One of the most grown-up review sites around

Apollo's Fire

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano"
IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra

Sinfonie Concertanti for two flutes and orchestra

TUDOR RECORDS

TROUBADISC

A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin

NORTHERN FLOWERS

World Premiere
Weinberg’s Concertino (cello)!

AVIE

Irish-Appalachian Celebration

REFERENCE RECORDINGS

Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review



an inspirational performance


An indispensable acquisition


The finest we have had in years


bewitching sound


Simply amazing


A splendid addition


One of the most enjoyable


quite superb!


utterly essential


A wonderful introduction


An outstanding CD


cheer-raising


One of the finest versions


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760-1812)
Piano Concerto in E flat Major Op. 3 (1787) [18:16]
Piano Concerto in F Major Op. 14 (1791) [24:13]
Piano Concerto in G minor Op. 49 (1801) [31:07]
Ulster Orchestra/Howard Shelley (piano)
rec. The Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 2017
HYPERION CDA68211 [73:39]

I have little of Jan Ladislav Dussek’s music: piano trios (CPO 999 583-2), piano sonatas (Brilliant 95246) and works on compilation discs such as the Piano Quintet in F minor Op. 41 (Brilliant 93203). He is mainly known for instrumental and chamber works, so this is my first disc of his orchestral music.

Dussek, a Czech composer born in the Moravian town of Čáslav, became one of the foremost piano virtuosos. He also played the glass harmonica. He travelled widely throughout Europe to give concerts and fulfil commissions for new music, which he was happy to perform. He was also in demand as a piano teacher, especially amongst the aristocracy, which led to a number of lucrative positions. A friend of Haydn and his wife, who – like his own wife and mother – played the harp, he is known to have composed works for the instrument. This is at odds with the otherwise excellent notes which state that his piano concertos are “his only orchestral works”.

Hyperion’s wonderful series of The Romantic Piano Concertos goes from strength to strength. This disc is volume 5 of a relatively new venture for the label, a follow-up to the first volume of this series of The Classical Piano Concert from 2014 when the same forces presented three other concertos Op. 1 No. 3, Op. 29 and Op. 70. Like on the previous disc, the concertos here come from the distinct periods of Dussek’s compositional development, spanning a fourteen-year period. These stages show that he did not merely compose in the classical idiom, but that he was also a transitional composer, who pointed the way towards the romanticism of the likes of Mendelssohn and Hummel.

These three concertos clearly display the composer’s development not only as a composer. They also mark his own changing piano style, developed due to the changing musical agenda. As the music of other composers changed, Dussek took these developments in pianistic styles and included them in his own music.

The Concerto in E flat Op. 3, with its central Andantino movement and its set of variations, is more in common with the classical style of the latter concertos of Mozart. The Op. 14 F Major Concerto shows that Dussek is already developing into a more competent and self-assured composer; the work is more expansive, the piano more integrated into the music. This is the only concerto on this recording where Dussek leaves the cadenza to the pianist. This occurs in the lovely second movement Adagio, where Howard Shelley produces a piano line that builds upon the melody and is well suited to the music. The final work on this disc is the G minor Concerto Op. 49 of 1801, contemporary with Beethoven’s early concertos. It differs from all his other concertos: it was the only one composed in a minor key. This gives the concerto a darker and more romantic feel than the others presented here. This is further highlighted in the way that he develops the thematic material of the first movement.

Throughout this disc Howard Shelley and the Ulster Orchestra rise to the differing challenges posed by Dussek and his developing style, and play with great aplomb. Shelley is stylish and adept in the piano part, and he marshals the forces of the Ulster Orchestra well so that they play with great sensitivity. The recorded sound is well balanced. The piano is never overpowered by the orchestra. Indeed these performance only make me want to invest in the first volume of this series, as well as hope that Hyperion goes on to record more of Dussek’s piano concertos. There are after all quite a few more of them to go at.

Stuart Sillitoe

 




Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger