ROMANTIC REVOLUTION

In the fascinating SOMM 0657 compact disk Romantic Revolution many a listener will probably be introduced to the music of the Czech composer Jan Ladislav Dussek, played by the accomplished English pianist Michael Dussek, a descendant of the composer. The CD features the piano music of the largely unknown and neglected Czech composer along with two works by Fryderyk Chopin.

SOMM Recordings has provided a superbly engineered album, complimented by insightful liner notes by Michael Dussek, whose elegant and technically flawless playing focuses on music composed by his ancestor during the years 1789 to 1846, a time during which both Dussek and Chopin composed for the continuously improved fortepiano and its descendant, the modern three-pedal, six octave pianoforte.

Dussek’s music has deep roots in the late works of the Classicists, but he decidedly broke with the sound of the past by penning intensely Romantic music that made unprecedented pianistic demands both on the interpreters of his compositions and on the very instruments on which his music was to be played.  This is evident in the Piano Sonata in A-flat major, Le retour à Paris, Op. 70 a mature work that boldly bids farewell to the limitations of the fortepiano. Even the 1789 Sonata in G minor (Op.10 No.2), an early career composition, already evidences things to come from the pen of Dussek.

Showing how the Czech composer’s genius had an impact on Fryderyk Chopin’s works, the CD Romantic Revolution includes the Polish master’s Fantasy in F minor (Op.49) and the Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat (Op.61), “simply to demonstrate” – in the words of Michael Dussek – “… the influence, in my view undeniable and at least partially unrecognized… on the great Polish composer…”

Gratitude and kudos are owed to Michael Dussek for his research and or his protean playing, and to SOMM Recordings for its enterprise and for the continuing quality of its releases.

Rafael de Acha © 2022

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