Discovering Classical Piano Concertos

Jan Ladislav Dussek – Piano Concerto in G major, Op 1 No 3 with Howard Shelley and the Ulster Orchestra

I am sure that I am not alone in steering myself towards favourite Piano Concertos for comfortable listening sometimes overlooking unfamiliar pieces! Such classics among Piano Concertos including compositions by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Grieg, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky seem to be oft played. I am really enjoying a tour of discovery thanks to Hyperion, amongst which is my current recommendation from the Czech composer Dussek, 1760-1812.

Listening to this composer and notably the three concertos from my recommended Hyperion CD with Howard Shelley at the piano the listener might be forgiven for thinking that this music resembles that of other notable composers. True, however these composers are later than Dussek so, fascinating to note that his music is really well ahead of its time! Born in Bohemia a decade after the death of J S Bach, he travelled, playing concerts and taught across Europe at the same time as composing.

Dussek’s Piano Concerto in G major is an early work composed at a similar time to Mozart’s early Piano Concertos. Unlike all of his subsequent efforts in this genre, this concerto is cast in just two movements. The middle slow movement is omitted. Mozart was a true champion of the cadenza and Dussek felt no need for it and dispensed with it, perhaps influencing other composers to follow suit.
My recommended performance is the utterly reliable recording by Hyperion with Howard Shelley playing and conducting the Ulster Orchestra.


Enjoy a taster with YouTube:

Jan Ladislav Dussek-Piano Concertos-Howard Shelley (piano), Ulster Orchestra

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