Recordings of the six short orchestral works presented here are few and far between, the most famous of them being the Clarinet Concertino Op. 48, but even then you can count the recordings on one hand and still have fingers left over! All the works are represented on Capriccio's 4 CD set which contains two discs of orchestral music and a disc each of piano and chamber music, and it is this set that I will be using for comparison.
The disc opens with Ein Lustspielouvertüre, as the title suggests, this is a brisk overture, even more so when you consider that at 7 minutes it is nearly a minute quicker than that on the Capriccio set, this is not detrimental, as it gives it more of a festival feeling. This is followed by Gesang vom Reigen der Geister which for me is just too slow, 7 ½ minutes compared with 6, and while it brings out the more romantic aspects of the music, it does at times sound like a dirge. There is little to choose between recordings of the next piece the Rondò arlecchinesco with its short tenor vocalise towards the end. Both recordings of the Clarinet Concertino boast strong solo playing with little to choose between the players, both have a clean true tone and their interplay between them and the orchestra is excellent, I do think that the brisker tempo of Robert Wörle under Gerd Albrecht on Capriccio suits the work better though. The Divertimento for flue and orchestra also befits from the slightly brisker pace, but this time it is this new recording that has the edge making it sound more airy than its competition. The final work on the disc is the Tabzwalzer, this takes the form of an introduction and four waltzes, and again there isn't much to separate the recordings, similar timings Albrecht's recording slightly quicker, however, while the division between the waltzes can be easily defined by the listener, the Capriccio engineers do give you the added bonus of separate index points.
Over all then, this is a very valuable disc, the Capriccio set might have the slight advantage, especially in those pieces conducted by Albrecht, but to have these strong performances on a single disc is a real boon. This is the latest in what is proving to be a most valuable catalogue of Busoni recordings by Naxos, let us hope they continue to release more from the same forces as this most welcome disc.