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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA68027
Recording details: September 2013
Ulster Hall, Belfast, United Kingdom
Produced by Annabel Connellan
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: August 2014
Total duration: 23 minutes 29 seconds

'They are rewarding works … they sound especially effective in the persuasive hands of Howard Shelley. Shelley's sympathy for that uneasy period just before the romantic explosion is demonstrated by his exemplary recordings of Clementi (among others), and he demonstrates the same kind of expressive tact as a soloist here. Rhythms are consistently alert; the more lyrical passages bloom without excessive romantic milking; passagework is nimble; and most important, he manages to point up the music's harmonic twists without digging his elbows into our sides. His work as conductor is nearly as impressive: from the sting of the rhythms that launch the early G major Concerto to the airy dance rhythms in the finale of the E flat major, the accompaniments, inevitably attentive, complement the piano parts well. The orchestral players respond deftly, and the engineers have captured the proceedings with Hyperion's expected clarity. Add to this the fine notes by Stephan Lindeman and you have a sure-fire hit' (International Record Review) » More

Piano Concerto in C major, Op 29
1795; C125; also published as Op 20

Rondo  [6'30]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Dussek’s Piano Concerto in C major, Op 29 (also listed as Op 20; issued in 1795), stems from about the mid-point in his career. Published four years after Mozart’s death, it emerged at a time when the piano concerto genre was gaining popularity; a number of concertos by other composers were also published around this time. Examples include a concerto by François-Adrien Boieldieu, Johann Baptist Cramer’s first (Op 10) and second (Op 16) of a total of nine, John Field’s first (of seven), and Daniel Steibelt’s first two (of eight). Beethoven also composed his first two piano concertos (No 2 in B flat major, Op 19, and No 1 in C major, Op 15) around this time, though both were published only in 1801.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Dussek’s C major Concerto is its opening gambit. Instead of beginning with a brisk presentation of a bright C major theme, as one would have expected in 1795, Dussek initiates the movement with a twenty-two-bar Larghetto introduction in 3/8. The material presented here later recurs towards the end of orchestra’s first ritornello, and again at the beginning of the recapitulation. The G major slow movement is also cast as a Larghetto (like the slow introduction to the first movement), and the concerto is rounded of by a C major rondo. The first movement’s slow introduction is a truly original touch, and is quite possibly without precedent in a piano concerto. This experiment may stem from Haydn’s use of the gesture to open all but one of the ‘London’ symphonies, which were premiered in the British capital while Dussek was there. Haydn appeared with Dussek during both of his visits, and is known to have taken an interest in his younger colleague. He even wrote a highly complimentary letter to Dussek’s father in February 1792 in which he stated: ‘I … consider myself fortunate in being able to assure you that you have one of the most upright, moral, and, in music, most eminent of men for a son. I love him just as you do, for he fully deserves it. Give him, then, daily a father’s blessing, and thus will he be ever fortunate, which I heartily wish him to be, for his remarkable talents.’

from notes by Stephan D Lindeman © 2014

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