Doktor Faust - Further information
‘From childhood I have been fascinated by works in which the devil has something to say’, these are the words of the poet, the composer’s ‘alter ego’, in the prologue to Ferruccio Busoni’s ‘Doctor Faustus’. Busoni was not the first one to be fascinated by the Faustian tale. Already during the lifetime of this alleged astrologist and alchemist, legends grew around him. The essential story appeared for the first time in print in 1587 in a book of folk tales titled ‘Historia von D. Johann Fausten’. Numerous adaptations followed; poets, composers and visual artists were fascinated by the myth of an intellectual who, out of his thirst for knowledge and delusions of grandeur, makes a pact with the devil.
Born 1866 in Empoli near Florence,
Ferruccio Busoni was better known as a pianist than a composer for a long time. Doctor Faustus, on which he worked for nearly ten years and which was left unfinished at his death on 27th July 1924 in Berlin, is Busoni’s masterpiece for which he had created several musical studies. In contrast to the simultaneously prevailing movement of the operatic ‘Verismo’,
Busoni saw the true realm of opera in the supernatural: it is music’s aim to create a world of illusion. Busoni didn’t base his libretto on the mighty Goethe but on a puppet-show variation of the ‘Historia’. This allowed him to combine the sublime and the entertaining, thus associating him to Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute which he so revered.