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Published on 9 Nov 2008
Adolf Busch (1891-1952): violin Rudolf Serkin (1903-1991): piano Violin sonata n°5 in F major, Op.24 (spring) Recorded on 17th May, 1933 in Abbey Riad Studio n°3 Adolf Georg Wilhelm Busch (August 8, 1891 June 9, 1952) was a German-born violinist and composer. Busch was born in Siegen in Westphalia. He studied at the Cologne Conservatory with Willy Hess and Bram Eldering. His composition teacher was Fritz Steinbach but he also learnt much from his future father-in-law Hugo Grüters in Bonn. In 1912, Busch founded the Vienna Konzertverein Quartet, consisting of the principals from the Konzertverein orchestra, which made its debut at the 1913 Salzburg Festival. After World War I, he founded the Busch Quartet, which from the 192021 season included Gösta Andreasson, violin, Karl Doktor, viola, and Paul Grümmer, cello. The quartet was in existence with varying personnel until 1951. The additional member of the circle was Rudolf Serkin, who became Busch's duo partner at 18 and eventually married Busch's daughter, Irene. The Busch Quartet and Serkin became the nucleus of the Busch Chamber Players, a forerunner of modern chamber orchestras. In 1927, with the rise of Adolf Hitler, Busch decided he could not in good conscience stay in Germany, so he emigrated to Basel, Switzerland. (Busch was not Jewish and was popular in Germany, but firmly opposed Nazism from the beginning.) On 1 April 1933 he repudiated Germany altogether and in 1938 he boycotted Italy. On the outbreak of World War II, Busch emigrated from Basel to the United States, where he eventually settled in Vermont. There, he was one of the founders with Rudolf Serkin of the Marlboro Music School and Festival. The Busch Quartet was particularly admired for its interpretations of Brahms, Schubert, and above all Beethoven. It made a series of recordings in the 1930s that included many of these composers' works for string quartet. In 1941, it set down three Beethoven quartets that it had not previously recorded, including Opus 130. The Busch Quartet never recorded the Grosse Fuge, Opus 133; an arrangement was recorded by the Busch Chamber Players, with Busch leading from the first violin desk. Busch was a great soloist, as well as a chamber musician, and live recordings exist of him playing the Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorák and Busoni Concertos, as well as the Brahms Double Concerto. In the studio he recorded concertos by Bach and Mozart, as well as the Brandenburg Concertos by Bach and the Concerti grossi, op.6, by Handel. He had a highly individual tone and great technique. Among his students were Stefi Geyer, Erica Morini and Yehudi Menuhin. As a composer, Busch was influenced by Max Reger. He was among the first to compose a Concerto for Orchestra, in 1929. A number of his compositions have been recorded, including the Violin Concerto, String Sextet and Quintet for Saxophone and String Quartet. He was the brother of the eminent conductor Fritz Busch and of the cellist Hermann Busch, and grandfather to the pianist Peter Serkin.