Tamara Levitz


Ferruccio Busoni's Master Class in Composition

Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 1996.
European University Studies,
Series 36 [Musicology], vol. 152.

ZURICH 1918-1920


Ferruccio Busoni's master class in composition in Berlin from 1921 to 1924 has long been a neglected aspect of Busoni research. This study fills that lacuna by reconstructing the master class and Busoni's teachings of New Classicality on the basis of extensive archival research. Unpublished correspondence, writings, musical manuscripts, governmental records, and diaries, as well as the stories told by surviving students served as primary sources in establishing the cultural, political, and economic context of the master class, examining its educational content, and evaluating Busoni's relationships with and possible influence on students such as Kurt Weill and Wladimir Vogel. The resulting story offers new light on a vital aspect of cultural life in Berlin during the early Weimar Republic.

Tamara Levitz was born in Montréal, Canada. After completing a Master of Arts in Musicology, French Literature, and German Literature at the Technische Universität in Berlin, she attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where she received her Ph.D. in Musicology in 1994. She is currently Professor of Musicology at Universty of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Introduction [p-15-17]

In July 1920 Leo Kestenberg, consultant on musical affairs for the Prussian Ministerium fiir Kunst, Wissenschaften, und Volksbildung, persuaded his former piano teacher Ferruccio Busoni to take over the master class in composition at the esteemed Akademie der Kiinste in Berlin. Although by 1920 Busoni had already composed a large body of works and transcribed and edited many of Bach's keyboard compositions, his fame still rested largely upon his reputation as a performer and piano pedagogue. The appointment at the Akademie der Künste represented the highest recognition as a composer that Busoni had ever achieved. From his return to Berlin in 1921 until his death in 1924, Busoni taught at least nine selected students in his master class in composition: Luc Balmer, Robert Blum, Erwin Bodky, Walter Geiser, Hans Hirsch, Heinz Joachim-Loch, Svetislav Stancic, Wladimir Vogel, and Kurt Weill. Beyond training in composition, Busoni taught his students about literature and art and imparted to them an artistic and musical philosophy that would have a remarkable impact on their subsequent artistic endeavours. Through them, Busoni helped to shape the course of music in the twentieth century.
Busoni's master class has yet to become the subject of a detailed study. Until now, basic information concerning class format, assignments and performances, method of teaching, music studied, even the students involved each semester and their backgrounds, has been lacking. Lacunae in our knowledge of a key aspect of Busoni's last years reflect a larger problem of Busoni research: primary documents in Busoni's NachlaS and other collections have not been accessible; scholars have necessarily relied on secondary literature, seldom trustworthy, often biased and vague. Scholars had erroneously identified Philipp Jarnach and Dimitri Mitropoulos as members of the master class, for example, and unfairly equated the New Classicality so central to Busoni's last years with Neoclassicism. Because of his mixed Italian-German heritage Busoni was especially vulnerable to the nationalistic conflicts and Cold War politics that divided Europe and distanced America in this century; his papers were scattered around the world, and a unified tradition of Busoni scholarship failed to develop. In the Federal German and German Democratic Republics, Italy, England, and, to a much lesser extent, America and Switzerland, musicologists established largely independent and parochial traditions of Busoni research, based on different aspects of his life and works and limiting themselves more than customary to their own archives, collections, and musicological traditions. These isolated groups of researchers seldom communicated with one other and often conflicted in political ideology and aesthetics. Busoni scholarship has remained in a lamentable state: "Nothing is done", Albrecht Riethmüller recently concluded (alluding to Busoni's Doktor Faust), "everything must be started."
