Author Topic: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!  (Read 10568 times)

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Offline SonicMan46

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Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« on: April 06, 2007, 08:10:00 AM »
As I was reviewing notes for the Rosetti thread, I came across another performer & composer who wrote mainly for piano but also for harp (obviously influenced by his wife & mother) - in fact, just ordered a CD of Dussek's harp music (pic below) - I have nothing else by this composer, but he seemed to be a seminal & pivotal figure in the development of the piano and piano playing in the late 18th century.  Below is a short bio of Jan Dusseck taken from a number of different sources - please add any other comments & CD recommendations if you've heard and/or own compositions by Dussek - thanks & enjoy -  :laugh:

Jan Dussek (1760-1812) is considered the first important touring piano virtuoso, and was a highly regarded composer mainly of works related to that instrument.  He was born in Bohemia; his parents were both musicians – the father Jan Josef Dussek (1738 - 1818) was an organist and composer, while the mother played the harp.  Dussek studied piano from the age of five, played the organ at nine, and was also a singer in a boy's choir; in 1778, he attended the University of Prague.  By the late 1770s and early 1780s, he was travelling, playing the piano, and also became a keyboard teacher; while in Hamburg in 1782, he was taught by C.P.E. Bach, who was highly impressed with his pupil.  Additional travels took him to Russia, Lithuania, and Germany in the mid-1780s, where he also played the glass harmonica. Paris was his residence in the later 1780s, before he left for England - during all of these wanderings and residencies, he concertized & composed.

In 1792 he married the singer, pianist and harpist Sofia, the daughter of the music publisher Domenico Corri and founded the publishing house of Corri, Dussek & Co. Joseph Haydn made Dussek’s acquaintance during his London visits, and as such was the only one of the Viennese classical composers to meet this international colleague. Haydn expressed his praise and admiration for Dussek in words previously used only in regard to Mozart as “a most upright man of integrity, culture and – concerning music – most excellent”. Dussek's music business with his father-in-law failed in 1799; Corri was imprisoned, and Dussek fled England leaving his wife and now daughter behind.  He spent the years 1800-1807 mainly in Germany, resumed his European concert career (including a tour of Bohemia) - during this time he was the first pianist to place the piano sideways on the stage, so the audience could view him in profile (which must have ballooned in later years).

Dussek assume a number of other positions and remained popular until his death; in his last years he suffered from gout and other ailments, including excessive drinking and extreme obesity. However, he was hightly admired for his piano playing, innovations for the instrument, and his many compositions.  Other performers and composers, such as Clementi and Reicha were clearly influenced by Dussek's piano style; Moscheles, Hummel, Kalkbrenner, and even Chopin were likely influenced.

Jan Dussek composed primarily for the piano and for his own concert appearances, but he also promoted the publication and distribution of his works. 14 piano concertos, among them one for two pianos and orchestra, 3 harp concertos (also for the piano), piano trios, chamber music with piano, sonatas for piano 4 hands and above all the sonatas for solo piano, all indicating his  preference for this instrument.


    (Early & later in life -  :o).

P.S. Just 36 CDs listed on the Arkiv site - any recommendations?  :)

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2007, 09:31:24 AM »
Well, just received the Dussek disc below of Piano Sonatas (Nos. 18, 24, 26) - started a new thread w/ the initial post from the old one above - LINK OLD THREAD - this is on the CPO label, recorded and performed well, and indeed virtuosic pieces of solo piano music - just delightful; good review on Classics Today; unfortunately, the Frederick Martin set mentioned in the review on the Dorian label (one disc below, right) appears to be OOP in checking their website (would love to hear those recordings!) -  :D

 

Harry

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2007, 10:28:39 AM »
This is the only one I have Dave and I am quite happy with it. But not so much that I wanted to explore more into his music.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2007, 01:36:33 PM »
This is the only one I have Dave and I am quite happy with it. But not so much that I wanted to explore more into his music.

Harry - yes, I have that Piano Trios disc, but I must say that these Piano Sonatas are quite enjoyable & well-recorded; a number of recommendations were given in the 'old' thread linked in one of the above posts for those who may be interested; but I would love to get my hands on those Dorian recordings!  Dave

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2007, 01:42:04 PM »
Dussek's (forte)piano sonatas are really important works. But there's many of them , and record companies )and painists) are just starting to explore them. I'm not saying he's a genius, but hearing his music neatly rounds out a comprehensive late 18th-early 19th  century music history. His music is scattered over quite a few labels( I own 3 discs where his piano music feautures). But the trios are terra incognita.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2007, 02:59:58 PM »
This is the only one I have Dave and I am quite happy with it. But not so much that I wanted to explore more into his music.

