes at mm. 71-73 and mm. 118-121.  §3.4 The Cadenza, Fugue IV, Corale and Stretta  Variation III breaks off, a bit suddenly, with a first-inversion Db major chord on the downbeat of m. 683, where the Cadenza begins, serving as a transition to Fugue IV. The Cadenza starts with afortissimo descent, in dotted rhythms, that foreshadows one strand of the texture in the upcoming fourth fugue. The fortissimo soon gives way, through decrescendo, to a dolcemente improvvisando marking, where the B-A-C-H theme appears as the main subject to be developed initially in the Cadenza (m. 685). Inverted and upright forms of this motto are ornamented with ascending and descending arpeggios based on stacked-third harmonies, similar to those used in the opening chorale variations. At m. 698, about halfway through the cadenza, the texture is altered into what Busoni referred to as “the march-like section” in the letter to Petri. In long,  25  floating half-note and whole-note chords, variants of the B-A-C-H motive are sounded in the upper voices senza agitazione ma andando and molto sommessamente. Underneath, the new dotted “march-like” rhythm is used to present the principal Art ofFugue theme, which Busoni believed Bach intended to use as the fourth subject in his unfinished fugue. Here Busoni adopts a modem harmonic instability, treating the subject freely and altering its modal character, modulating rapidly through pseudo-tonalities that suggest Db Mixolydian, D major, then minor, Bb minor, G major, B major, finally cadencing on D-minor harmony. The harmonic progression here, but not the musical content, has a certain affinity with the opening cadenza that opens the final movement of Beethoven’s  op. 106, the Hammerkiavier sonata, which will be discussed later  as a compositional influence on Busoni. At m. 716, the fourth and final fugue begins. It is appropriate to discuss at this point another drawing, mentioned by Beaumont, that Busoni uses to express the form of the earliest form of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, the Grosse Fuge. 27 It depicts a ship with five sails sailing over the ocean and framed by a decahedron. The decahedron represents the ten sections of the Grosse Fuge, which were later expanded to twelve sections with the addition of the Chorale Prelude and the reminiscence of the Chorale near the end of the Fantasia in the Edizione Definitiva. The five sails are emblematic of the five fugue subjects that propel the Fantasia forward into unknown seas. Busoni chooses as his fifth subject the rhythmic variant of the B-A C-H motive first presented in Variation II (mm. 622-623 with pickup). These five subjects, consisting of the three fugue subjects, the principal Art ofFugue subject and the rhythmic variant of B-A-C-H, are all presented together at the climax of the Fugue IV--and indeed of the entire piece--beginning at m. 742.  Beaumont Busoni the Composer, p. 169. 27 26  The first part of Fugue IV, beginning at m. 716, focuses on establishing the newlyintroduced Art ofFugue subject, initially in Bb minor. It is stated in a rhythmic variant used by Bach in Contrapunctus VI of the Art ofFugue. Atm. 731, there is a dramatic change in texture where the dotted rhythm takes over. It sounds by itself in a recitative marked byforzato chords whenever the dotted rhythm is suspended over a beat. At m. 742, the climactic point where all the subjects are presented, Busoni writes in a substantial supplement, but indicates that it is not intended to be used in performance. It evidently serves a purpose similar to the later Edizione Minore, as a study of new contrapuntal techniques applied to all of the fugue subjects. Sitsky has argued that a version of the Fantasia should be assembled using as much material as possible from all the different versions of the work, including this supplement to Fugue IV from the 1910 Edizione Dejmnitiva. But Busoni did not want the supplement to be performed, perhaps because further contrapuntal development is not what is required just before the final climax of this piece. By developing the subjects at length before this final climax, the supplement blunts the impact and the precision of the climactic presentation of all the fugue subjects at m. 742. As the climax progresses, the density of its chromaticism increases until it disintegrates into trills over an ostinato version of the B-A-C-H motto in octaves in the lowest registers, beginning at m. 771. The trills fade to nothing, and the chorale melody then appears one last time, marked come un vago rflesso (like an unclear reflection), over the B-A-C-H ostinato (m. 775). The version used here is very similar to mm. 24-4 1. After the final statement of the chorale’s melody, the ostinato alters slightly at m. 792 to lead into the closing Stretta. The Stretta is based, in its first half until m. 827 (142/4/2) on material from Contrapunctus XI. The B-A-CH motto is then sounded extensively in mm. 827-843, in four-note chords in the right hand and in a new variant in octaves in the left hand. The D-A ascending fifth with which the fugues began  27  is presented again at mm. 844-5, again at mm. 848-50 with the first four notes of the first fugue subject, and then finally the entire subject is presented in octaves, sostenutissimo, with extended tertian harmonies over the subdominant and dominant at mm. 857-860, and the piece ends with the tonic root D alone, reinforced in six octaves.  § 3.5 Overview  An outline of some central points of harmonic orientation and arrival in the Fantasia is presented on the following page in Figure 5. The overwhelming size of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica is such that a truly adequate discussion of its harmonic structure is beyond the scope of the present document. Rather, the sketch in Figure 5 is aimed at delineating those moments in the Fantasia which could be thought of as important from a performer’s point of view, moments which suggest the articulation of some formal aspect of the work which the performer would want to project clearly. The harmonic sketch focuses principally on bass notes, but some harmonies have been added above the bass in order to show important formal articulations or to highlight important larger harmonic features that will be discussed below. Determining key in the Fantasia is often fraught with difficulty due to the often complexity and ambiguity of the harmonies. Often, great harmonic complexities have been drastically reduced in the harmonic sketch. For instance, for mm. 565-585, Figure 5 presents only two chords, closely related to one another. The corresponding passage is the entirety of the Intermezzo and contains some of the most visionary music in the entire piece from a harmonic and tonal point of view. However, as will be shown later in section  § 6.2, the Intermezzo can be conceived as prolonging dominant-seventh  harmony on D. In general, Figure 5 offers that sort of scale and degree of precision, in order to  28  %4  CI 0  2 C)) 0  a  ‘1-  I (V.,  m  C.’  “C’  0  C  0  I  I  H4  ‘4,  0  I  0 C.)  show “middleground” harmonic relationships important for a performer’s sense of form and direction. Little attempt has been made at presenting harmonic features of the Bach Fugues since their larger-scale harmonic features have not been altered by Busoni and do not present any analytical novelties which are characteristic of the Fantasia. It must also be said that this harmonic sketch makes no claim to present a systematic analysis of the Fantasia, such as would arise from a detailed Schenkerian approach (sufficiently adjusted to the idiom). It simply points out important and interesting larger-scale harmonic features, and these can nonetheless provide useful insights for the performer. Tritone relations feature very prominently in the Fantasia, particularly in the Chorale Prelude and the return of the chorale just before the Stretta. In mm. 14-22 and mm. 44-51 the bass oscillates between two notes a tritone apart (Eb-A and D-G# respectively) whereas in mm. 23 an A major harmony is presented over a bass Eb, a tritone away. In the return of the chorale at m. 776, Busoni reintroduces a sonority similar to that of m. 23, with an E major harmony overtop of a Bb in the bass. Although in other sections of the Fantasia this tritone relationship is not always presented quite as openly, it can be seen (and heard) operating on a larger scale. In Fugue III, from m. 534-560, harmonies featuring Ab in the bass (Bb 4/2 in m. 534 and Ab 7 at m. 555) figure prominently before the final resolution a tritone away in D major at m. 564. Variation I is almost equally divided between two harmonies a tritone apart. It begins with a G7 harmony at m. 585 which progresses eventually to the startling moment of harmonic clarity in Db at m. 608 and then to the end of the variation in the same key. Another point of interest in Figure 5 is the tendency to return to the subdominant G, particularly in the Chorale Prelude but also at the end of Fugue II and at the beginning of Variation I. The Chorale Prelude is in the key of G but it spends a significant enough time on its  31  dominant, particularly in the opening measures, to make the listener question whether G is actually the tonic. This works nicely in the context of the Fantasia, keeping in mind that the Chorale Prelude was a later addition, since the key of the Fantasia is in fact D. The harmonic function of the Ubergang between the Chorale Prelude and Fugue I can be seen in this context as preparing the arrival of the tonic at the beginning of Fugue I by convincing the listener that, in some sense, the music thus far has really been on the subdominant. This process is renewed to a certain extant with the arrival of the Intermezzo and Variation I. Fugue III concludes quite forcefully on the tonic harmony D major at m. 564. As soon as the Intermezzo begins, a process of contrapuntal meandering begins which ultimately transforms the D major harmony into a dominant by the t Intermezzo conclusion at m. 585. Variation I then begins with a G7 harmony s which calls again into question the tonic function of D. These ambivalences in tonal function lend the entire work a certain feeling of instability and perpetual becoming, expressing (in harmonic and formal terms) its contemplative and constantly questioning spirit. One final point of harmonic interest relates certain of Busoni’s harmonic choices to the BA-C-H motive. Beginning at m. 457 with the Bb major harmony, the B-A-C-H motive can be seen to be worked out