The researcher approaching the subject of Busoni's master class can draw together the disparate threads that make up the story of his last years only by reviewing a wide range of secondary literature in several languages, by tracing the origin of myths about the composer, and by gairung access to primary documents. Busoni philology begins in 1916, when Hugo Leichtentritt introduced Busoni's compositional oeuvre to the German public in the first published biography of the composer. With his astute commentaries Leichtentritt defended Busoni from his critics, who had scorned the pianist's seemingly unrealizable compositional dreams. Leichtentritt wrote his book before commencement of the master class, however, and included no discussion of Busoni's role as a teacher of composition, or, of course, the major works of his last years. Leichtentritt reflected on a scholarly level the image Busoni had created of himself as a suffering, isolated genius who had strong moral convictions and little interest in material matters. Except for the 1921 edition of «Musikblätter des Anbruch» and occasional articles in the new music journal, «Melos», the vast majority of publications on Busoni during his lifetime were memoirs written by acquaintances, intimate friends, adoring fans, or students, who unfortunately often presented highly subjective opinions. They wrote their memoirs with ulterior motives, faulty memories, or attributions to Busoni of thoughts and opinions that were not his own. They often used poetic, euphoric, laudatory, or romantic language, rarely cited sources for information or location of materials, and repeatedly blurred the boundaries between fact and fiction. Many of Busoni's students and friends in Germany, including Kurt Weill, Michael van Zadora, Max Dessoir, and Margarete Klinckerfuss, wrote such essays and personal recollections, as did supporters in En and, including Bernard van Dieren, Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, and Cecil Grey. In Italy friends and students such as Gino Tagliapietra, Felice Boghen, Arrigo Serato, Alfredo Casella, Guido Gatti, and Guido Guerrini also issued their personal recollections. Although Busoni himself rejected many of these "studies", they are worth reading today because, when used with due caution, they provide a wealth of firsthand information, including accounts of personal encounters, recorded conversations, private letters, memories of his piano concerts, and impressions of the premieres of his orchestral works and operas. They also testify to Busoni's overwhelming charisma and powerful influence on his contemporaries, whose adoring words formed the basis of the many myths about the composer that circulated after his death.
Gisella Selden-Goth's writings stand out among these subjective studies by those who knew Busoni. In her highly personal biography of Busoni from 1922, Gisella Selden-Goth discussed for the first time Busoni's compositional teaching. She romanticized her lessons with Busoni, however, by equating them to a spiritual experience, comparing Busoni to Goethe, and emphasizing his personal influence on his students as the most important aspect of his teaching. In her introduction to the biography she stated what could well be seen as the unstated program of many of the studies on Busoni written at the time: "I wrote this book about Ferruccio Busoni. I would like to see it as a subjective confession. I attempt nothing other than to capture the endless variety of impressions I had of his person and to understand the way he has influenced my thinking with such great intensity for so many years.... My book is not factual and doesn't intend to be." Although Busoni repudiated Selden-Goth's biography, it was translated into several languages and was instrumental in establishing the image of Busoni as a spiritual "priest" unaffected by the materialistic world. This romanticized interpretation of Busoni dominated the secondary literature and deterred many scholars from examining Busoni with more objective means. [...]

