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Romantic Revolution

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Catalogue No: SOMMCD 0634
Release Date: 21/05/2021
Number of Discs: 1
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Liner Notes
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SOMM RECORDINGS is pleased to announce the return of pianist Michael Dussek to explore the music of his ancestor Jan Ladislav Dussek and its relationship to one of the piano repertoire’s most illustrious champions, Fryderyk Chopin.

This fascinating recital reveals Dussek – a colourful character and favourite of Marie Antoinette whose talents took him throughout Europe and Russia – as “revolutionary in his approach to both composition and pianism” and makes a persuasive argument for Dussek’s influence on Chopin.

In his informative booklet notes, Michael Dussek makes the case for his namesake’s music being the product of a composer “very much ahead of his time in the development of a Romantic piano style” (Grove Music). The disc’s centrepiece is the Op.35 Piano Sonatas (Nos.11-13), the B-flat major Sonata a crucible of ideas accommodating the rustic lyricism of his native Bohemia, a contrapuntal sophistication that would find full flowering in his later Messe Solennelle, and an anticipation of what would become a Chopin signature.

The G major Sonata boasts melodic expressiveness, virtuoso passagework, a harmonic boldness that Schubert would later more fully exploit and a Rondo finale that out-Haydns Haydn. The Sonata in C minor strikingly blends Beethoven, Chopin and a joyful village dance to conclude a “gloriously innovative triptych”.

Completing the disc are two pinnacles of the piano repertoire: Chopin’s exquisite Nocturne, Op.15 No.2, and the lyrical, rapturously intense Ballade No.1 in G minor.

Michael Dussek’s previous SOMM recordings include volumes of chamber music by Frank Bridge (SOMMCD 087) and Jacques Ibert (SOMMCD 0122) with the Bridge Quartet. MusicWeb International hailed the earlier recording as “vivacious, subtle and faithful to [Bridge’s] mercurial muse”, adding: “Michael Dussek is a doyen among the pianists who have made themselves familiar with this repertoire”. BBC Music Magazine described the Ibert as “suave Gallic chamber music beautifully played”.

On This Recording

    Dussek: Piano Sonata Op. 35 No. 1 in B-flat major (No. 11)

  1. I Allegro moderato e maestoso
  2. II Finale Allegro non troppo ma con spirito
  3. Dussek: Piano Sonata Op. 35 No. 2 in G major (No. 12)

  4. I Allegro
  5. II Rondo – Molto allegro, con espressione
  6. Dussek: Piano Sonata Op. 35 No. 3 in C minor (No. 13)

  7. I Allegro agitato assai
  8. II Adagio patetico et espressivo
  9. III Intermezzo (Presto – Finale (Allegro molto)
  10. Chopin

  11. Nocturne in F-sharp major, Op. 15 No. 2
  12. Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23

Reviews:

“range of touch and eloquence… the project is a fascinating exploration of music that is eminently worth a second hearing.” —David Threasher, Gramophone

“This is a rewarding recital by well regarded pianist Michael Dussek… this recording is above all a labour of love and, I hope, an insight into the very specific connections between one of the most innovative and accomplished musicians of his day, Jan Ladislav Dussek, and the greatest of all piano composers, Fryderyk Chopin. Some will argue about the latter comment, but not me after finding this recital so committed and encouraging. I can’t applaud this disc too highly.” —David R Dunsmore, MusicWeb International (Recommended Recording Distinction)