DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | An Hour With Howard Shelley Is An Hour Well Spent

By Norman Lebrecht on October 5, 2018

Dussek: Piano Concertos (Hyperion)

★★★★ (out of five)

Jan Ladislav Dussek could have been a contender if only Mozart had been born somewhere else and at another time. Dussek (1760 to 1812) has the wrong dates and the wrong skill sets. Two bars into every movement he picks a note that you know Mozart would have declined for a better choice and, while Dussek may recover quickly and deliver a passage that could pass for Clementi at his best, your ear is already tensed for the next false turn.

Of the three concertos on offer here, two are contemporaneous with late Mozart in 1787 and 1791 yet have low opus numbers of 3 and 14. Maybe Dussek was a slow developer. The Andantino of Opus 3 has an opening statement of real interest, only to fizzle out into platitudes as the composer fails to sustain it.

The third concerto, dated 1801, is more confident and the adagio has an almost Beethovenian breadth, albeit without the basis of a gripping theme. That said, I find it fascinating to see how often Dussek just misses the main chance, settling for an acceptable phrase where Mozart would have found the note juste. Howard Shelley plays with superb conviction and the Ulster Orchestra sound pretty good. Dussek or no Dussek, this is not a wasted hour.

Chopin: Cello Sonata/Schubert: Arpeggione is available at Amazon, Spotify, and iTunes.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

SCRUTINY | Old Stock A Larger Than Life Klezmer Romp

By Paula Citron on April 26, 2019

Tarragon Theatre's Old Stock paints an immigrant’s story as a rousing, toe-tapping klezmer musical with a decidedly dark edge.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

LEBRECHT LISTENS | New Mieczyslaw Weinberg Release Is A Five Star Masterpiece

By Norman Lebrecht on May 10, 2019

There was never any question what was going to be the album of the week once the envelope disgorged this little twin-set of music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

SCRUTINY | COC Ends Season With A Musically Triumphant Otello

By Joseph So on April 29, 2019

COC's final production of the season ends with an austere Otello, coloured with novel moments and strong musicality.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.