through the harmonies: A in mm. 462-506, C in m. 519, and finally B (=H) in m. 531. The bass note A is prolonged from m. 462 through a minor third relationship with C which features prominently from m. 47 1-494. The dominant of A is deceptively resolved to C in m. 471, and C and A are further associated at the arrival at mm. 494-496. At m. 519, C major harmony returns once again and then moves to an E minor 6/4 harmony over B with the presentation of a variant of the subject of Fugue I in the bass at m. 525. A similar kind of motivic structuring also occurs towards the end of the piece, beginning at the climax of the Fantasia, the culmination of Fugue IV. That presentation begins at m. 742 in the tonic, D minor,  32  but quickly falls at m. 748 to C# minor. At m 764, an E half-diminished-seventh harmony is presented at a particularly pivotal moment in the piece, where the climax of Fugue IV begins to transform into the return of the chorale at m. 776. The E major harmony in which the chorale is then presented gradually falls to Eb major by m. 793, completing a large scale presentation of the B-A-C-H motive, transposed up a major third. Although these presentations of the B-A-C-H motive as a harmonic foundation are not necessarily explicit to the listener, it is easy to imagine Busoni’s experimentations with different ways to harmonize the B-A-C-H motive informing his choices for the completion of both Fugue III, which is based on that motive, and for his composition of the conclusion of the entire Fantasia. Looking back at the architectural ground plan Busoni made to show the form of the Fantasia, it is possible to perceive a middle level of partitioning composed of three groups of four sections each. The first group, containing the Chorale Prelude and Fugues I-Ill, consists largely of Busoni’s revisioning of past works--his own third Elegy and Bach’s Fuga a 3 Soggetti. The second group consists of the Intermezzo and the three Variations and develops the musical building blocks of the Fugues through the newest contrapuntal techniques Busoni had available to him. The final group, consisting of the Cadenza, Fugue IV, the recurrence of the chorale, and the closing Stretta, represents the culmination of the various devices, both transcriptional and compositional, used in the first two large sections. In this unfolding process, the second group acts as a kind of counterthesis to the first group. The juxtaposition of two kinds of musical development--namely the transcription of the old in the first group, set in contrast with the use of the latest contrapuntal techniques applied to the fugue subjects in the second group--bursts forth in the final group in a kind of Hegelian synthesis, in which the textural complexities of the  33  transcriptions are intertwined with the new harmonies that result from Ziehn’s contrapuntal methods.  §4 Compositional Influences  A substantial work like the Fantasia Contrappuntistica is bound to have a wide variety of works as influences, especially when it is based on a fragment by J. S. Bach, whose own influence is universal. Bach’s name is literally imprinted on the Fantasia through use of the B-A-C-H fugue subject. The B-A-C-H motive is used by Busoni in a variety of ways. When it appears at the beginning of Fugue III, Busoni marks it with the word pensoso, as has already been mentioned, suggesting that it is worthy of thoughtful pause and not to be passed over lightly. As the third fugue progresses, the minor seconds of the B-A-C-H motive give rise to some of its more distinctive-sounding and forward-looking music, particularly in the sections from mm. 494-498 and from mm. 532-53 5. By the end of the work, particularly in the return to the chorale theme and in the Stretta, the B-A-C-H motive has become a source of unrest, something that needs reconciliation in order to attain the conclusion of the piece. The reminiscence of the chorale theme in mm. 774-793, as shown in Figure 6, exemplifies the unsettling influence the B-A-C-H motive becomes near the end, when it is presented as a seething ostinato in eighth notes in the lowest register of the piano. If the B-A-C-H motive is truly a source of unrest towards the end of the piece, then the Stretta can be seen as an attempt to focus and project its energies forward. The final statements of the B-A-C-H motive, in 6/4 triads in mm. 84 1-2 and mm. 845-6, first in major then in minor, do not resolve the motive but rather seem to allow it to project further into the future, suggesting Bach’s status as an inexhaustible source of inspiration.  34  _____________________  Figure 6 mm. 774-776 of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica.  sostenuto, dolciss.  Corale.  1  Zr.  -  (come un vago riflesso)  frt.t.t.t..ttttttt*ttttttttttttttt  —  con Sva  The ways in which Bach as a composer influenced the Fantasia Contrappuntistica in particular, and Busoni’s career more generally, are numerous and diverse. In the Sketch ofa new Esthetic, Busoni mentions Bach’s Organ Fantasias as instances of a composer approaching the Infinite music that was his own ideal. 28 The Chorale Prelude of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica is clearly modeled on Bach’s chorale preludes, which Busoni edited and transcribed for piano extensively. Bach himself set the hymn tune Allein Gott in der HOh sei Ehr--the basis for the Chorale Prelude in the Fantasia--numerous times for organ. (It is quite possible that by “Organ Fantasias” Busoni may have had in mind Bach’s chorale preludes as well as other works for organ titled “Fantasia.”) The entire Fantasia Contrappuntistica is in the general form of a Fantasia and Fugue, albeit a highly elaborate one. Bach’s own career also served as a more general model for Busoni in that Bach was also a prolific transcriber of other composers’ works. Bach used transcription as a way to absorb the styles of other composers and augment his own idiom. Busoni also uses the works of his predecessors to undergird and motivate his own compositions, and nowhere more clearly than in the Fantasia Contrappuntistica.  28  Busoni, Sketch ofa New Esthetic, p. 79. 35  While composing the work, Busoni described his own impressions of his new piece in a letter to his wife Gerda, and mentioned two important influences: “It will sound like something between a composition by César Franck and the Hammerkiavier sonata, with an individual 29 Liszt’s “Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” also suggest themselves as nuance.” closely connected with technique and spirit of the Fantasia. These important pieces and composers (along with Bach) create the fuller picture of the place Busoni saw his piece occupying in the history of composition. Insight into the role of Franck’s music in Busoni’s thinking can be gleaned from statements in Busoni’s writings about what he called “Gothic Art”: “It is a preponderantly Teutonic or Frankish Art  ...  and Franck is the name, significantly, of a later representative of its  symbols and forms.” ° In the same article, Busoni further describes Gothic Art as “that art in 3 which delight in delicacy combines with fantasy, strict calculation with mystical belief.” ’ The 3 work by Franck that bears the greatest similarity to the Fantasia Contrappuntistica is the Prelude, Chorale and Fugue. The title of Franck’s work could almost be a description of the general structure of the Fantasia, and indicates the common root of the two pieces in the work of J.S. Bach. Busoni was familiar with the Prelude, Choral and Fugue and had performed it in Berlin in 1902.32 According to Harold Schonberg, he even rewrote certain parts with which he was unhappy. 33 The Fantasia Contrappuntistica bears many similarities with the Prelude, Choral and Fugue in terms of its overall structure. Franck’s cyclical development of themes,  29  to Gerda, 19 February 1910; see Rosamond Ley (trans.) Ferruccio Busoni: Letters to his Wfe, p.155. Beaumont, Busoni the Composer, p. 161, quoting from Busoni’s 1910 article “Die Gotiker von 30 Chicago.” ‘ Ibid. Dent Ferruccio Busoni: A Biography, p. 323. 32 Harold Schonberg, The Great Pianists (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), p. 371. 36  which culminates at the close of the fugue, where all the work’s themes appear simultaneously in a contrapuntal tour deforce, is, of course, similar to the central process of the Fantasia that culminates in Fugue IV. Busoni also perhaps got the idea for his Cadenza section from the “come una Cadenza” section (m. 129 from the beginning of the fugue) in the Prelude, Chorale and Fugue, which is similar in texture and spirit. The central motive of the Prelude, Choral and Fugue--the fugue subject’s first three notes (B-B-A#), from which most of the piece is constructed--is a motive found extensively in Bach’s music (for instance, in the fugue subject from the first movement of the sixth Partita, or in the F minor prelude from Book II of the Well Tempered Clavier). It is also very similar to the rhythmic variant of B-A-C-H used by Busoni in Variation II and again as the fifth “sail” of Fugue IV. Even though their harmonic languages are very different, the textural build-up in the Variations in the Fantasia is extremely similar to the overall structure of Franck’s fugue. (Variation I uses quarters against duplet eighths, Variation II uses quarters against triplet eighths, and then Variation ifi builds up a thick chordal texture that leads into a cadenza.) It even seems plausible that Franck’s Prelude, Chorale and Fugue was in some sense a structural model for these sections of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, especially since Busoni explicitly mentioned Franck in connection with the piece during its composition. The Fantasia also shares certain features in common with the fourth movement of Beethoven’s  op.  106, the Hammerkiavier sonata. Both are gigantic in scope and both use  contrapuntal ingenuity to produce striking new sonorities. In the Hammerklavier, as in other of his late works, Beethoven sought inspiration from the past to produce a new style, very much in the way that Busoni espoused in his Sketch ofa New Esthetic. Certain specific sections of the fugue in Op. 106 are very similar to sections of the Fantasia. For instance, the extensive trills of mm. 117-129 in the Hammerkiavier fugue, although different in character, are similar in their  37  strange effect to the trills at the end of the Intermezzo in the Fantasia. It also seems very likely that Busoni learned the value of breaking up