ZURICH 1918-1920

When the First World War ended in November 1918, Ferruccio Busoni was nearing the end of his third year of residence in Zurich. His exile had begun in the midst of war in September 1915, when a dispute with his American manager M. R. Hanson and the desire to fight for the survival of European culture had drawn him back from America. He had hoped to return to Germany, but when Italy entered the war in 1915 German authorities had prohibited him from returning. Parodoxically, the Italian authorities also began to view him with distrust because he had spent most of his adult life as a resident of Germany. Thus Busoni had settled in Zurich, where, despite the war, international culture had continued to thrive among a large emigre community of artists, musicians and writers. Busoni enjoyed great artistic success, a comfortable lifestyle, and a close circle of friends while in Zurich, yet always felt limited by the Swiss environment. After the war Zurich's artistic community quickly dwindled as siccome many artists and musicians returned to their homes, and Busoni wanted to leave, too. He wrote his friend Isidor Philipp, «Zurich is so stripped of all that made it tolerable during the 'good' years of the war, that one says good-bye without regret. A pale autumn has descended on the city, it would be very sad triste to have to stay. Nevertheless, it is always a painful process to leave (that's what I've been doing all my life).» [20 agosto 1920]
In fall 1918 Busoni, like civilians everywhere, faced the painful process of reestablishing his life, reuniting his family, and regaining his livelihood after years of European conflict that had disrupted his work and destroyed his plans. At first he felt honored by the many offers he received from all over Europe and the world. He quickly discovered, however, that academic institutions, cultural organizations, and concert agencies perceived him almost exclusively as a pianist showing little interest in his compositional achievements, and wanting him only to perform. He had long resisted being identified only as a virtuoso. During the years in Zurich he had devoted more time to composition and strengthened his long-held conviction that piano-playing was secondary to his main vocation as a composer. [Busoni's lifelong ambition to be a composer is documented clearly in his letters to Breitkopf & Hartel which are housed in their archive in Wiesbaden. In 1896 Busoni had been profoundly grateful when Breitkopf & Härtel had decided to publish his compositions. He had admitted to his publishers that he most wanted to be a composer and confessed to them that he edited Liszt and Bach only to make a living. In 1913 Busoni had written them an extensive letter in which he had expressed his reasons for wanting to be considered a composer and not a planist.] Disillusioned with the «grinding keyboard-treadmill» [Tasten-Tretmühl - - to Vianna da Motta, 27.9.1916] he had told friends, «I am European and thank God much more a man among men than a virtuoso by profession.» [to H. Lanier 18.7.1915]. After the war he rejected many performing opportunities, including offers from South America, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Belgium. He told his close friend Edward Dent that he felt tired and disappointed , as if he had lost his youth. Afraid he was running out of time, he began to pursue his compositional projects with unprecedented urgency.
Although liberated by the opening of Europe's borders, Busoni was baffled about where to go. «Now where?» he asked Jella Oppenheimer, evoking the Heinrich Heine with whom he felt such an affinity, «my stupid feet want to take me to Germany.» [7.1.1918] Busoni missed Berlin, which had been his home for over twenty years, and where he had left all his possessions, including his collection of rare books. He felt most comfortable in the German language, deeply admired German culture, and had established himself as a musician there. Even before the war had ended he had begun negotiations to have his operas Arlecchino and Turandot performed in Mannheim, Hamburg, Wiesbaden, Hannover, Darmstadt, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Cologne, for example. [See letters to Klemperer.] In 1919 his friend Ludwig Rubiner [Rubiner moved back to Berlin in early 1919 and stayed at Busoni's apartment. See Rubiner's letters to Busoni from 30 March 1919; 8 July 1919; and 20 November 1919] had tempted him with reports from Berlin that his house and possessions were intact, that the Staatsoper would probably consider performing his operas, and that people were generally receptive towards him. Several organizations in Berlin were also performing and promoting his music.
