A pianist of astonishing technical prowess and one of the first to enjoy an international career, Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760–1812) was also a highly proficient composer who wrote extensively for his own instrument. This fantastic CD is dedicated to a small selection of his piano works, many of whose features anticipate early Romanticism.
Showcasing compositions aimed at the amateur market as well as those intended for professional performance, the release begins with one of the composer’s most ambitious creations: his Sonata No.24 in F sharp minor Op.61. Cast in two movements – the first of which features a slow introduction more intensely chromatic than Mozart’s Fantasia in C minor – this expressive work precedes the highly virtuosic Sonata No.25 in D Op.69 No.3.
It’s a striking contrast to the rest of the set, where sophistication is achieved in a much more simple manner: as well as detailing the charming 1799 Rondo ‘Les Adieux’, whose theme derives from Dibdin’s 1768 opera Lionell and Clarissa, the compilation also includes Chantons l’hymen – part of a short set of keyboard pieces dating from 1788.
History has not looked favourably on Dussek, whose reputation declined shortly after his death. However, as this recording demonstrates, he was a composer of great originality and expression. Palazzolo’s energetic and committed performances make a splendid case for this under-appreciated music.
Much of the music here is otherwise unavailable.
Luca Palazzolo is a pianist and scholar with a particular interest and specialism in the Classical repertoire.