a large contrapuntal work with periods of repose, such as the Intermezzo and the Cadenza in the Fantasia, from Beethoven’s late works (for instance, mm. 250-278 in the Hammerkiavier fugue, and similar sections in the Grosse Fuge,  Op.  133). Liszt’s works played an enormous role in Busoni’s compositional and pianistic development. Busoni was renowned as an interpreter of Liszt’s works and received great praise from Liszt’s students on numerous occasions. He was considered to be such an authority on Liszt that he was asked to join the editorial board for Breitkopf and Härtel’s collected edition of Liszt’s 34 It is therefore not surprising that Liszt’s works should have an impact on the Fantasia. works. Liszt’s organ transcriptions, and the organ-transcription style developed in Franck’s last piano works, provided Busoni with the monumental organ/piano style employed throughout the fugal sections of the Fantasia. Certain features of Liszt’s Weinen, Kiagen, Sorgen, Zagen Variations bear a striking resemblance to the Fantasia Contrappuntistica. Like Beethoven in the Hammerkiavier fugue, Liszt used music of the past as an inspiration for new harmonic explorations. Liszt’s Variations use two chorales for their compositional development, the first as a basis for chaconne-like variations, the second as an apotheosis at the end. Busoni, somewhat differently, sets the chorale material in contrast against the themes given contrapuntal treatment in the fugues and variations. Busoni’s use of chorale material at the end of the Fantasia is also a sort of demonic parody of the second chorale used at the end of Liszt’s piece. By returning to the chorale he had used earlier, Busoni instills a reminiscence of the “Angst und Glauben” opposition of the chorale prelude, casting a shadow over the piece’s final resolution, whereas Liszt’s use of  Sitsky, Busoni and the Piano, p. 208. 38  the Bach chorale Was Gott tut das 1st wohigetan at the end of the Weinen, Kiagen Variations dispels all fear and sorrow in a glorious resolution and affirmation of faith. Busoni treats his chorale as a resource for nuanced, layered, and complex meaning, both musical and symbolic, and because it conjoins faith (Glauben) with fear (Angst), it cannot allow the same type of overtly triumphant return to faith with which Liszt closes his variation set. The highly chromatic bass line from the chorale Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen gives Liszt the opportunity for harmonic excursions in much the same way that the B-A-C-H motive does for Busoni. Certain forward-looking passages in the Liszt Variations seem to point towards the chromatic part-writing in the Fantasia. The modal experimentation of the triplet-eighth strand of the texture in Variation III of the Fantasia is foreshadowed in the Weinen, Kiagen Variations, both in the ascending and descending triplet eighth-note scales in m. 117 of that work (presented in Figure 7 below) and in the searching scales and chromatic sighs of the variation beginning with the recitative at m. 217 and continuing to m. 246.  Figure 7 mm. 117-118 of Liszt’s Variations on “Weinen, Kiagen, Zorgen, Sagen”.  irtr PPU1U corda —  I)  —.___-  I  Franck and Liszt are important recent precursors for Busoni’s work. It is as though Busoni developed his variation set in the Fantasia by using Franck’s Prelude, Chorale and Fugue as a structural model, and late Liszt as a starting point for harmonic and contrapuntal 39  development. Busoni not only attempts to absorb the influence of Bach, he also attempts to absorb the influence of some of the major composers after Bach, namely Franck and Liszt, who treated him directly.  §5 Busoni’s Aesthetics  In his Sketch ofa New Aesthetic ofMusic, first published in 1907 in German and first translated into English in 1911, Busoni begins by making a distinction between the eternal and the transient aspects of a work of art:  The Spirit [Geist] of an Artwork, the measure of emotion [Empfindung], the humanity, that is in it--these remain unvaried in value through changing times; the form which these three assume, the means that express them, and the taste infused in them by the epoch in which they arise, are transient, and age rapidly. 35  On its own, this statement does not tell us exactly what Busoni conceives “Geist” or “Empfindung” to be. Determining the specific senses in which Busoni intended such key terms as “Spirit,” “feeling,” and “emotion” is one of the most difficult obstacles to an accurate understanding of his ideas. Perhaps sensing this deficiency, Busoni composed an addenda for his Sketch ofa New Esthetic ofMusic in 1909 which deals specifically with the categories of Feeling and 36 Emotion. Unfortunately, he did not do the same for the word “Spirit” and so it is left to the reader to conclude as to what exactly “Spirit” is. It is vital to be sensitive to the specific  u Busoni, Sketch ofa New Esthetic ofMusic, p. 75, translation adjusted.  Ibid., pp. 97-100. 36 40  meanings Busoni ascribes to these terms, in so far as possible, but it is also necessary to remember that he writes as a composing and performing artist, concerned with philosophical content but not with systematic philosophical exposition. Busoni makes clear that he does not intend to develop a philosophical system by giving his work the title “Sketch”. Although Busoni does not do us the favor of attempting a definition of “Spirit,” he does use the word in a variety of circumstances that can help give us some clue as to what he held it to be. In the early part of the Sketch, Busoni consistently pairs the words Spirit and Emotion. 37 To these two concepts can be added the term “feeling” which Busoni incorporates into the larger category of “emotion”:  “Feeling” is generally understood to mean tenderness, pathos, and extravagance of expression. But how much more does the marvelous flower “Emotion” unfold! Restraint and forbearance, renunciation, power, activity, patience, magnanimity, joyousness, and that allcontrolling intelligence wherein feeling actually takes its rise. 38  These three, Spirit, Emotion, and Feeling, form a unified constellation of intimately linked concepts. Emotion, which contains in it the sub-category of Feeling, is that which is interpreted through music:  [The] emotional interpretation [of music] derives from those free heights whence descended the Art itself. 39  Ibid., p. 75 (twice), p. 78, and p. 80 (twice). Ibid., p. 98. 38 Ibid., p. 84 41  The relationship of Emotion and Spirit is reciprocal: Emotion is translated into the Spiritual through music that, in turn, leads us back to Emotion. The vast array of human emotions are described by Busoni as “moods of the soul,” which it is the calling of music to “set in vibration”:  To Music it is given to set in vibration our human moods  ...  : Dread (Leporello),  Oppression of soul, invigoration, lassitude (Beethoven’s last Quartets), decision (Wotan), hesitation, despondency, encouragement, harshness, tenderness, excitement, tranquil lization, the feeling of surprise or expectancy and still others; likewise the inner echo of external occurrences which is bound up in these moods of the soul. ° 4  These “soul-states” (as he calls them a few lines later) are infinite in number, and consequently the category of emotion defies the generalizing tendencies of language. Rather, “Its [Music’s] emotion seizes the human heart with that intensity which is independent of the idea.” ’ Emotion 4 encompasses the vast panoply of states that we experience and that inspire expression in music because they thwart expression in language. For Busoni, music addresses itself to extra-verbal expression of emotion, and he concludes that, “Therefore, representation and description are not the nature of music.” 42 (Incidentally, in this way, he answers half of the programme-versusabsolute music debate. His answer to the advocates of Absolute Music is substantially more involved.) For Busoni, the artist’s awareness of the world of emotion is a point of honor: “In art,  40  Ibid., p. 82. Ibid. 42 Ibid., p. 78. ‘  42  feeling is held to be the highest moral qualification.” 43 Although Busoni never suggests in this essay that a given emotion may be inappropriate to music, he does suggest a moral response to emotion that is quantitative. The degree to which a composer can immerse himself in a mood provides the measure by which to judge the spiritual aspect of his achievement: “This gives a confirmation of the fact, that the depth of feeling roots in a complete absorption in the given mood, however frivolous, and blossoms in the interpretation of that mood.” 44 Busoni suggests that this ability is what allows us to form canonical conceptions. He says of Bach and Beethoven that, “In spirit and emotion they will probably remain unexcelled.” 45 The nature of the expression of Emotion as it occurs in music, and its relationship to the world of Spirit, lead Busoni to conclude that “Music was born free and to win freedom is its 46 The freedom that is the essence of music seems to lie mainly for Busoni in the nature destiny.” of sound, which “knows no law of gravitation. It is well nigh incorporeal. Its material is sonorous air. It is almost Nature herself. It is--free.” 47 Because sound lacks the (philosophical) attribute of extension, it can connect directly to feeling and emotion, bypassing language and concepts. The intangibility of sound gives music its freedom, and provides a natural analogy to the world of Spirit. The Eternal quality in music also seems to be associated with Spirit, presumably since capacity for feeling is to some degree universal. Busoni also opposes the Eternal with that which exists in time: “For the musical artwork exists, before its tones resound and after they die away, complete and intact. It exists within and outside of time, and through its nature we can obtain a definite conception of the otherwise intangible notion of the Ideality of  “  Ibid., p. 98. Ibid., pp. 99-100 44 Ibid., p. 80. Ibjd p. 77. 46 47  43  48 It would be difficult to work out exactly what Busoni is suggesting by the Ideality of time.” time, and is not necessary for our purposes. It is important to recognize that Freedom and Eternity, as aspects of Spirit, are essential to Busoni’s vision of how music clarifies itself over the course of its history. Now that we have some idea of the place Spirit occupies in Busoni’s thought, we can consider the way that it manifests itself in individual works of art. Spirit is made present in time through various means in Busoni’s model of the artistic process. Not all of these means are equivalent experiences but they all share the property of allowing the participants to come into some kind of contact with the world of Spirit. The first process that creates the work of art would be improvisation for a person like Busoni. This would be a direct translation of the world of Spirit into the phenomena of sound. “The audible presentation of music” is primary in a certain sense, since it involves the least number of filters between the participants and the spiritual. “Performance, the audible presentation of music,” 49 is the first method of musical creation mentioned by Busoni when he begins his discussion of the production of music in the fourth section of the Sketch ofa New Esthetic. Notation is the next medium Busoni discusses. “Notation, the writing out of compositions, is primarily an ingenious expedient for catching an inspiration, with the purpose of exploiting it later.” ° Busoni emphasizes that what is foremost in 5 his thought is the ability to access the world of Spirit/feeling which was the impetus for the invention of notation in the first place. “It is for the interpreter to resolve the rigidity of the signs into the primitive emotion.” ’ Busoni then rails against the “Lawgivers” who mistake the lens of 5  48 “  Ibid., p. 86. Ibid., p. 84.  50  Ibid. 44  notation for the visions of Spirit. This leads Busoni to a discussion of transcription. In his own time, and still in the present, Busoni’s other creative endeavors have been overshadowed by his transcriptions of Bach. (The names Bach and Busoni became so intertwined that at one point Busoni’s wife, Gerda, was introduced by a society matron as “Mrs. Bach-Busoni.” ) “The frequent antagonism which I 52 have excited with ‘transcriptions’, and the opposition to which an ofttimes irrational criticism has provoked me, caused me to seek a clear understanding of this point.” 53 Busoni justifies his right to make transcriptions in the following way, which readily follows from the dialectic surrounding the Spirit/Appearance dichotomy with which Busoni begins his essay. “Every notation is, in itself, the transcription of an abstract idea. The instant the pen seizes it, the idea loses its original 54 It follows from the identity of notation and transcription that if one is faithful to, or form.” “absorbed in,” as Busoni puts it, 55 the original spirit which inspired the notation of a piece, then changes in the technique of embodying that spirit in sound, those things dictated by notation, can be made. We can now return to some of Busoni’s comments about Bach and Beethoven earlier in the Sketch and understand better what he thinks about their efforts. Although Bach and Beethoven may be unsurpassed in terms of their measure of Spirit, Busoni also says that they “are to be conceived of as a beginning and not as unsurpassable finalities .What still remains to be . .  surpassed is their form of expression and their freedom.” 56 The degree to which a composer such as Busoni can immerse himself in Spirit is  52  Sitsky, Busoni and the Piano, p. 177. Busoni, Sketch ofa New Esthetic ofMusic, p. 85.  54  56  Ibid., p. 99. Ibid., p. 80. 45  ultimately an individual concern. The technical achievements made in expressing Spirit are the work of musicians in general. It is this aspect, the transcription/notation/performance process, which Busoni asserts can be improved upon. There are two motivations to the improvement of the phenomenal qualities of music. One results from the desire for liberation of Spirit through increasingly flexible forms that will better enable us to perceive the freedom that is music’s essence. The other is the desire to communicate with the world in which one happens to be living. Busoni refers to these respectively as “Style” and “Taste.” 57 The improvement of the formal/notational representation of music gives rise to the notion of a kind of historical process reminiscent in certain ways of Hegel. (I am not suggesting that Busoni modeled his ideas on Hegel’s, simply that there is some similarity.) The spirit of music, which is freedom, is revealed to us through the works of different composers at different times. These composers are hampered by the constraints, biases, and predilections (i.e. the tastes) of the times in which they work. Later composers, bound by different tastes, look at the works of earlier composers and admire what is eternal in them, but cast off what is constricting, to put on new styles reflecting to some extent the tastes of the time in which they work. Busoni’s ideal for music would be the result of many such harvests of the musical achievements of former times which he hopes will result in an “Infinite Music.” 58 As examples of what Busoni hopes this free music will be, he cites the quasi-improvisational sections from the beginning of the last movement (the fugue) from Beethoven’s Hammerkiavier Sonata, Op. 106, and the Organ Fantasias (not the fugues) of Bach. In these works there are glimpses of Busoni’s ideal musical expression: quasi improvisational forms with clearly defined changes of mood and great harmonic freedom  Ibid., p. 98. 58 p. 79. Ibid., 46  unhindered by constrictive rules or forms.  §6 Two Aspects of Transcription: Fantasia and Contrappuntistica  For Busoni, liberty is the essence of music. Busoni envisioned that the composer had two principal means for releasing music into a state of freedom. The first involves the interpretation of the works of past composers. Their music is necessarily bound up in the opinions, technical limitations, and shortcomings of the times in which it was composed, which affect the form the music takes. Busoni believed that the improvements, both instrumental and compositional, of later eras allow the composer to revisit and rework the music of the past in an attempt to free it from the constraints of its era. In this situation, the composer’s job is to revitalize and release artistic vision through imaginative engagement with the past. Transcription was an ideal means for Busoni to enliven the works of the past in their forms as instrumental compositions. It is through transcriptions that he found a way to actively engage the past. Busoni took this approach not only to works of past composers but also to the music of his contemporaries and even to his own music (when he had surpassed an earlier technical or aesthetic limitation). An interesting example of Busoni’s engagement with a contemporary composition comes to light in his fascinating correspondence with Arnold Schoenberg regarding Schoenberg’s Klavierstuck Op. 11 No.  Although Busoni was impressed with the compositional ideas  presented in the piece, he found Schoenberg’s piano writing constrictive and not suited to the instrument. To make the work conform with his own aesthetic of piano writing (and playing), Busoni reset the movement in his own “konzertmassige Interpretation,” which was eventually  See Beaumont, Selected Letters, pp. 384-408, Letters 6-19. 47  published separately in 1910 by Universal Edition. Although Schoenberg respected Busoni’s abilities and artistic opinions, he reacted defensively to Busoni’s changes, and refused to alter his piece in any way. Their intense (but mutually respectful) disagreement probably reinforced Busoni’s general reluctance to play the piano music of his contemporaries. He was happy to conduct the chamber and orchestral works of Bartok, Debussy, and Schoenberg, but would rarely program their piano music on his own recitals. Perhaps because the act of making music at the piano was for him so akin to improvisation and composition, he found it difficult not to alter a new composition as though he was improvising and refining one of his own. Busoni was always tinkering with his own pieces too--as can be seen from the compositional history of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica--and he considered it natural to tinker with other composers’ works as well. The other means by which a composer can realize freedom in (and through) music is by employing the latest compositional techniques. Busoni thought that composers should constantly be seeking new and more liberated compositional techniques and forms. Busoni devotes a large portion of the Sketch ofa New Esthetic ofMusic to discussing new scale systems, new methods of notation, and new instruments for creating new sounds. In an article for Signale written in January l9lland titled “The New Harmony,” Busoni lists five means by which the harmony of the future can be achieved:  The first new harmonic system rests upon chord formation according to customary scales  ...  By  the symmetrical inversion of the harmonic order Bernhard Ziehn shows me the second way Keeping the voices independent of each other in polyphonic compositions produces the third road  ...  A fourth road is anarchy, an arbitrary pacing of intervals next [to] and over one another,  according to mood and taste. Arnold Schoenberg is trying it; but already he is beginning to turn round in a circle. The fifth will be the birth of a new key system which will include all the four 48  aforementioned ways. ° 6  In the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, Busoni incorporates new compositional techniques, and brings them into contact with Bach’s music. The title of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica can itself be understood as a descriptive conflation of Busoni’s two principal approaches to composition: “Fantasia” corresponds with liberating the works of the past, and “Contrappuntistica” with the opening of new harmonic doors by means of technical innovations, both old and new. This interpretation of Fantasia and Contrappuntistica could also be reversed in keeping with the natural associations most musicians would have with these words: Fantasia being associated with the freedom derived from new techniques and Contrappuntistica reminding us of the largely antiquated and highly academic study of contrapuntal techniques of the past. The inversion of these associations is more in keeping with Busoni’s spirit, however, since Fantasia then becomes associated with a liberating and imaginative approach to the past, rather than treating the past with a stuffs’, academic approach, and Contrappuntistica becomes associated with the revitalization of a noble tradition which looks not backwards, but toward the future. In keeping with the distinction between “Fantasia” and “Contrappuntistica,” the following discussion will fall into two parts: the section entitled “Fantasia” will examine how Busoni altered his Third Elegy and different sections of the Art ofFugue through transcription and additions of his own; the “Contrappuntistica” section will discuss the new methods Busoni used to enliven his composition.  