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Dussek: 2 Piano Concertos

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Audio CD, April 26, 2011
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Concertos pour piano, op.49 & op.22 - Tableau "Marie Antoinette", op.23 / Andreas Staier, pianoforte - Concerto Köln
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Product Details

  • Performer: Andreas Staier
  • Orchestra: Concerto Koln
  • Composer: Jan Ladislav Dussek
  • Audio CD (April 26, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capriccio
  • ASIN: B004P96WAY
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,870 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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After fleeing the French Revolution in 1789, Bohemian born Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760-1812) spent 10 years in London. In the words of Haydn, "the most honest, politest, and the most excellent man among all composers" became renowned as a concert pianist and as a composer. The first performer to sit with his profile to the audience, he developed a fruitful friendship with the piano builder John Broadwood, receiving one of the very first 5½ octave instruments ever made. The 2 piano concertos featured on this disc show Dussek extending the range and power of the contemporary keyboard.

Written in 1801, the G Minor concerto Op.49 opens with the initial `Allegro' a wistful triple metered dance before a burly orchestral explosion catapults this first movement forward. Replete with horns, trumpets and tympani, it sets up the dramatic entrance of the solo piano. While not quite displaying the depth and resonance of the modern grand, the 1806 Broadwood used in this recording is close. The same type favored by Beethoven, it demonstrates far more power than the early fortepianos and exhibits a gorgeous crystalline quality in the slower passages.

With lots of glittering finger runs and turn-on-a-dime dynamic shifts, the pianist Andreas Staier has the technical prowess to fully explore the virtuosity that Dussek demands. Gentle winds open the following `Adagio' before the wandering keyboard enters. The dreamlike sound scape recedes as Dussek employs a wide range of temporal changes and volume levels, stretching beyond the usual Classical era slow movement and anticipating the coming Romantic era.

A gypsy tinged `Rondo Allegro' closes the concerto with a swirling maelstrom.
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