Dussek: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol. 10

Album cover art for upc 5028421959818
Catalog: BRI95981

Somlai, Petra

The latest volume in a critically acclaimed series presents modern recordings of Dussek’s exhilaratingly diverse cycle of piano sonatas on instruments of his own time. This enterprising series has reached the trio of ‘Grand Sonatas’ Op. 35, probably first published in 1798, when Dussek dedicated them to Gabrielle Pleyel (wife of the piano manufacturer Ignaz Pleyel) and Muzio Clementi, the composer, publisher, and piano manufacturer who developed new, more powerful-sounding and reliable piano actions. Dussek, like Beethoven, seized on such technological innovation and produced music of new turbulence such as the C minor Sonata Op. 35 No. 3. The sonata’s opening Allegro bursts with vitality and violence, which becomes all the more vivid when played on a piano from Dussek’s time, straining to contain the music’s expressive reach, as it is here. The instrument used on this album is a 1798 fortepiano from the firm of Longman-Clementi. Accordingly, the touch and sound correspond 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. Op. 69 No. 3 belongs to a collection of sonatas which Dussek composed with an optional violin part. Nos. 1 and 2 in the set have already received historically informed recordings in a separate Brilliant Classics project, with Julia Huber and Miriam Altmann, but this series presents the piano-only version which all the same contains the full argument of the sonata. In partnership with Bart van Oort, Petra Somlai contributed to Volume 9 in this series, which was welcomed in Fanfare magazine with glowing praise: ‘Both musicians have the requisite technique, and their execution of Dussek’s virtuoso writing is impressive… Both artists play with sensitivity and attractive tone. The recorded sound is fine, with admirable warmth and detail.’

Price: $22.98