Magazine article Gramophone

Dussek: 'The Classical Piano Concerto

Magazine article Gramophone

Dussek: 'The Classical Piano Concerto

Article excerpt

Dussek

'The Classical Piano Concerto, Vol 1' Piano Concertos--Op 1 No 3; Op 29; Op 70 Ulster Orchestra / Howard Shelley pf Hyperion [F] CDA68027 (68' * DDD)

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Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760-1812) is one of those transitional composers straddling the Classical and Romantic eras overshadowed by the greater figures of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Hugely popular and enormously successful in his day, Dussek was the first pianist to sit with his right side to the audience, the first to investigate the resources of the piano's pedals and the first to indicate pedallings in his own music. He was, as these three works written for his own use amply demonstrate, an extraordinary pianist.

I have listened to all three concertos several times with increasing enjoyment yet still I can recall only a handful of truly memorable ideas, such as the unusual Larghetto introduction to the C major Concerto, Op 29, and the delightful rondo themes of all three works. Dussek was not a melodist of the order of his three illustrious contemporaries above. In this respect, in the unexpected twists and turns (inherited, perhaps, from his teacher CPE Bach) and in the fact that the solo part often does not replicate the material of the orchestral exposition as is the customary practice in late-Classical/early-Romantic concertos, Dussek does himself no favours in pursuit of a place in the A team. …

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