Jan Ladislav Dussek Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 5 – Enlightening

 

Jan Ladislav Dussek was a pioneering piano virtuoso who continually pushed the boundaries of his instrument. And in some cases, he was responsible for some of the improvements made to the fortepiano — especially range.

Volume 5 in Brilliant Classics’ series features pianist Wolfgang Brunner. His performances are top-notch. But I found his liner notes even more rewarding.

In them, Brunner compares and contrasts the differences between Viennese and English fortepianos of the early 1800s. I found it a revelation. I now better understand the importance of matching the music with an instrument of its time.

Brunner plays the Sonata in A minor, Op. 18, No. 2 on a Viennese fortepiano. The sonata is similar in style to those of Haydn. The texture is thin, the voicing simple and straightforward. The light and responsive action of the fortepiano was well-suited to this music.

Brunner also uses this instrument for the Sonata in G major, Op. 45, No. 2. Published in 1802, the three Op. 45 sonatas show major advances in playing and compositional technique. There are more chords (and chords in motion). The harmonies are more complex, and there is more motion in the inner voices.

The Viennese fortepiano lets all the detail of the music show through. Runs sound cleanly executed and the whole sonata has a feel of elegance about it.
Brunner uses an English Broadwood fortepiano for the first and third sonatas of the Op. 45 set. The sound is fatter, and the action a little louder. The English fortepianos tended to smear the sound more than their Viennese counterparts.

If the second sonata invoked Haydn, the other two conjured up Beethoven. The sound was brawny, bold, and a little rough around the edges. Elegance was replaced with raw emotion.

A revelation indeed.

Jan Ladislav Dussek: Complete Piano Sonatas, Vol. 5
Sonatas Op. 18, No. 2 and Op. 45
Wolfgang Brunner, fortepiano
Brilliant Classics 95605

More Recent Posts

  • We’re rekindling Charlottesville Classical on WTJU 91.1 FM

    Starting next Monday, July 13, WTJU’s classical department becomes Charlottesville Classical, your arts companion for our community. It’s radio for lovers of good music and curious seekers of new musical experiences. It’s radio for people who value our local community — yet who sometimes need a break from the bleakest of the news. It’s radio for […]

  • Friday, July 31, 4pm: “RADIO TALKS: The early days of underground radio”

    REGISTER HERE for this Zoom-based panel discussion on Friday, July 31, 4 – 5 p.m. Music entertains, but it can never be reduced to mere entertainment. Music is always a change agent in human life. And so it was in the early 1970s, when underground, freeform, and countercultural radio stations took to the airwaves, amidst […]

  • “WBCN and The American Revolution” Virtual Screening to Support WTJU 91.1 FM

    Film festival sensation WBCN and The American Revolution is now available in Charlottesville for screening in your own home. Don’t miss our panel discussion with the filmmaker and others on July 31: RADIO TALKS: The early days of underground radio The landmark film about the early days of the legendary, underground Boston radio station, will […]

  • New Blues and Soul News – 7/7/2020

    New Blues and Soul News – 7/7/2020 New Blues: Eli Cook – All Night Thing (C.R.8): “Eli Cook draws a line between blues-rock-grunge on new music: and it’s wicked. “I want this record to sound like John Fogerty and Billy Gibbons forced Scott Weiland to listen to Chuck Berry and Bill Haley records for a […]

  • New Jazz Adds – 7/7/2020

    New Jazz News – 7/7/2020 Jens Bockamp Flow Quartet – Into The Zone (Float Music): “Cologne-based saxophone player and award-winning composer Jens Böckamp presents his third album as a bandleader, an individual collection of sophisticated compositions in structure, harmonics and rhythm but still catchy and with plenty of space. Joscha Oetz (bass), strong and impulsive, […]

  • Majestic recording of Johann Pachelbel Magnificat

    Tags: , , , , , ,

    To the general public, Johann Pachelbel is a one-hit-wonder. To his contemporaries in Germany, he was much more — and recordings such as this help us understand why. During his lifetime, Pachelbel was renowned as an organist and a composer. He was especially adept at counterpoint, something he passed on to his students. One of […]