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

'Dussek: Piano Concertos' (CDA68027)
Dussek: Piano Concertos
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Movement 1: Larghetto – Allegro maestoso
Movement 2: Larghetto sostenuto
Movement 3: Rondo

Piano Concerto in C major, Op 29
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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