BBC Music Magazine

BACKGROUND TO…

Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924)

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In 1908, the Italian composer published six elegies for piano, which marked a distinct change in his compositio­nal voice. Hitherto he had written in a late-romantic style: with the Elegies, his harmonic language became bolder, and he experiment­ed with bitonality. He himself explained this change: ‘My entire personal vision I put down at last and for the first time in the Elegies.’ The following year he composed a ‘Berceuse’, which he added to his set of Elegies to make it a set of seven pieces: later still, he extended and orchestrat­ed his ‘Berceuse’, titling this Berceuse élégiaque.

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