Many factors prevented Busoni from immediately returning to Berlin in 1919. The Germans' unabashed enthusiasm for battle and aggressive militarism during the war had offended Busoni and caused him to lose faith in his former adopted homeland. He could not easily forget how the German press had attacked him and branded him as the «enemy» when Italy entered the war. Even his own publishers, Breitkopf & Härtel, had instituted nationalistic policies promoted military songs and war chorales, and failed to support him in his battle in 1917 and 1918 to win back the rights to his opera Die Brautwahl from the even more nationalistic German publishers, Harmonie. Busoni had become even more painfully aware of the frightening political tendencies in Germany when Hans Pfitzner attacked his Entwurf einer neuen Asthetik der Tonkunst, after it appeared in the Insel pocket book edition in 1917. Pfitzner, a staunch nationalist and war enthusiast, had accused Busoni of a lack of respect for both the German classics and for the German people. By 1919 the discussion had escalated into a full-scale musicological and political battle in the Frankfurter Zeitung, with Pfitzner and other nationalists taking sides against Busoni and his strongest advocate, Paul Bekker. Pfitzner's accusations profoundly offended Busoni, who did not attempt to hide his anger from friends, colleagues, and business associates. His resentment towards Germany increased in 1919 when his students Gottfried Galston and Philipp Jarnach reported that the musical climate in Munich was conservative, dominated by Pfitzner, the cult of Wagner, and Bayreuth. Frightened by news of strikes, revolution, chaos, hunger, and unbearable living conditions in Berlin, Busoni avoided Germany. [Concerning Busoni's feelings towards Berlin after the war, see Sergio Sablich Berlino, 27 luglio 1924: Busoni ist tot, in Il flusso del tempo: Scritti su Ferruccio Busoni, 45-57.]
Although personally and intellectually drawn to Germany, emotionally Busoni most wanted to return home to Italy. The war had made him more acutely aware that he was Italian, and he felt homesick for his place of birth Tuscany. Close friends and students were also encouraging him to return. Busoni's former student, Gino Tagliapietra, wrote, for example, that Mario Corti, Arrigo Serato, and he himself wanted Busoni to come back to Rome soon and that it was distressing that the greatest living Italian musician could not be living in Italy with those who loved him so much: «Come immediately to us, come quickly and give us the joy only you can give. Truly, we deeply want and need you.» [Gino Tagliapietra to Busoni, 27.3.1918]
Disappointed by Italy's involvement in the war and insulted by reports that his fellow Italians found him «too German», as well as attacks in the Italian press, Busoni hesitated to return to Italy. He was most disappointed by his failed attempts to establish himself as a composer in his homeland by having his works published by the most prominent Italian publishing house, Ricordi. Busoni's friend Arrigo Serato had acted as intermediary in the prolonged negotiations among Busoni, Tito Ricordi, and his representative, Clausetti. Rather than accept his compositional oeuvre, «Clemenza di Tito» - as Busoni referred to Tito Ricordi - had asked Busoni if he would edit classical piano works, or Liszt's, and invited Busoni to conferences on piano pedagogy . By March 1919 the demoralizing negotiations had ended in stalemate. [In a letter from 30 October 1918 to Ricordi's representative Clausetti, Busoni tried a final time to pressure them into a contract by announcing that his contract with Breitkopf &Härtel was about to expire. This letter [...] was probably never sent.]
Busoni had also failed to find in Italy a position he deemed suitable: he had wanted to become the director of the conservatory in Milan. The only indication that Busoni was considering an appointment in Milan are two letters from Isidore Philipp to Busoni from 8 and 21 October 1919 or - preferably - Rome. In 1915 the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome had offered him a piano professorship. This offer had angered Busoni, who had told the school that if he had intended to teach piano he would have stayed in Zurich, where the conservatory was at least international. His response to them showed that he felt the position was beneath his dignity. The Accademia had been offended by Busoni's rejection, and tension between Busoni and his Italian colleagues had mounted. [Alfredo Casella subsequently accepted the position originally offered to Busoni at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in 1915. Felice Boghen refers to this job offer in a letter to Edward Dent, 23 September 1931.] By December 1919 Busoni admitted to Serato: «I have tried to enter Italy by several different doors; they were all kindly half open, but closed at the decisive moment.... How does one do it? Could you give me the key to this enigma? ... Tell me, if you can, why is Italy the only country to neglect me to this extent?» [19.12.1919]
Disappointed by Italy and wary of Germany, Busoni embarked on his first concert tour of England in six years. Drawn to London by literary interests friends, students, and the magic of a cosmopolitan city, he resided there from September to December 1919. After the provincialism of Zurich, London's vitality so intoxicated him that he wanted to stay. The English public welcomed him with enormous warmth and enthusiasm, and he felt comfortable in the company of his friends and former students. Maud Allen*, Sybil Matersdorf, Francesco Ticciati, Ettore Cosomati, Rosamond Ley, Edward Dent, Lawrence Howard, Ursula Creighton, and Grace Howard were among Busoni's students and friends in London. He rambled for hours through London's streets, his imagination enlivened with associations from Dickens' novels, Hogarth's paintings, and E. T. A. Hoffmann's tales. Although London tantalized Busoni personally, the city did not appeal to him musically. On the contrary, he questioned England's musical potential, rarely spoke of London's musical life, and complained that the hectic pace of the City prevented him from concentrating or working seriously. He felt utterly dissatisfied with the life of a travelling virtuoso and wrote Isidor Philipp in October:

You ask me if I'm «happy». I must confess I'm not. Starting this charlatan's existence again ricominciare is a humiliation at my age, and intolerable at the moral and artistic point I have reached. And I see no end to it!! Now I can't work on my Faust anymore, which makes me even more unhappy. And I'm afraid I'll only be able to start again painfully. [17.10.1919]

Philipp tried to reassure Busoni that he was more than just a virtuoso and that people would one day recognize his compositional achievements:

You are such a great artist and your pianistic art is so far from what we call virtuosity; it is so much higher, nobler, and more immaterial - if I may say - than what others do or have done, and that alone should keep you from becoming discouraged. And as you say, when you are at the piano you contribute to the well-being of your fellow men, you elevate their spirits, you ennoble. Concerning your oeuvre, it can wait: its hour will come. Just today a young artist played your fantasy in memory of your father [Fantasia nach J. S. Bach] and she got so emotional that she had tears lacrime in her eyes. Just remember Liszt, Franck, Saint-Saëns, and many others. And further: is there anything more difficult to understand than the public. [17.101919, Dent Collection.]

Without the prospect of a settled future and unable to escape the life of a travelling virtuoso, Busoni continued to tour Europe. Unwilling to abandon Italy completely, he gave concerts at the Société du Quatuor in Milan in February 1920. During the series certain members of the audience jeered and insulted him...; they accused him of being too German and of having abandoned Italy during the war. [In spite of this incident, Arrigo Serato continued to plead with Busoni to return to Italy; he wrote Busoni that the Italians would enthusiastically welcome him home if he decided to return to Italy permanently, in spite of what had happened in Milan. See Arrigo Serato to Busoni, 17 June 1920.]
The event traumatized Busoni: he never returned to Milan and abandoned the notion of ever establishing a life in Italy. (See Busoni to Serato 2.2.1920.) He told Philipp that Italy had become nothing more than an «historical curiosity». (20.2.1920)
Discouraged, Busoni travelled on to Paris in March 1920 to give his first recitals there since the war. Isidor Philipp had eased Busoni's entry into the Parisian musical world by mediating between Busoni and important figures such as Gabriel Pierné and Dandelot. As Busoni sometimes neglected business matters, Philipp had assumed the role of manager, proddingBusoni on, making sure he kept his engagements, suggesting acceptable programs, and struggling to keep parties happy on all sides. Philipp even arranged concerts for Busoni at the Paris Conservatory and had Busoni's Concertino for clarinet included as required repertoire in their clarinet «competition». [The «competitions» (concours) in France are usually nationwide exams. See Philipp to Busoni, 22 February 1920.] Philipp offered Busoni opportunities to perform, conduct, and present himself as a composer under the direction of Philippe Gaubert. Before the concert series in March 1920 Busoni wrote Philipp, «I still hope to succeed with something in my life, I've regained my old courage! - I'll try to do my best in Paris, and don't think for a minute that I don't appreciate the honor you give me and the interest you show in me.» (23.2) The French reception so overwhelmed Busoni and his wife Gerda that they broke out in tears. (See letter to Raffaello 6.3.1920) The Societé des Concerts awarded Busoni a silver medal and Busoni wrote to all his friends and his publishers Breitkopf & Härtel about his triumph. Through Philipp and Dandelot Busoni planned a return to Paris in the Fall, as well as a tour of Belgium. [Philipp to Busoni, 31 May 1920]
Busoni felt at home in Paris. He had an intimate knowledge of French literature, architecture, art, and music, particularly of the nineteenth century loved to perform on the Erard pianos, lived in regal style at Leo Tauber's inn, and dined exquisitely with Isidor Philipp and his circle, which included Henri Prud'homme, Jean Chantavoine, Blondel, Saint-Saëns, and Maurice Emmanuel. After the constrictions of Switzerland, the cosmopolitanism of the French capital particularly mesmerized him. Inspired, he returned to Zurich and wrote Philipp: «The stay in Paris is a dream which has ended (life is made up of memories and waiting). The dream was very beautiful. I owe it to you, the orchestra, and Mr Tauber» [7.4.1920]. Busoni eagerly (eager accepted future engagements in Paris, but wrote Philipp: «I responded quite differently today to an invitation from Milan, for one of those depressing recitals behind closed doors at the Société du Quatuor. I told them honestly the way I feel about and view them, Italy, and myself. I refused them outright; I mentioned your charming Paris, where - as I explained to them - they made such a successful effort not to consider me a foreigner, even though I actually am one, whereas in Italy they refuse to welcome their fellow countryman, who wants nothing more than to dedicate himself entirely to his country. Have I done the right thing? I think I have, I feel I have - but anyway, they won't understand a word» [28.5]. Busoni hoped that Philipp would find him a permanent position in Paris, but no offer was forthcoming. The disappointments Busoni faced by Spring 1920 contrasted sharply with the accumulation of positive responses he was receiving from Germany. In March Breitkopf & Härtel renewed his publishing contract, and Hermann Scherchen purchased an advertisement in «Signale» entreating Busoni to return. Pianist Edward Erdmann, a rising star of Berlin's avant-garde, wrote Busoni an emphatic letter, exclaiming: «Oh Master, you are the spiritual father of all youth, the prophet of our desires...and so I will be very egotistical and express the following wish: come back soon to Berlin! This wish must be fulfille!» Shortly thereafter Scherchen himself pleaded with Busoni:

We young composers have had to fight bitterly and with almost no support whatsoever, except that which we could afford ourselves. The whole time we turned our eyes to you, because we always felt you somehow gave our projects direction. There are so few people who have the courage to fight a battle for purely idealistic goals and the will and the inner purity to win it on their own. Back then I turned to you as a kindred spirit, and so I come to you again this time with the great request to join us, at least spiritually. We've been waiting here for a year and a half and now demand from you, as one of the first and purest pioneers, a response, which will make us stronger within ourselves and make our struggle easier through the clarity of your person. Answer this time, show yourself as the guiding friend and path breaker, to whom we give our pure love. I am not writing for my own sake; therefore I don't ask you to answer me, but rather answer our dreams, answer the youth movement... You were with us from the beginning, you helped us to clear our thoughts... You have our love and our great, youthful admiration; we yearn to see you among us, in our circle, the focus of our intellectual discussions. [Scherchen to Busoni, 13 April 1920]

The kind words from Germany flattered Busoni, who had failed to establish himself as a composer elsewhere in Europe. When Kestenberg then offered him a master class in composition at the Berlin Akademie der Kunste, he felt honored and began to reconsider the offer from his former home. The job seemed perfect, but there was a hitch. The Ministry of Culture had agreed to hire Busoni as a teacher of composition only if he accepted a joint position teaching piano at the Hochschule für Musik. Although Kestenberg planned to discuss this with Busoni in person that July, Franz Schreker so eagerly wanted Busoni on his staff that he wrote him in April:

I know you have already been offered a master class in composition, but I would also consider it a stroke of luck for the Hochschule if you would make your piano mastery - which has been so important to the development of piano performance - available to a small, carefully selected group of students. I don't want to overload you in any way. I want to protect your great freedom, in order that you may have all the time you need for your compositional creations; in short, I want to do everything I can to make your stay and your position in Berlin as truly comfortable as possible. A personal relationship such as I have with other artists I intend to hire (I plan to bring Franz Werfel - whom you know - to the Hochschule) will naturally develop between us, because we have so much common ground in terms of serious artistic goals. A bit of egoism on my part plays a role in wanting you at the Hochschule, in that it has long been my wish to meet you. Should this wish be fulfilled in the way I so desire, I would consider it a lucky omen for the start of my position as a director in Berlin. With this in view, dear Mr. Busoni, do not say no and give me the pleasure of hearing from you soon. (18.4.1920)

Schreker's letter could not have been more mistimed. By Spring 1920 Busoni took every mention of his pianistic supremacy as an insult to his integrity as a composer. He responded tactfully, yet noticeably perturbed:

I value your confidence in me, especially when expressed in such a direct and warm manner; I fully appreciate the honor that you give me. Thank you very much. I'll be open with you and admit first of all that I don't like and avoid iving piano lessons... The last time I taught was when the Basel Conservatory invited me to give a six-week «master class» in the Fall. That time the liberal and loveable artistic personality of the director Dr. Hans Huber succeeded in making the episode a pleasant experience in every way: the limlted length of the course, the beautiful time of year, and the absence of any regulations, all helped to make it a wonderful experience. Since then - and that was ten years ago - I have refrained from submitting myself to any type of official obligations. I had hoped to be finished with all that (and with concert tours) by my fiftieth birthday. But then the war destroyed everything I had built up, as well as all my plans, and gave my life an unwanted direction. Now it is a serious question of deciding on a definitive form of life and activity. It is not in any way yet clear, and that is why I can't answer you with any certainty now. I plan to visit Berlin, get an impression, and discuss different matters there, by which I hope to achieve my own clarity. When will you be there? I would like to meet you. [19.4.1920]