60 Busoni, The Essence ofMusic and Other Papers (Translated by Rosamond Ley. Fenucio London: Rockliff, 1957), p. 24. 49  §6.1 Fantasia  With one important exception, the overall structure of the Chorale Prelude of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica is identical to the Elegy on which it is based. The exception lies in the climax of the Elegy, which is shortened in the Fantasia. The strength of the Elegys climax (mm. 114123) is unsuitable for the introductory role of the Chorale Prelude in the Fantasia. The major textural alteration made by Busoni occurs in the buildup to this climax (mm. 99-110) in the Elegy and mm. 102-113 in the Fantasia). In the Elegy, the texture consists of a continuous stream of broken octaves in sixteenth notes in the left hand, punctuated in the right hand by triplet-eighth notes on the fourth and first beats in each measure. Busoni modifies this passage for the Fantasia by setting the lower octaves in solid triplet eighths on beats two and three, in antiphony  with the upper-voice chords in triplet eighths on beats four and one. This change allows Busoni to introduce the choral theme in the middle register in an ingenious three-part texture for two hands. The new texture is substantially more impressive in its virtuosic effect, and the listener can also more easily hear how the passage is a variation on the choral theme. Busoni also changes some harmonies in this passage, most notably in mm. 110-113 of the Fantasia. The corresponding passage in the Elegy (mm. 107-110) gets stuck on the diminished-seventh chord on Eb in the right hand. To make this section less stagnant, Busoni makes the right-hand harmonies ascend chromatically, with minor and major in alternation (i.e. C minor, C major, Db minor, Db major, D minor, D major instead of C minor, C major, D minor, Eb diminished 7, D minor, Eb diminished 7). The obsessive quality of the left hand in this passage from the Elegy, with its waves of  50  sixteenths constantly rising and falling back down again, is maintained in the Fantasia. It remains obsessive but is made more interesting simply by reversing the direction of the octaves at m. 108 of the Fantasia. Instead of continually rising and falling, suddenly all the octaves fall by thirds deeper into the lower registers of the piano. Meanwhile, the upper parts of the left-hand harmonies ascend chromatically with each iteration, much like the right-hand chords above them. The overall effect is one of greater tension and direction in the musical line. Because Busoni removed the climax of the Elegy, the section in mm. 113-123 arrives earlier and in a different key than in the Elegy. Whereas the Elegy remained entirely in D major at this point, Busoni exploits the instability of the third relationship between F major and D major in this section in the Fantasia to create an expectation for large-scale continuation. Aside from these major changes, there are few other differences between the third Elegy and the Chorale Prelude of the Fantasia. In mm. 1-13 of the Fantasia, Busoni adds tremolos in the left hand to help sustain the opening sonorities. From mm. 3-6, the arrival on D is expanded by almost four bars. The arrival on A in m. 11 is also elongated by a measure and supported by an alternation between D major and minor harmonies (in place of the Elegy’s simple open D major sound in the left hand). Altogether, these changes suggest that Busoni desired a more sustained and impressive sound for the opening measures of the Fantasia, whose grand dimensions call for an impressive entrance-way. The right hand in mm. 6-8 differs from the original published version of the Elegy as per the instructions given by Busoni in a letter to Egon Petri, requesting that the original G, Bb, C, F, D, D be altered to F, Ab, G, C, A, D. ’ 6  In mm.  45-46 and mm. 47-48, Busoni adds the ascending octave D-D in the upper voice in an echo the closing interval of mm. 4 1-44. In m. 128, Busoni adds a third extra statement of the arpeggio  6!  Beaumont, Selected Letters, p. 97. 51  first presented in m. 126. A more interesting change is made in m. 179. In the corresponding place in the Elegy, there is simply a B major chord in the upper registers, followed by a B minor chord in the same register two measures later. For the Fantasia, Busoni augments the major/minor mixture in these two measures with a sigh motif reminiscent of another work based on Bach. A few months before the composition of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, Busoni had composed a Fantasia nach Bach (which is also a set of variations based on a Bach chorale) in memory of his recently-departed father. This work uses a motif consisting of three chords in quarter notes, marked with an articulation identical to the quarter-note chords in m. 181, and characterized by the word sospiro. It has already been noted that this entire section, from m. 146 on, contains physical and melodic references to Liszt’s etude which is also titled “Un Sospiro.” Although the majority of this closing section of the chorale variations was composed in 1907 before the death of his father, it seems not unreasonable to suggest that Busoni’s sense of loss infused this music with new meaning for him and inspired him to alter the chords in m. 179 and 181 in reference to this fact. It seems fitting that just before Busoni is about to plunge into one of his most intense encounters with Bach, in the form of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, that he should sigh for his father, who introduced him to the world of Bach as a child. The changes Busoni made to the Fuga a 3 Soggetti to create the first three fugues of the Fantasia are extensive. They can, however, be grouped into categories determined by the purpose for which Busoni made them (even though some changes are not done exclusively to achieve one purpose and sometimes numerous changes are made into order to achieve a single effect). By discussing some of Busoni’s alterations, insight can be acquired into the various ways Busoni envisions Bach’s work. Textural changes constitute the first category of changes to be addressed. These alter the  52  fabric of the work by adding (or subtracting) effects that are not primarily of harmonic or melodic interest; they include changes of register, octave doublings, dynamic indications, and other alterations that effect timbre and sonority on the piano, and constitute what might be called “pianistic orchestration.” Another similar category of change is the addition of new voices (beyond new voice-doublings) not originally in the Fuga a 3 Soggetti. Since the addition of new voices alters the nature of the texture itself, these two types of change will be discussed simultaneously, but will be considered as distinct operations. The opening of Fugue I provides examples of both types of change. In mm. 212-219 Busoni adds a new bass voice, with twofold purpose. It anchors the opening of the fugue in the key of D minor by activating the lowest registers and by ending on a sustained low D pedal point. It also presents a modified form of the Art ofFugue subject, which will re-emerge later as the key to finishing Fugue IV at the end of the Fantasia. This theme statement is also quite similar to the Art ofFugue theme-variant first used in Contrapunctus VI of the Art ofFugue. In mm. 220-221, Busoni continues with even lower D and A bass pedals, thereby intensifying the sensation that the upper voices, although moving, are suspended from development by the weight and stability of the pedal harmony. These alterations lend to the opening of Fugue I a feeling that the spirit of the music rises gradually from great depths. The low D’s also give the fugue’s opening measures an introductory character and prepare the listener for a substantial musical journey. The entry of the inversion of the subject in m. 223, beat 3 which breaks the pedal point, is given in octaves; this keeps the lowest registers activated and gives the bass motion a feeling of inertia and reluctance. The sense that all of the voices are now gradually beginning to move upwards is increased subtly at m. 232 where the Alto entry of the subject is presented in octaves and marked dolce. This entry provides a halfway point between the depths of the opening and  53  the culmination of the ascending motion that will soon occur. Beginning at m. 245, beat 3, the bass and then the other voices are all transposed up one octave. The tenor enters in its original register in m. 256. The bass regains its original register in m. 257 after alterations to the notes in m. 256. The upper voices however all continue in the higher registers until m. 265. These register changes increase the sense of climax achieved at m. 260, where the upper voices reach their highest point and the distance between the outer voices is the greatest that it has been thus far in the fugue. However, this is not all that Busoni does to achieve a sense of culmination at m. 260. In m. 250, the portato A’s on beats 3 and 4 were originally half notes suspended across the bar line into m. 251. The new voices added in mm. 251 and 252 echo the repeated A’s in lower registers, adding poignancy to the slight deflation in the musical line before the build-up to the arrival at m. 260. At m. 256, a new voice added in the tenor continues until m. 259. The end of this addition provides a notable example of another kind of alteration that Busoni makes to Bach’s score: additions or alterations that foreshadow material from later fugues. In this case, Busoni foreshadows the subject of Fugue III, the B-A-C-H subject. In m. 258 beat 3 to m. 259 beat 2.5, at the end of the added voice, Busoni uses the B-A-C-H motive in its original form in transposition. In many other places, Busoni has altered notes in Bach’s fugue chromatically to give--if not actual instances of the B-A-C-H motive--emphatic movement by semitone and often a wavering between major and minor that is somewhat reminiscent of the B-A-C-H motive. This kind of alteration has already occurred several times earlier in the fugue (m. 222, tenor; m. 232, tenor; mm. 235-7 soprano of the original, which now looks like the alto because of octave doublings; etc.) Sitsky also notes these kinds of changes in his discussion