Jan Ladiislav Dussek Sonatinas for amateurs and professionals

The liner notes for this release carefully points out that Dussek “wrote extensively for the Middle Class.” In this case, 12 Progressive Lessons and Six Sonatinas, Op. 20 — both written for amateur musicians.

And while they’re not masterworks, they’re certainly well-crafted. And I found myself enjoying them in different ways.

The 12 Progressive Studies are more than just a series of lessons. They also introduce “several characteristics airs of different nations.” Listening to the studies as a group, the music seemed to have a narrative arc as it moved from simple to complex.

The Six Sonatinas are simply a collection of stand-alone works. And while they may be simple in structure, some of the passages sounded quite challenging.

Ursula Dütschler plays with a sure touch. The last of the progressive lessons move from amateur to professional level, and Dütschler rises to the challenge.

I wasn’t especially enamored with the sound of the fortepiano, though. It’s a reproduction of an 1800 Schanz, and the action seems a little sluggish. Dütschler seems to take that in stride, too. Still, I’d like to hear her performing on a more responsive instrument.

On the whole, a solid addition to Brilliant Classic’s Dussek series.

Jan Ladislav Dussek: Complete Piano Sonatas Volume 8: Sonatinas
Ursula Dütschler, fortepiano
Brilliant Classics 95982

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