Next month, Toccata Press publishes “Adolf Busch: The Life of an Honest Musician” by Tully Potter, and for once a biography’s title under-hypes its subject.
Recent CD reprints from Music & Arts, along with exemplary EMI recordings of Bach, Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn show the violinist and composer to be a great musician indeed. Busch’s pure and unaffected approach is especially moving in music which benefits from simplicity and directness, like Schubert, Busch’s recordings of whom are also available from Appian Publications & Recordings.
Although a so-called “Aryan” musician, Busch was a ferocious anti-Nazi and staunch philosemite. Potter explains that the early 1930s in Germany was a “time when choices could still be made.” The ardent Nazi conductor Karl Böhm announced in 1938 Vienna: “As long as there is still one Jew living in [Austria], I’ll not pick up my baton.” Career opportunists like Swiss pianist Edwin Fischer declared, after Jewish musicians were banned from performing, “now that the Jews are no longer allowed to play, the golden era begins for us.”
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