This disc is the first volume of an extensive recording project using the combined resources of eight world-leading fortepianists. This will amount to the first comprehensive recording of Dussek's piano sonatas on period instruments. It will catalogue the brilliant, harmonically beautiful and expressive music of one of the most fascinating composers at the threshold of early Romanticism, one of Beethoven’s most gifted and original contemporaries. In fact the parallels between Dussek and Beethoven are uncanny on this album, featuring three Op.10 sonatas and then Op.31 No.2 (though the ‘Pastorale’ subtitle corresponds with Beethoven’s Op.28).
The instrument used on this album is a 1798 fortepiano from the firm of
Longman-Clementi. It dates from a decade after the Op.10 sonatas and
only a few years after Op.31 No.2 from 1795. Accordingly the touch and
sound corresponds more closely than any other piano previously used on recordings of this repertoire. Dussek lived in London during the 1790s,
and worked closely with the manufacturer John Broadwood to extend the range of keyboard instruments. The English fortepiano lent itself naturally to the harmonic fullness of Dussek's preferred textures, and in reverse, the instrument's characteristic sound and touch inspired and shaped the development of Dussek's compositional style.
Even more important than the instrument is the musician, naturally, and in Bart van Oort these sonatas find an interpreter with years of experience in performing music of this time and place. His complete survey of Mozart’s keyboard music (BC94198) was praised in Gramophone for ‘attractive intimacy’ and ‘sensitive, singing accounts’; his survey of early-Romantic nocturnes (BC92202) is distinguished by ‘strong, authoritative artistry’.
The start of an exciting new project: the recording of the complete piano sonatas by Dussek!
Johann Ladislaus Dussek (1760-1812) was born in rural Bohemia. He led a restless life, travelling Europe as a keyboard virtuoso and settling in several European capitals, notably Paris and London, where he became a fashionable pianist and teacher. His close connection to piano manufacturer Broadwood resulted in important innovations, notably the extension of the keyboard to 6 octaves.
Dussek’s style is rich, harmonically expressive and pianistically challenging, Classicism on the brink of Early Romanticism.
This first volume contains the sonatas Op. 10 Nos. 1-3 and Op. 31 No. 2 (these identical opus numbers are not the only thing which connects Dussek to Beethoven’s piano sonatas…). Each volume is played by a different fortepianist. Bart van Oort is the spiritual father of this ambitious project and gives the series a whirling start with impassioned and brilliant performances. He plays a Longman Clementi instrument from 1799, restored by Chris Maene.
The booklet contains information on the composer, the works and the instruments used.