Notes and Editorial Reviews
Imagine this: Brahms' wistful, long-lined lyricism years before Brahms was born; Schubert's effortless melodies and off-the-wall modulations long before Schubert matured; Chopin-like roulades and decorations popping up all over the place, written by a composer who died when Chopin was only two; fast movements whose virtuosic flair evokes Mozart or Clementi, yet maintains its own, pungent identity; Beethovenian thrust fortified by plusher, more Schumannesque keyboard deployment. I'm speaking of Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760-1812), a genuine, unsung original among composer/pianists of his era.
His best piano sonatas are charming, sophisticated, imaginatively crafted, intensely expressive, and woefully ignored. The ambitious Op. 77
sonata that opens Markus Becker's Dussek recital is a real find. In fact, some collectors may have found it long ago via Rudolf Firkusny's Vox recording. Becker's intimately scaled, occasionally clipped, and subjectively nuanced reading differs from Firkusny's more fervent, dynamically charged performance, much in the way that Wilhelm Kempff's Beethoven interpretations contrast with Artur Schnabel's. At the same time, the early Op. 9 D major and C major sonata presto finales go like the wind, with Becker's brash and joyful fingers wildly ablaze, yet always in absolute control. Clearly Becker has evolved in this repertoire since his previous CPO Dussek release, and I look forward to more. The sound and annotations are also superb. Recommended with pleasure!
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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