of the Fantasia, suggesting that they “prepare the ear for the transition from Bach to Busoni, with its wild  54  62 chromaticisms.” Another category of alteration is exemplified at the climax at m. 260 in the form of rhythmic alterations caused by suspensions. The first example of this species of change occurs earlier, in the tenor at m. 234, where G is suspended over the barline and the notes F, G and A are modified rhythmically into a three eighth-note figure beginning on the second half of the first beat. Beginning at m. 260, Busoni makes substantial use of this alteration in the lower right hand voice and in the lowest bass voice. The effect is to free the texture rhythmically, very much in the improvisatory style of Bach’s chorale preludes. It also hints subtly at the coming second fugue subject with its flowing eighth notes. Observation of all of the changes Busoni has made to Bach’s original composition shows that they are structured to support his interpretation of the piece and to emphasize features already inherent in the piece’s construction. The different kinds of changes exemplified in the above analysis--changes to the texture, addition of new voices, references to the B-A-C-H motto, and rhythmic alterations--are used throughout the transcription section of the Fantasia. The discussion above can serve (and suffice) as an example and guide to how these sections of the Fantasia could be closely examined. A thorough commentary on all the changes would constitute a very substantial document, and is beyond the scope of this discussion, but the preceding remarks and examples summarize the kinds of changes and effects that were integral to Busoni’s achievement in this portion of the piece. All of Busoni’s changes are listed (by measure) in the Appendix, with brief descriptions (but without thorough commentary or concordance). This listing serves principally as an aid to readers who want to know where Busoni made changes; the brief descriptions  62  Sitsky, Busoni and the Piano, pp. 144 and 147. 55  provided in the appendix cannot always tell the whole story, especially when multiple sorts of alterations are at work, or when a series of alterations produces a large overall effect, but readers who study the places in question will be able to use the descriptions as a point of departure for their own observations and conclusions.  §6.2 Contrappuntistica  Of Busoni’s five different paths to the harmony of the future, the fourth and fifth ways-- which he describes as “anarchy” and “the birth of a new key system”--are not applicable to a discussion of the innovative techniques used in the Fantasia. From Busoni’s comments about the anarchical path, we can gather that he held it in contempt and expected that it would lose appeal for other composers as well. The birth of a new key system, on the other hand, is described by Busoni as a future attainment, not as a present or imminent reality. The other three methods--namely keeping voices independent in polyphony, forming chords according to customary scales, and using the symmetrical inversion of harmonies--are all vividly exemplified in the final section of the Fantasia, the Stretta. This section employs the technique of keeping voices independent in polyphony, and much of it is also a transcription of material from Contrapunctus XI from the Art ofFugue. The Stretta thereby exemplifies a confluence of the techniques described in the preceding “Fantasia” section with those to be discussed in this section. Busoni’s decision to transcribe sections of Contrapunctus XI for use in the Stretta was clearly not random. Contrapunctus XI contains some of Bach’s more daring harmonic innovations and is one of the most exhilarating pieces in the entire Art ofFugue. About half of  56  the Stretta is transcribed and adapted from Contrapunctus XI. The following table shows the correspondences between the material as it appears in Busoni’s work and its original placement in the Contrapunctus.  Table 2. Outline of the derivation of the Stretta from Contrapunctus XI from the Art ofFugue.  Stretta  Contrapunctus Xl  First four bars of the Stretta are adapted  mm. 89 (beat 4) 92 -  from the Bass line of the corresponding bars in the Contrapunctus mm. 798 (beat 4) 807  mm. 89 {beat 4) 99  mm. 808 813 (beat 4)  mm. 120- 125 (beat 4)  mm. 815(beat2)-818  mm. 158(beat2)- 161  -  -  -  145  mm. 819 822  mm. 142  mm. 823-826  mm. 168- 170  -  -  Busoni’s transcriptions maintain the length of the original passages, except that the second entry on the table includes a small internal cut: mm. 92-93 from the Contrapunctus are rewritten and compressed into one measure, m. 801 of the Stretta. The transcribed excerpts, drawn from an 82measure span in the Contrapunctus, are more-or-less adjacent in the Stretta, spanning 28 consecutive measures with very little in the way of additional linking material; the original order is largely maintained in the elliptical transcription, except that the passage based on mm. 158-161 from the Contrapunctus precedes the one based on mm. 142-145. Busoni’s reworking of the material from the Contrapunctus takes three different forms. First, some material is transposed, to accord with the key scheme of the Stretta. For instance, in mm. 811-813 of the Stretta, the right hand is altered to close the section in Eb minor, rather than  57  the D minor of the corresponding Contrapunctus passage. Consequently, mm. 815-818, based on the final statement of the principal subject of Contrapunctus XI (itself derived from the Art of Fugue theme and here presented in inversion), are transcribed up a semitone into Eb minor, to continue from the Eb minor arrival in m. 813. A second way in which Busoni reworks material from the Contrapunctus involves smoothing the musical line to create more forward momentum. This is necessary because the Stretta’s characteristic function is acceleration toward the conclusion of the piece. Busoni accomplishes the desired new effect by continuing sequential patterns in places where Bach had originally broken them up. The aforementioned conflation of Bach’s mm. 92-93 into a single bar provides a case in point: Busoni simply continues modulating upwards in m. 801 in the same sequential pattern as the previous two bars. Similarly, in mm. 805-807, Busoni uses the upper voice of Bach’s m. 97 and then continues the same sequence, extensively modifying mm. 98-99 from Bach’s original, to cut directly to the cadence in Bach’s m. 120. The continuation of these sequential passages unifies the Stretta and gives it a suitably turbulent and forceful shape. The last type of reworking employed by Busoni is more subtle and also more pertinent to the idea of expanding Bach’s harmonic language. By extending the sequence upward through mm. 800-801, continuing with roughly the same interval structure as m. 799, Busoni enters harmonic terrain that Bach had avoided by means of the cadential material in mm. 92-93. This becomes especially apparent between beat three of m. 800 and the downbeat of m. 801, where the implied harmonies, over the ascending bass Eb-E-F, are a G#/Ab minor triad chord in second inversion, a half-diminished seventh chord on E, and an augmented triad on F. The harmonic progression results from continuing the voice-leading progressions in each voice without concern for the constraints of Bach’s harmonic idiom. Busoni probably regarded the two measures of  58  cadence at mm. 92-93 as an unnecessary interruption with which Bach hampered himself because of the harmonic limitations of his day. Another instance of this technique occurs in mm. 805806. The different strands of the polyphony--particularly the outer voices--seem to move with little regard for the harmonic consistency or normative progression, and with concern only for their own internal structure. The left hand presents a series of descending tritones, while the soprano line iterates the B-A-C-H motive in two transposed inversions: F#-G-E-F then D#-E C#-D. By focusing principally on the intervallic structure in the individual polyphonic strands, and thus liberating the incidental harmony from the control of convention, Busoni expands the palette of Bach’s musical ideas to create a harmonic whirlwind in the Stretta. Another path to realizing the harmony of the future lay in using discoveries that had already been made. Busoni felt that composers had overlooked vast opportunities for harmonic expansion by confining their attention chiefly to only two different scales:  We teach four-and-twenty-keys, twelve times the two series of Seven; but, in point of fact, we have at our command only two, the major and the minor key. The rest are merely transpositions. By means of the several transpositions we are supposed to get the different shades of the harmony; but this is an illusion. 63  A bit later, Busoni describes his own manner of overcoming this limitation:  I have made an attempt to exhaust the possibilities of the arrangement of degrees within the seven-tone scale; and succeeded, by raising and lowering the intervals, in establishing one  Busoni, Sketch ofa New Esthetics, p. 90. 63 59  hundred and thirteen different scales. 64  In fact, the opening Chorale Prelude section of the Fantasia provides what amounts to an essay in some of the different ways that Busoni’s scales can be used. Beginning at m. 132 there are a series of arpeggios in the right hand: six notes ascending, and then six notes descending, in each measure. The descending arpeggio in the second half of each measure always maintains some notes of the ascending arpeggio in the first half, and chromatically alters the others. In mm. 132137, if each of the six-note arpeggios are considered as members of a single scale collection, with the pedal tone providing the seventh note, four different scales with their own unique intervallic structure can be derived. They are:  1.  D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, Cb  =  1-2-2-1-2-l-(3)  2.  D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb, C  =  1-2-2-2-l-2-(2)  3.  D, Eb, F#, G, A, Bb, C  =  1-3-1-2-1-2-(2)  4.  D, E, F#, G, A, Bb, C  =  2-2-1-2-1-2-(2)  Scales 1 and 3 are rotated inversions of one another, but beyond that, the four scales are all distinct, and cannot be related by any other combinations of transposition, inversion, or rotation. Busoni’s right-hand arpeggios also take advantage of the fact that these scale collections can be presented as chains of thirds (minor or major), creating the impression--or perhaps the illusion-of superimposed or extended tertian harmonies. In fact, these measures and the scales derived  Ibid., p. 92. 