Dussek: Sonatas, Op. 39 & Op.25 No.2
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
These sonatas date from a high-point in the career of the Czech-born Jan Ladislaus Dussek (1760-1812), at a time when he was established in London as a sought-after performer and fashionable piano teacher. His partnership with the instrument-maker John Broadwood resulted in significant technical developments to the fortepiano which would be imitated abroad and capitalized upon in Vienna by Beethoven, notably the extra power and larger range. The Sonata Op.25 No.2 in D has become famous under the name ‘La Matinée’: a subtitle work that conveys the lively spirit of the sonata and its irresistible sense of good cheer even in the lyric simplicity of the third-movement Larghetto. The three Op.39 sonatas are more elaborate in conception and design without forsaking the earlier work’s transparency and grace. The first movements of Op.39 abound in brilliant figuration, which evidently played to the composer’s strengths as a performer, but they are strongly rooted in a sonata-form structure which contrasts a pressing and vivacious first theme with the more tripping, light-hearted character of the second. The concluding Rondos tend to be the highlight, alternating some surprisingly passionate and even stormy episodes with the kind of unpretentious folk-like theme that Schubert would go on to perfect. This is the second in a projected eight-album series to be published by Brilliant Classics, surveying the complete keyboard sonatas of Dussek. The series was launched in fine style by the Dutch fortepianist Bart van Oort, and it is attracting much critical attention which this addition to the series is sure to share. Born in 1972, Piet Kuijken has been professor of piano and fortepiano at the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels since 2002 and is a guest professor for the fortepiano at the Royal Conservatoire in Antwerp.