See his letters to his wife (tr. 1938); biography by H. H. Stuckenschmidt (tr. 1971).
The second movement, a kind of Scherzo, is mostly a light-fingered affair for the piano that makes use of "Italianate" rhythms and melodic material, even if the melodies are more evocative of Italian popular music than actual quotations from indigenous Italian folk music.
The third and longest movement is the "Pezzo serioso", a massive meditation and exploration in four parts in the key of D flat major which has a central climax that is once again pianistically challenging and brilliantly scored for both the piano and the orchestra.
The fourth movement is perhaps the most variegated in its use of the orchestra, with a terrifically virtuosic piano part, arguably more difficult than anything that has come before it in the work. There are also two cadenzas to this movement - one, included in the printed score; the other, an insert in the two-piano score that is an amplification of the one printed in the two-piano edition.
The final movement, with male chorus, complete with a somewhat obscure text by Oehlenschlaeger, brings full circle many themes that have been heard earlier in the work.
There are at least seven recordings of Busoni's Piano Concerto, Op. 39. The first studio recording was an Angel/EMI set by John Ogdon and Daniell Revenaugh from the 1960s. (A pair of earlier recordings have surfaced in recent years, one by Noel Mewton-Wood, the other by Gunnar Johansen.) The Ogdon recording was followed by those of Boris Bloch with Christoph Eschenbach conducting. Then Volker Banfield's on the CPO label with Lutz Herbig appeared; Garrick Ohlsson's with Christoph von Dohnanyi followed suit very shortly thereafter, as did Peter Donohoe's with Mark Elder on Angel/EMI, a quarter century after Ogdon's, though it was recorded before Banfield's and Ohlsson's.
These were followed by Giovanni Battel's and Francois Joel Thiollier's recordings, appearing the same year, alongside Viktoria Postnikova's with her husband Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. Following this was a disc by David Lively and Michael Gielen. This was followed a number of years later by that of Marc-Andre Hamelin (with a filmed performance of the fourth movement available on DVD coming a few years after).
In 2003, Somm Recordings released a performance from January 1948 by Noel Mewton-Wood with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under Sir Thomas Beecham. Most recently, the amateur pianist, industrialist, and philanthropist Sir Ernest Hall made a recording available only through his website.
A number of other recordings are in early stages of planning as of December 2006. Other performances by Kun Woo Paik, Randall Hodgkinson, Martin Jones, and Janos Solyom have received some notice in the past few years.