Long awaited, this biography of violinist, composer, quartet and trio leader, teacher, and conductor Adolf Busch (1891-1952), co-founder of the Marlboro School of Music, is a history of the violin, of concerts and chamber-music in the first half of the 20th century. The texts, research notes, copious illustrations, and appendices detail virtually every concert and associate of Busch's life with full descriptions of his musical and personal relations with Reger, Busoni, Tovey, Roentgens and hundreds of others, including those unsympathetic to him such as Furtwaengler, Sibelius, Edwin Fischer, and Elly Ney, for musical or political reasons. Busch's early immigration from Germany and his part in creating the Lucerne Festival and Palestine Symphony Orchestra, precursor of the Israel Philharmonic, before settling in the U.S. and co-founding the Marlboro School of Music with his son-in-law Rudolf Serkin, are fully chronicled, as are those of his brothers, conductor-pianist Fritz Busch and cellist Herman Busch.
Adolf Busch was a stalwart of the German school of violin inherited from Joseph Joachim, standing apart from the Leopold Auer and other schools. The violinists he is most often compared with are Joachim, Bronislaw Huberman, and Joseph Szigeti.
Mr. Potter has done service equal to Henry-Louis de la Grange's for Mahler. His book, well worth the price, is in two volumes, 1400 pp., with hundreds of photographs, many previously unknown. The explanatory notes and identification of those mentioned in the text are exemplary.