Ferruccio Busoni and His Legacy

Ferruccio Busoni and His Legacy

Erinn E. Knyt
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 05/22/2017
Format: Hardback 21 b&w illus., 30 music exx., 9 tables
ISBN: 978-0-253-02628-6
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Many students of renowned composer, conductor, and teacher Ferruccio Busoni had illustrious careers of their own, yet the extent to which their mentor’s influence helped shape their success was largely unexplored until now. Through rich archival research including correspondence, essays, and scores, Erinn E. Knyt presents an evocative account of Busoni's idiosyncratic pedagogy—focused on aesthetic ideals rather than methodologies or techniques—and how this teaching style and philosophy can be seen and heard in the Nordic-inspired musical works of Sibelius, the unusual soundscapes of Varèse, the polystylistic meldings of music and technology in Louis Gruenberg's radio operas and film scores, the electronic music of Otto Luening, and the experimentalism of Philip Jarnach. Equal parts critical biography and interpretive analysis, Knyt’s work compels a reconsideration of Busoni's legacy and puts forth the notion of a "Busoni School" as one that shaped the trajectory of twentieth-century music.

Author Bio

Erinn E. Knyt is Assistant Professor of Music History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Knyt specializes in 19th- and 20th-century music, aesthetics, and performance studies and has written extensively about Ferruccio Busoni. She has articles in the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, the Journal of Musicological Research, American Music, the Journal of Musicology, the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, and Twentieth Century Music.


“Erinn Knyt’s Ferruccio Busoni and His Legacy is a most welcome addition to the literature on Busoni as a fine example of research based on primary sources. ”
 — Bach

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Table of Contents

1. Unconventional Maestro
2. Janus-Faced Modernism
3. New Instruments, New Sounds, and New Musical Laws
4. From Opera to Film
5. New Sonic Landscapes
5. New Music of the Weimar Republic
7. Conclusions: "Passing the Torch"
Selected Bibliography