Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Beaumont, Antony. Review of Albrecht Riethmüller's Ferruccio Busonis Poetik.Music and Letters 70 (1989): 571-74.

Riethmüller aims to outline Busoni thought patterns by analyzing two works, the Second Violin Sonata, Op. 36a, completed in 1898, and the Improvisation for Two Pianos on Bach's Chorale-Song 'Wie wohl ist mir,' composed in 1916. The Improvisation reworks material from the Second Violin Sonata. The structure of the variations in the third movement of the violin sonata is modeled on Beethoven's Piano Sonata, Op.109. Riethmüller misses the fact that the opening notes of the Bach chorale are identical to the bass line of Beethoven's variation theme, and hence serve in Busoni's sonata as a good example of Busoni's idea of "the Oneness of Music." Riethmüller points out the "latent characteristic of quotation in Busoni's music," and discovers the borrowing of sketches for an unfinished piano work in the chorale variations and the borrowing from Bach's Trauerode, BWV 198 in the opening of Busoni's third movement. Riethmüller analyzes the Improvisation in terms of borrowing from the violin sonata, calling it obscurer, more aggressive, and more enigmatic. But the relationship of the two works is more like "that of a healthy mother to a very sickly child," since the average listener does not know its antecedent in detail and since some passages are incoherent and illogical.

Works: Busoni: Second Violin Sonata, Op. 36a, (571-73), Improvisation for Two Pianos on Bach's Chorale-Song 'Wie wohl ist mir' (573).

Sources: J.S. Bach: "Wie wohl ist mir" from Notenbuch für Anna Magdalena Bach (571), Trauerode, BWV 198 (572), Beethoven: Piano Sonata, Op. 109 (571), Busoni: Second Violin Sonata, Op. 36a (573).

Index Classifications: 1800s, 1900s

Contributed by: Daniel Bertram

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