Busoni and the Leskovites

During his lonely years as a young traveling performer and teacher in northern Germany, Ferruccio Busoni adopted a Newfoundland for companionship; he named the huge black dog Lesko. When he sailed to Helsinki to begin his first steady teaching position in 1888, of course Lesko came along.

Busoni’s lively personality and prodigious performing skills soon attracted a group of artists who gathered regularly at bars and restaurants. Since his dog always attended these meetings, they declared Lesko the honorary convener and dubbed themselves the Leskovites. This group included Jean Sibelius, the writer Adolf Paul, the conductor Armas Järnefelt, and his brother, the painter Eero Järnefelt.

In 1890 Busoni expressed his regard for the Leskovites with his Geharnischte suite, op. 34a; each movement is dedicated to one of “the four friends of Lesko in Helsinki.”

This according to “The friends of Lesko, the dog: Sibelius, Busoni, Armas and Eero Järnefelt, Adolf Paul” by Barbara Blanchard Hong, an essay included in Sibelius in the old and new world: Aspects of his music, its interpretation, and reception (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010, pp. 57–68).

Below, Busoni’s suite dedicated to the Leskovites.


Filed under Animals, Curiosities, Romantic era

2 responses to “Busoni and the Leskovites

  1. Pingback: BE STILL, MY SOUL « Kevin Nunez

  2. Pingback: Busoni brothers | Lentablog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s