Harry,
You mustn't base your opinion on his chamber music. He was a specialist in piano works, and anything else will clearly be second best. Staier has a 2 disk set on DHM that is really quite highly regarded, some sonatas and fantasias. I am in the same position as Lilas, I have 3 or 4 disks of the sonatas on fortepiano, and the best of them appears to be Staier, although there is a nice one on Olympia with Geoffrey Govier that is very nice too. :)

8)
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Harry

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2007, 10:46:57 PM »
Harry,
You mustn't base your opinion on his chamber music. He was a specialist in piano works, and anything else will clearly be second best. Staier has a 2 disk set on DHM that is really quite highly regarded, some sonatas and fantasias. I am in the same position as Lilas, I have 3 or 4 disks of the sonatas on fortepiano, and the best of them appears to be Staier, although there is a nice one on Olympia with Geoffrey Govier that is very nice too. :)

8)

Good, then I will look into that Gurn. Thank you. :)

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2007, 12:29:00 PM »
....... He was a specialist in piano works, and anything else will clearly be second best. Staier has a 2 disk set on DHM that is really quite highly regarded, some sonatas and fantasias. I am in the same position as Lilas, I have 3 or 4 disks of the sonatas on fortepiano, and the best of them appears to be Staier, although there is a nice one on Olympia with Geoffrey Govier that is very nice too. :)

Just acquired the Dussek Piano Sonatas & Fantasias mentioned above - 2-CD set of re-released recordings from 1992 & 1994 performed by Andreas Staier on an 1805 Broadwood-Hammerflugel 'restored' fortepiano.  I've gotten through just the first disc of sonatas (Op. 35, 1-3; Op. 31, 2) - the piano is impressive & Staier can really 'pound' those keys, but also provide a 'gentle' touch when needed; these are really authoritative compositions written by a virtuoso; and the music really sounds much more into the romantic period that when first put to paper.  Check out the one Amazonian Review, if interested -  :)


Offline 71 dB

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2007, 12:52:28 PM »
I have this Naxos (8.553622) CD:
 


It contains Dussek's Sonata No. 2 for harp, Op. 34 and Concerto for Harp and Orchestra in E Flat Major, Op. 15. Nice disc!
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2009, 03:58:14 PM »
Boy, another thread lost in the doldrums!  :-\

Just acquired a Dussek disc recommended highly by another GMG member:

Grand Desserts - World of Jan Ladislav Dussek - the title & the cover art are completely unrevealing unfortunately, but a series of CDs devoted to this era and played on period instruments.

Basically, harp music of Dussek, both solo but most w/ fortepiano - performers are Masumi Nagasawa & Richard Egarr - Nagasawa plays a single-action original harp from 1815 & Egarr an original fortepiano from 1804; the sound the the harp is wonderful, much more delicate than a modern concert harp (but more forceful that a Celtic variety, that my wife plays) - Nagasawa has an excellent Website HERE which has plenty of information of these period harps and the 'gourmet' series of recordings she is doing - take a look!  :D

P.S. Gurn Alert - think that this disc will be on your 'radar screen' (of course, if not already owned!) -  ;)  Dave





snyprrr

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2009, 10:11:44 AM »
No one has the cd of his late SQs (1806)?

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2011, 10:47:49 AM »
BOY - a year and a half since the last post for Jan -  :-\

Well, I just acquired a disc of his String Quartets, Op. 60 from 1806 performed by the Camesina Quartett (their website HERE) - these are 'period instrument' recordings released in 2008 w/ just superb sound and string playing.  Since Dussek was so keyboard-centric (i.e. as a performer & composer), I was not sure 'what' to expect from these late compositions - he apparently did little else in the remaining years of his life (except for a piano dedication, Op. 61, to his friend Prince Louis of Prussia who was killed in battle w/ the French later in the same year).

Nothing much to find regarding reviews - I usually don't quote the Amazonians (unless for a handful of reviewers I do like), but a single 5* review is well done for this recording HERE.  For Dussek fans this is probably a MUST in a collection of his recordings just for the fact that these are his only SQs; plus, this is not second rate composing even in the shadows of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven (who was still writing his own SQs) - these works comprise a transition between the classical and romantic periods, and yet another reason for their importance.  Finally, the period instrumentalists just put in a superb effort in bringing these compositions back to life -  :D


 

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2011, 11:10:09 AM »
BOY - a year and a half since the last post for Jan -  :-\

Well, I just acquired a disc of his String Quartets, Op. 60 from 1806 performed by the Camesina Quartett (their website HERE) - these are 'period instrument' recordings released in 2008 w/ just superb sound and string playing.  Since Dussek was so keyboard-centric (i.e. as a performer & composer), I was not sure 'what' to expect from these late compositions - he apparently did little else in the remaining years of his life (except for a piano dedication, Op. 61, to his friend Prince Louis of Prussia who was killed in battle w/ the French later in the same year).