Although Busoni rejected the idea of teaching piano at the Hochschule für Musik, the master class interested him. Perhaps aware of the circles in Berlin who opposed his appointment, however, he wrote friends inquiring about the political, economic, and musical situation there. From Hamburg Busoni's long-time friend, the conductor Gustav Brecher, wrote a pragmatic, detailed report: he warned Busoni how miserable social and economic conditions in Germany were yet urged him to retum to Berlin anyway n spite of all the agony, because in his opinion Germany was still the best country in Europe for music. (Brecher to Busoni,12.4.1920. In 1920 and 1921 Brecher also helped to arrange concerts for Busoni in Hamburg and planned to have Doktor Faust done in either Hamburg or Frankfurt.] Worried by Brecher's and others' descriptions, Busoni hesitated to make a decision and planned a Spring trip to Berlin. He could not delay his decision much longer, however, because his indecision was making the Berlin musical establishment wary. A notice in the Berlin press criticized Busoni for showing a lack of trust in Germany by deliberating on his decision to return. Troubled as always by the rumors whitch were beginning to circulate about his person, Busoni struggled to make up his mind. The scales began to weigh more in Berlin's favour when he heard how musical organizations there were willing to give his compositional oeuvre a chance. In May Gustav Brecher reported that Max von Schillings was already planning to stage Busoni's Arlecchino and Turandot at the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin, and that other activities were planned for Busoni as well. Busoni found the prospect of having his operas staged at one of the most prominent opera houses in Germany very appealing. Several weeks later Georg Schünemann, the acting Director of the Hochschule fur Musik, further flattered him by testifying to his great popularity in Berlin. [Georg Schünemann to Busoni, 29 May 1920. Busoni responded warmly in a letter to Schünemann, 1 June 1920. He remarked that he feared he would no longer be able to play the leading role his supporters in Berlin envisioned for him.] Although Busoni did not yet know the details of the position at the Akademie der Künste, by June his decision had been made. He told friends he was returning and had money transferred to a new account in Berlin. [Volkmar Andreae seems to be one of the first friends Busoni informed of his decision to return to Berlin.]
Once Busoni had made his decision, he had to wait only for Kestenberg's arrival in order to iron out the final details. Already on 25 June the Minister of Culture, Conrad Haenisch, wrote to him to express his delight that Busoni was considering Berlin and to encourage him to accept the secondary position teaching piano as well. When Kestenberg arrived in Zurich, Busoni flatly refused to accept any piano position, however, or to have anything to do with the Hochschule. Kestenberg succeeded in convincing the Ministry of Culture to drop this obligation and hire Busoni solely as the chair of a master class in composition. As a representative of the Ministry of Culture, Kestenberg was able to sign the five-year contract with Busoni on 30 July 1920. At Busoni's request the Akademie der Künste allowed him to travel for six months of the year - from 1 January to 1 July - and offered him a Villa in Frascati near Rome for teaching purposes. The Akademie der Künste set Busoni's salary at 34.000 marks and permitted him to choose his students himself. The job seemed to represent everything Busoni had been searching for: it offered him freedom to travel release from institutional restrictions, and official recognition as a composer. He also looked forward to the possibility of bringing his chosen students to study in Rome for part of the year. Busoni immediately defended his final decision to Philipp:

Now it's decided: I'm going to Berlin. Here are my reasons: first of all, I am in danger of losing my apartment if I don't show up.
- I have to participate in the rehearsals of my operas.
- I owe them an artistic and personal visit.
- I've agreed to head a master class in composition at the state Akademie [der Künste].
And so, I go, I have to go; but I still consider the whole affair an experiment (almost a test) and already I foresee the tragic possibility of having to move again.
I have kept six months free - from January 1 to the end of June - for my projects m Paris, London, and Rome. I would like to set Paris as my point of departure.... The last few days have been very aggravating, with meetings and discussions, doubts and decisions. Not being able to concentrate at all, I incapable of working. I must finish this up quickly - in order to be able to start again - and so da Capo al fine.

On 9 september 1920 Busoni warily packed and catalogued his books, closed up his Swiss home, said good-bay to his children, and departed for Berlin.

Born in Toronto in 1873, Maud Allen (Herstory 1990) trained in Vienna and made her debut there. She danced to critical acclaim in London and between 1910 and 1918 toured the world. Although she is almost forgotten now, at the height of her success she was as well known as Isadora Duncan. Her style of interpretive dancing helped expand the definitions of modern dance.
Busoni, Ferruccio, 1866-1924. «The essence of music, and other papers» translated from the German by Rosamond Ley. - London : Rockliff, [1957].
Busoni, Ferruccio, 1866-1924. «Letters to his wife» - translated by Rosamond Ley - London : E. Arnold, [1938].
Flûtiste et compositeur français (Cahors, 1879 - Paris, 1941).
À partir de 1919, il enseigna, au Conservatoire de Paris, la flûte ainsi que la direction d'orchestre; il fut également chef d'orchestre de l'Opéra. On lui doit notamment trois sonates pour flûte (1925) et de la musique pour ballets.
«Il flusso del tempo: scritti su Ferruccio Busoni» - Milano : Unicopli, 1986. - 358 p. (Quaderni di Musica/Realtà; 11) ISBN 88-7061-897-8