64  60  from them indicate how Busoni developed some of his unique harmonic effects by using unconventional scalar patterns. Measures 13 8-142 continue in this vein, but present only six different pitches per half bar, leaving the seventh scale member undefined. Even so, these measures maintain the process of presenting a scalar structure as a stack of thirds in the first half of the bar and then altering it slightly to produce a new structure. Busoni’s comments in the Sketch ofa New Esthetic suggest that we should think of these apparently tertian harmonies as pseudo-harmonic presentations of different modes, connected by chromatic alteration, rather than as some kind of bi-chordal or extended harmony. The harmonic effect is an illusory form of presentation: the “chords,” half-familiar but brief and fleeting, are just the surface manifestation of the new modes that Busoni saw as providing a path to the future, and to music’s everincreasing liberty. The other path to the harmony of the future mentioned by Busoni involves the technique of symmetrical inversion developed by the German theorist Bernahard Ziehn. Ziehn spent the latter part of his career in Chicago, where Busoni met with him and discussed his new technique and also his ideas about the ending of the Fuga a 3 Soggetti. Ziehn’s final work, Canonical Studies/A new Technic [sic] in Composition, published posthumously in 1912, explores in depth--and with dozens of examples--the implications of symmetrical inversion. The premise of symmetrical inversion is simple: polyphonic writing should not be constricted by the harmonic constraints of classical tonality but should rather develop according to the intervallic structure of the musical idea. Classical part-writing had made the intervallic structure of a musical idea subsidiary in importance to the harmonic implications that result from its combination with other voices; in a canon in inversion, for instance, the intervals may often be changed at some point to maintain the integrity of the key. Ziehn proposed that by making the intervallic structure primary  61  in such instances, new harmonic possibilities would arise and could potentially be of great use to composers. By suggesting this reversal of priority between the individual parts and their manner of combination, Ziehn hoped to renew interest in polyphonic writing among composers, rather than have it be merely the province of academics. After meeting with Ziehn, Busoni was quick to appreciate and exploit the potential in Ziehn’s idea. Busoni had been an avid polyphonist from his early youth, and remarked that the study of counterpoint “was a mania with me and at least one Fugato actually comes into every one of my youthful works.” 65 In the Fantasia Contrappuntistica, the clearest example of symmetrical inversion occurs in the Intermezzo, in a passage Busoni gave the extraordinary marking “visionario.” This passage, in mm. 573-58 1, involves an elaborate multi-canonic treatment of the B-A-C-H motive, moving essentially in half-note values. The Dux (leading voice) enters on the second half of m. 573, starting on Bb in the right hand, and is paired with a simultaneous parallel Dux statement starting on D, a minor sixth lower. The Comes (answering voice) enters a half note later, on the downbeat of m. 574, starting on Eb, a fifth lower than the Dux, and it too is paired with a simultaneous statement, starting on G, a fifth below the parallel Dux statement; the interval between the two parallel Comes statements is inverted registrally so that the minor sixth of the Dux pair becomes a major third in the Comes pair. The majority of the four bars are presented over a C pedal point in the lowest register. A second presentation of this elaborate canon is then given in inversion, in two senses: the subject is inverted intervallically, and the order of entries is also inverted registrally. Relative to the former Dux entries, the interval of inversion is the tritone. The Dux is now presented in the left hand beginning on the second half of m. 577,  65  Busoni, The Essence ofMusic, p. 48. 62  starting on E (a tritone away from the original Dux), and with a simultaneous parallel Dux starting on G# (likewise a tritone from the original parallel Dux). The Comes enters on the downbeat of m. 578 in the right hand, now starting on B, a fifth higher (instead of lower) than the Dux, and the simultaneous parallel Comes starts on D#, a fifth higher than the parallel Dux. The Dux entries are now in the left hand, and the Comes in the right, giving another (registral and manual) form of inversion relative to the first canon. The inverted double canon unfolds over a low C# in the bass, which is the end-point of a massive C-B-D-C# transposed statement of the BA-C-H motive that was initiated by the pedal C beneath the first double canon. Beneath the sustained right-hand sonority (with trills) that follows the double canon in mm. 58 1-83, Busoni appends to the bass C# another transposed B-A-C-H statement: C#-C-Eb-D (with F-E-G-F# added in parallel with it, and both motives doubled in octaves). Thus from m. 573 we hear two successive motive statements controlling the lowest register, C-B-D-C# and C# C-Eb-D, moving the bass up a whole tone overall, from C to D. Looking back at the harmonic sketch in Figure 5, we see only an inverted D 4/2 harmony in m. 573 and a root position D seventh chord (with diminished fifth, Ab) atm. 585. Overall, the complexities of the canonic devices in the Intermezzo serve to invert the D 4/2 harmony at m. 573 to a root position D chord at m. 585 and to alter the fifth of that chord by introducing Ab (the trilled note in mm. 58 1-83). The resultant harmony at m. 583 (D, F#, Ab, C) is a dominant (with diminished 5th) of G and also Db (by virtue of its symmetry and enharmonic equivalence), and it thus serves to strengthen the association of these two tritone-related keys. This is a further manifestation of the idea of tritone association, already mentioned (in connection with Figure 5) as one of the prominent types of relation in the Fantasia. Many of the canonical techniques mentioned above in connection with the Intermezzo are  63  not original to Bernhard Ziehn or Busoni. 66 However, the use of more classic canonic techniques in combination with Ziehn’s technique, which retains the intervallic integrity of the musical lines, distinguishes this music from its predecessors. The resultant harmonies in each double canon usually belong to alternating whole-tone collections, creating an ethereal sensation of harmonic suspension. In both double canons, the whole-tone harmonies start “even” and alternate “odd,” but the first canon transpires over the C pedal, while the second unfolds over the C# pedal, so the alternating relation of the harmonies to the pedal is also reversed from the first canon to the second. Busoni’s visionario canons, derived from Ziehn’s new technique, point the way to a reinvigorated approach to counterpoint, which Busoni believed would bring the music of the future one step closer.  §7 Concluding Remarks  Transcription is sometimes regarded as one of the lower mediums of musical expression. The bias against transcription has its roots in a particular type of response to the early nineteenthcentury transcriptions and fantasias by Liszt and Thalberg, among others, of operatic works. This response sees these works as being interested only in developing and exploiting more and more virtuosic effects. The bias against transcription, if held, seems to be one against an apparent focus on appearance in these works, on the surface details of their musical expression. This focus on appearance seems derivative and uninterested in the more profound aspects of musical  66  Dr. Gregory Butler pointed out to me in conversation the remarkable similarities between the canonical techniques used in this passage and those used, particularly towards the end, of the Fugue in Bb minor from Book II of Bach’s Well-Tempered Kiavier. This Fugue, similar in its techniques to the Intermezzo down to the use of thirds and sixths in the canons and inversions, serves well to point out both the indebtedness Busoni owed to his studies of Bach and also the remarkably different results achieved by the shift in focus from the tonal intervallic alterations in Bach’s working out of inversions and Busoni’s insistence on intervallic structural integrity in keeping with Ziehn’s technique. 64  creativity. Interestingly, other movements in music during the latter half of the twentieth century, which might be thought of as being in opposition to the aesthetic principles of nineteenth-century operatic transcriptions, have shown an almost obsessive attitude towards the appearance that music takes. For instance, some feel that music is best performed on instruments and using techniques belonging to the epoch in which it was written. Another example is the insistence that the printed score is the final authority when it comes to decisions to be made in the performance of music of the past. Both of these examples point towards a larger desire for the preservation of the past which is manifested in the fantastic number of museums, galleries, historical societies, etc. which are expressive of some of the modern world’s cultural attitudes. Busoni’s written works and compositions provide an interesting perspective on what transcription can be, as a musical process, and as a way to engage the past. Although Busoni clearly understood transcription as an activity that necessarily must focus on technical issues, be they compositional or performance-related, his greater concern was the way in which the works of the past are to be engaged in the present. A work of art for Busoni is not a relic to be revered as the remnant of some great mind in the past. Rather, the work of art is a manifestation of human spirit, the only purpose of which is to be engaged by the individual in as exuberant a manner as possible. This act, exemplified in the many guises in which Busoni thought transcription could be manifested, points towards the freedoms that he wished for the music of the future. The spirit in which Busoni perceives the act of transcription can be valuable in the life of any artist, to help avoid stagnation and despondency in the face of the many seemingly tyrannical forms that the world of appearance can seem to take. Instead, it admonishes us to actively revitalize the objects with which we interact as artists, and to fill them with the Spirit and imagination that it is our task to give.  65  Works Cited  Scores Busoni, Ferruccio. The Complete Elegies, the Six Sonatinas and Other Original Works for Solo Piano. New York: Dover, 1996.  