Nothing much to find regarding reviews - I usually don't quote the Amazonians (unless for a handful of reviewers I do like), but a single 5* review is well done for this recording HERE.  For Dussek fans this is probably a MUST in a collection of his recordings just for the fact that these are his only SQs; plus, this is not second rate composing even in the shadows of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven (who was still writing his own SQs) - these works comprise a transition between the classical and romantic periods, and yet another reason for their importance.  Finally, the period instrumentalists just put in a superb effort in bringing these compositions back to life -  :D


 

Dave,
I am almost sure that I reviewed (in my own humble way) that disk in the Corner back when I got it, maybe 6 months ago. I had forgotten that JLD has his own thread...  :-[   In any case, I was very pleased with it. If I'm not mistaken, those were his only works that didn't include a piano. Harmonically and rhythmically they sure didn't sound like 1806 to me: more like 1836! And as you saying, very nice playing and great sound by these players. :)

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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2011, 03:53:35 PM »
Dave,
I am almost sure that I reviewed (in my own humble way) that disk in the Corner back when I got it, maybe 6 months ago. I had forgotten that JLD has his own thread...  :-[   In any case, I was very pleased with it. If I'm not mistaken, those were his only works that didn't include a piano. Harmonically and rhythmically they sure didn't sound like 1806 to me: more like 1836! And as you saying, very nice playing and great sound by these players. :)

Hi Gurn - I did a quick search of the thread mentioned before posting but did not see a reference to these works; of course, I may have easily missed the post - if so, sorry!  :-\

No one has the cd of his late SQs (1806)?

But at any rate, Snyprrr will have at least 3 positive reviews of these works to make up his own mind!  ;D


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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2011, 04:21:10 PM »
Hi Gurn - I did a quick search of the thread mentioned before posting but did not see a reference to these works; of course, I may have easily missed the post - if so, sorry!  :-\

But at any rate, Snyprrr will have at least 3 positive reviews of these works to make up his own mind!  ;D

Not at all. It could be one of those things that I thought about doing, and then, in the event, I forgot! Someone did post about it there though, which is how I knew it even existed, IIRC... :-\

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2014, 11:38:38 PM »
Bumping this thread ... I don't know much Dussek yet, but I enjoy the Trio 1790 disc very much, and the one Staier disc (Vol. 2 of the Sonatas) in his DHM box is great!

Just gave this one a spin, and it's easily recommended, too:


The older edition I have (bought used last year) looks like this:


It comes with three sets of notes (on Dussek, on the works and Christopher Clarke on the piano) and I really hope the reissue contains all that as well as I found it a very interesting read!

I'm not much into harp so far (my idea of harp playing is somewhere between Dorothy Ashby and Zeena Parkins), but I've got to get the first of Staier's solo clavier discs for sure! And that string quartets disc is on my wantlist now, as well!
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Offline Scion7

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2014, 04:13:13 AM »
Quote from: Harry on April 06, 2007, 11:28:39 AM
This is the only one I have Dave and I am quite happy with it. But not so much that I wanted to explore more into his music.

Quote from Gurn: "Harry, You mustn't base your opinion on his chamber music. He was a specialist in piano works, and anything else will clearly be second best."

(He says to old posting) - well, the Piano Trios do basically revolve around the piano. I think the issue is, that the Trios are very much in the Classic style - not much about them have any slightly Romantic elements.  They are all well-constructed, but absolute music.  Perhaps Opus 31 No.2's 'Pastorale' has a bit more emotion to it.   Some of the Sonatas approach mid-period Beethoven in feel.  Dussek is good to dip one's toes in from time to time.
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2014, 05:11:31 AM »
Well, since my last response to this thread, I've added a few more Dussek recordings - have the Staier CDs of Sonatas & Concertos, and also added the other disc of Sonatas w/ Markus Becker.

Another wonderful recording is shown below, i.e. a compilation of Piano Quintets w/ one by Dussek - recommended!

Finally (and stimulated by the re-emergence of this thread), I just put the other two discs below into my Amazon cart - might make an order later today (both are cheap on the MP) - :)

Finally, there is a pre-order Hyperion CD of Piano Concertos w/ Howard Shelley - will this be the start of a series?  Dave

   

Offline Scion7

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2014, 07:18:01 AM »
^ note that FRANZ XAVIER Dussek is not Jan, nor is he related to that musical family - he just happens to have the same last name.

AS for the Quintet, YES - very much recommended.  I have not heard the Violin Sonatas yet, but, I would go ahead and say this is his best chamber piece, over the String Quartets and the Piano Quartet.  I get an early-Romantic feel sometimes from Opus 41.
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Jan Dussek - Piano Virtuoso & Composer!
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2014, 08:17:38 AM »
You're from Izmir? I actually visited in 1978!  :)