The Life of an Honest Musician
Volume 1: 1891–1939
Volume 2: 1939–1952; Appendices 1–12
Includes two CDs: Busch the Performer; Busch the Composer
Musicians' Lives (non-ISSN series)
Extent: 1432 pages
Size: 16.4 x 24.1 x 10.7 cm
Weight: 3.43 kg
Published: August 2010
Composition: Royal octavo, 2 vols of 702 & 730 pp.
Illustrations: 145 & 87 b/w
This is the first-ever full-length biography of the German violinist and composer Adolf Busch (1891-1952). Leader of the legendary Busch Quartet, Adolf Busch was for many the finest violinist of his day. This monumental publication chronicles his life in detail, from his earliest days as a child prodigy in Westphalia, his meteoric career as one of Germany's most thoughtful and expressive musicians, his friendship with Max Reger and other composers, his foundation of the Busch String Quartet, the concert tours which established a loyal following in Britain, Italy and elsewhere, his refusal to perform in Nazi Germany, to his emigration to the United States and his subsequent activities there. Appendices examine Busch as a teacher, his career in the recording studio, his playing of the viola, his compositions, and much more. Two CDs present a selection of unpublished Busch performances and another of his compositions. Tully Potter has been working on this biography for quarter of a century now, and his massive labour-of-love will rank alongside the late Peter Heyworth's Klemperer biography as one of the classics of its kind – and the mirror of an entire age.
[…] This is a magisterial account of Busch's life and times, and it is impossible to imagine anything surpassing it. But this is only part of its substance. Tully Potter's substantial detours into the lives and attitudes of colleagues and contemporaries, are of equivalent value. There are fascinating discussions about Fürtwangler, Tovey, Serkin and Casals for example, which add an unusual and variegated richness. The detailed biographical portraits of Busch's family and colleagues in Volume II further augment this wealth of detail. […]