Materials by Busoni Busoni, Ferruccio. “Die ‘Gotiker’ von Chicago, Illinois.” Signale für die Musicalische Welt, LXVIII/14: 6/4/10 Busoni, Ferruccio. The Essence ofMusic and Other Papers. Translated by Rosamond Ley. London: Rockliff, 1957. Busoni, Ferruccio. Sketch ofa New Esthetic ofMusic. Translated by Dr. Th. Baker. In Three Classics in the Aesthetics ofMusic. New York: Dover, 1962. [Reprint of the 1911 translation by Dr. Th. Baker.]  Books and Articles About Busoni Beaumont, Antony. Busoni the Composer. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985. Beaumont, Antony (ed. and trans.). Ferruccio Busoni: Selected Letters. London: Faber and Faber, 1987. Couling, Della. Ferruccio Busoni: “A Musical Ishmael.” Lanham, Md.: The Scarecrow Press, 2005. Dent, Edward J. Ferruccio Busoni: A Biography. London: Oxford University Press, 1933. Ley, Rosamond (trans.). Ferruccio Busoni: Letters to his Wife. New York: Da Capo Press, 1975. Roberge, Marc-André. “Ferruccio Busoni, His Chicago Friends, and Frederick Stock s t Transcription for Large Orchestra and Organ of the ‘Fantasia contrappuntistica’.” The Musical Quarterly 80/2 (Summer, 1996): 302-331. Sitsky, Larry. Busoni and the Piano. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986. Stuckenschmidt, H. H. Ferruccio Busoni: Chronicle ofa European. London: Calder and Boyers, 1970. [German original, 1967]  66  Miscellaneous Other Works Schonberg, Harold C. The Great Pianists. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987. Ziehn, Bernhard. Canonic Studies. London: Kahn & Averill, 1976.  67  Appendix A  List of Changes made to the Fuga a 3 Soggetti The following list contains brief descriptions of the changes made by Busoni to the Fuga a 3 Soggetti in his transcription for the Fantasia Contrappuntistica. The numbers at the beginning of each description refer to measures from the beginning of the Fantasia and not to Bach’s original. Where notes are listed, they likewise refer to they way they appear in Busoni’s work, not Bach’s. No attempt has been made to account for added ornaments, such as trills. In order to give some idea of the reasons for changes, letters will appear in parantheses before the descriptions, if applicable, corresponding to the following system:  (Q) References to or quotations of the BACH motive through alteration of notes. (T) Textural changes such as octave doublings, added voices, or registral changes. (NP) Added or removing neighbouring or passing tones (R) Rhythmic alterations Fugue I 206-9  Completion of Ubergang in upper voices  212-15 (T)  Variant of Art of Fugue theme in Bass  220-2 (T)  Low pedal A and D, pianissimo  221-3 (T,NP)  D-A motive in the bass, resolves to G# in 223  222  Tenor altered to C, B, C#, D  (Q)  223-8 (T)  Bass entry of Fugue I subject inversion in octaves  229  (NP)  Added lower F# in tenor, beat 3.5  232  (T)  Alto entry in octaves  232  (Q)  Tenor altered chromatically  233  (Q)  B natural in right hand altered from Bb  233-8 (T)  Added lowest voice which ascends from D up to A and then rejoins with the original bass line at m. 238.  234  Tenor altered to create suspension across 1St beat followed by three eighths rising.  (R)  68  235  (Q)  Bass altered on fourth beat to F natural.  235-7  (Q)  Alters soprano from 2nd beat of 235 to C#, D, C, Bb, A, Bb, B, C#, B, C#, D.  240  (NP)  Added A in tenor on beat 3  245-6 (T)  Beginning with the bass in m. 245 beat 3, all voices are displaced up one octave. The bass regains its original register by way of alterations in m. 256. The tenor enters in its original register in m. 256. The upper voices don’t reattain their original registers until m. 265.  250  Busoni anticipates the beginning of the bass sequence by 1 bar.  250  (T)  An alteration of the suspension in the soprano on A (beat 3-4 m. 250) introduces repeated G’s and C’s in m. 251-2 and 252-3 in lower voices.  256  (Q,T)  New added fifth voice in upper Bass Clef (beginning with Bb, Eb, G, C) continues to m. 259, beat 3  260-4 (R)  Suspensions and eighth notes added as per m. 234 in alto and bass  260  Eb in upper voice changed from E natural in original  262-3 (Q,T)  New voice added in lower voice, right hand.  265  (R)  Altered rhythm in alto  266  (NP)  Upper neighbour in alto changed to passing tone  27 1-4 (T,R)  Bass in octaves with rhythmic alterations  273  (T)  Alto voice has octave doubling  276  (Q)  Soprano chromatically altered  277  (R)  Soprano rhythmically altered  280  (R)  Suspensions added in alto in tenor (see m. 234)  281  (NP,R)  Run extended in alto, bass rhythmically altered (see m. 234)  282  (Q)  B natural in tenor, Alto changed to get rising fourth  283  (R)  Rising fourth echoed in tenor through rhythmic alteration  69  283-4 (NP,R)  Bass altered with lower neighbour and rhythmic changes  284  (NP)  Tenor, last beat, changed to C#  286  (NP,R)  Second beat in bass altered  287-8 (NP,R)  Tenor altered rhythmically and scale extended  288  m. 86-9 of Fuga a 3 Soggetti cut  289  (R)  Alto and Soprano rhythmically altered (see m. 234)  290  (R)  Bass rhythmically altered (see m. 234)  291  (R)  Soprano rhythmically altered (see m. 234)  292  (T,R)  Bass displaced down one octave for one bar, Soprano has added note, D, is rhythmically altered and is displaced down one octave for two bars  293  (NP,R)  Bass changed to G from Bb in first beat, soprano heavily elaborated in eighth notes  294  (R)  Bass, beat two eight notes changed to D, Eb. Soprano reinstated to original register.  295  (R)  Tenor and Soprano rhythmically altered  296  (Q)  Soprano and Alto chromatically altered  298  (NP,R)  Alto suspended from previous bar, added lower neighbour  299  (NP,R)  Soprano passing note Eb added  300  (NP,R)  Bass notes and rhythm altered  301  (R)  Soprano rhythm altered (see m. 234)  302  (NP, R)  Soprano has added sixteenth note ornament and added Eb in third beat  303  (NP,R)  Soprano adds eighth notes on second beat  304  (NP,R)  Alto Eb is alteration from original F natural, beat 1. Soprano escape tone Eb added  305  Alto beat 4, Ab changed from original A  70  306  (NP,R)  Alto rhythm altered (see m. 234), tenor escape tone F added, beat 3.5  307  (Q,T)  Tenor and Alto voices fused into single inner voice and chromatically altered  308  Soprano F# is an alteration from original F natural.  309  (T)  Fifth inner voice added (stepwise eighths in lower right hand) until m. 312  310  (NP)  Alto chromatic passing tone added, Ab in beat 3  Fugue II  315  (T)  Modified form of the motive from beginning of Fantasia presented in small notes  322  (T)  Same type of alteration as m. 315, using right hand notes from mm. 6-8 (beat 1) with last two notes altered  325  (NP,R)  Beat 2, Alto chromatic passing tone added  329  Same type of alteration as mm. 315 and 322, using variants of right hand notes from mm. 8 (beat 4)- 11.  331  (Q)  Alto beat 2 Ab changed from A in original.  332  (Q,NP)  Soprano and Alto altered to create an echo of the Alto from m. 331 in the Soprano and a chromatic scale in the Alto  336  (T)  Bass doubled in octaves until m.339  337  (NP)  Small note ascending third added in highest register  338 33 8-9  Soprano C originally E  (Q)  Soprano and Bass substantially altered to make BACH motives  341-3 (T)  Bass doubled in octaves  344  (NP,R)  Tenor altered to produce chromatic scale  345  (T)  Soprano raised one octave and marked quasi Flauto  348  (NP,R)  Tenor altered to produce descending chromatic scale  349  Tenor altered to make arch shape 71  351  (Q,T)  Bass raised one octave and modified to make quasi-BACH  352  (NP)  E in Bass makes 6/4 instead of original root position harmony, Soprano adds passing note C# on downbeat  353  (Q)  Tenor modified to produce BACH  355  (T)  Tenor Subject in octaves, Soprano changed to sequence until m. 357  354-5 (NP)  Bass altered on beat 4 of m. 354/355 to ElF  358  Introduction of fourth, inner voice (beginning A, G, F)  (T)  360-1  Four measures (m. 163-66 of Bach) cut  36 1-3 (T)  Top voice is new addition  368-70  m. 175-179 in Bach are cut and replaced with new material  371  (T)  Bass entry in octaves  374  (T)  Soprano entry, beat 3, in octaves  3 79-82 (T)  Additional inner voice in small eighth notes  Fugue III 394  (T)  Bass enters in octaves  396  (T)  Soprano down one octave  397  (T)  Alto down one octave  398  (T)  Bass raised one octave, causing an inversion of the counterpoint  401  (NP)  Passing note D between E and C# on beat 4.5 removed  402  (NP)  Alto modified to create descending chromatic line  405 409 415  Variante written above staff as Ossia (NP)  Bass presented in octaves Tenor altered to Eb, F, C (Eb, D, G in original) for reasons of playability  72  418  (T)  Fusion of Soprano and Tenor voices so that the tenor is in the highest register  420  Three measures cut (mm. 229-31) and replaced with a bar of new material  422-7  Expansion of 1.5 measures of the original (m. 233-234.5 in Bach)  73  Appendix B  THE UMVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA SCHOOL OF MUSIC Recital Hall Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2005 8:00 p.m.  DOCTORAL RECITAL* BRETT KINGSBURY, Piano  Aria mit Verschiednen Veranderungen BWV 988 (Goldberg Variations)  -  INTERMISSION  13 Preludes Op. 32  J.S. Bach (1685-1750)  -  Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)  1. Allegro Vivace 2. Allegretto 3. Allegro Vivace 4. Allegro con brio 5. Moderato 6. Allegro Appasionato 7. Moderato 8. Vivo 9. Allegro moderato 10. Lento 11. Allegretto 12. Allegro 13. Grave *111 partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree with a major in Piano Performance. 74  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA SCHOOL OF MUSIC Recital Hall Sunday, October 22, 2006 8:00 p.m.  DOCTORAL LECTURERECITAL* BRETT KINGSBURY, Piano  Lecture:  From Bach to Busoni: Transcription as Visionary Process in Ferruccio Busoni’s Fantasia Contrappuntistica  -  INTERMISSION  Fantasia Contrappuntistica (1910)  -  Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924)  Preludio Corale Fuga I Fuga II Fuga III Intermezzo Variation I Variation II Variation III Cadenza Fuga IV Corale Stretta *In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree with a major in Piano Performance.  75  


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