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Markus Becker - DUSSEK, J.L.: Piano Sonatas - Opp. 9 and 77 (Becker)

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DUSSEK, J.L.: Piano Sonatas - Opp. 9 and 77 (Becker)

Jan Ladislav Dussek

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CPO's Jan Ladislav Dussek: Piano Sonatas Opp. 9 & 77, featuring pianist Markus Becker, contrasts Dussek's last-known work -- the Grande Sonate in F minor, subtitled "L'Invocation" -- with three of Dussek's earliest, solo piano arrangements of works originally published as accompanied sonatas. Becker -- who performs these sonatas on a modern grand -- is certainly the right player to put the best face on these pieces; his playing is grand, confident, and forceful. "L'Invocation" is an engrossing piece with a wide variety of emotional twists and turns and a secure, yet exploratory approach to pianistic technique that in the Tempo di Minuetto movement betrays the influence of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. It is a landmark piece well worth knowing, and as Dussek -- by 1812 no longer youthful, badly overweight, and suffering from a multitude of ailments -- did not live to produce another, "L'Invocation" stands as his valedictory statement. By comparison, the three sonatas of Op. 3, dating from 1786, contain no foreshadowing of psychological form, though they do represent a highly elaborated and expanded take on the classical piano sonata. Superficially, they seem similar to Beethoven's early piano sonatas, but listening closely reveals that Dussek's work has its own aesthetic and unique voice, not to mention that Beethoven himself was only beginning to compose when these works first appeared. While they are anything but conformist -- contrast any one of these sonatas to one of Haydn's, for example -- they are a little more difficult to warm up to than the "L'Invocation" is and will reward repeated listens. However, the Larghetto from the Sonata Op. 9/2 in C major is quite penetrating, striking, and memorable. If one were to judge Dussek solely on his scandal-ridden and sometimes wasteful personal life, then his relative obscurity might be seen as well deserved. Where would we be, however, if we applied the same criteria to the work of Richard Wagner? In terms of the final phase of the classical piano sonata, Dussek's work has a relative value similar to Wagner's place in the scheme of high German romanticism just prior into its dissolution into the post-romantic ethos. Wagner was the culmination of the process that began with Beethoven, just as Beethoven naturally carried the torch of the aesthetic from which Dussek sprang, and probably buried it forever. Such observations still may not compel one to listen to Dussek; however, if a listener decides to take the plunge, CPO's Jan Ladislav Dussek: Piano Sonatas, Opp. 9 & 77, is as good as it gets in terms of advocacy of Dussek as a figure worthy of first-tier status.
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DUSSEK, J.L.: Piano Sonatas - Opp. 9 and 77 (Becker)

Markus Becker

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Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 77, "L'invocation" (Jan Ladislav Dussek)

1
I. Allegro moderato ma energico
00:10:06

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

2
II. Tempo di minuetto con moto
00:03:47

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

3
III. Adagio non troppo ma solenne
00:05:10

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

4
IV. Rondo. Allegro moderato
00:08:10

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

Piano Sonata in B-Flat Major, Op. 9, No. 1 (Jan Ladislav Dussek)

5
I. Allegretto non tanto
00:08:00

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

6
II. Rondo. Allegretto grazioso
00:03:26

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

Piano Sonata in C major, Op. 9, No. 2 (Jan Ladislav Dussek)

7
I. Allegro con spirito
00:09:54

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

8
II. Larghetto con espressione
00:03:32

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

9
III. Presto assai
00:04:09

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

Piano Sonata in D major, Op. 9, No. 3 (Jan Ladislav Dussek)

10
I. Allegro maestoso con espressione
00:08:08

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

11
II. Prestissimo
00:04:22

Markus Becker, piano

(C) 2008 CPO (P) 2008 CPO

Album Description

CPO's Jan Ladislav Dussek: Piano Sonatas Opp. 9 & 77, featuring pianist Markus Becker, contrasts Dussek's last-known work -- the Grande Sonate in F minor, subtitled "L'Invocation" -- with three of Dussek's earliest, solo piano arrangements of works originally published as accompanied sonatas. Becker -- who performs these sonatas on a modern grand -- is certainly the right player to put the best face on these pieces; his playing is grand, confident, and forceful. "L'Invocation" is an engrossing piece with a wide variety of emotional twists and turns and a secure, yet exploratory approach to pianistic technique that in the Tempo di Minuetto movement betrays the influence of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. It is a landmark piece well worth knowing, and as Dussek -- by 1812 no longer youthful, badly overweight, and suffering from a multitude of ailments -- did not live to produce another, "L'Invocation" stands as his valedictory statement. By comparison, the three sonatas of Op. 3, dating from 1786, contain no foreshadowing of psychological form, though they do represent a highly elaborated and expanded take on the classical piano sonata. Superficially, they seem similar to Beethoven's early piano sonatas, but listening closely reveals that Dussek's work has its own aesthetic and unique voice, not to mention that Beethoven himself was only beginning to compose when these works first appeared. While they are anything but conformist -- contrast any one of these sonatas to one of Haydn's, for example -- they are a little more difficult to warm up to than the "L'Invocation" is and will reward repeated listens. However, the Larghetto from the Sonata Op. 9/2 in C major is quite penetrating, striking, and memorable. If one were to judge Dussek solely on his scandal-ridden and sometimes wasteful personal life, then his relative obscurity might be seen as well deserved. Where would we be, however, if we applied the same criteria to the work of Richard Wagner? In terms of the final phase of the classical piano sonata, Dussek's work has a relative value similar to Wagner's place in the scheme of high German romanticism just prior into its dissolution into the post-romantic ethos. Wagner was the culmination of the process that began with Beethoven, just as Beethoven naturally carried the torch of the aesthetic from which Dussek sprang, and probably buried it forever. Such observations still may not compel one to listen to Dussek; however, if a listener decides to take the plunge, CPO's Jan Ladislav Dussek: Piano Sonatas, Opp. 9 & 77, is as good as it gets in terms of advocacy of Dussek as a figure worthy of first-tier status.
© TiVo

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