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Songs, bootlegs and forgotten treasures

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:08 am
by davida march

I'm transferring a pile of very old cassettes to MP3. Yesterday went really well but today I'm finding some sort of electrical frequency interference and I couldn't clean it. As it progresses, the sound improves.
Anyway I think this might be quite a rare performance of two songs by Humphrey Searle sung by Gerald English (tenor) & John Constable (piano) that was a BBC radio broadcast.
Hope you enjoy -

Re: Songs, bootlegs and forgotten treasures

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:39 am
by fredbucket
davida march wrote:I'm transferring a pile of very old cassettes to MP3. Yesterday went really well but today I'm finding some sort of electrical frequency interference and I couldn't clean it. As it progresses, the sound improves.
This doesn't surprise me at all - transfers from record and tape are normally fraught with such dangers. I looked at your file using Adobe Audition and there appears to be a spike in the frequency spectrum every 1000hz - with a massive one at 16000hz.

So, I 've done two noise reductions for you, one of which uses 50% of the noise correction and is the setting I use for my piano recordings, and another one at the full 100% level. Let me know which one you think is better.

They may be found here and here


Re: Songs, bootlegs and forgotten treasures

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 11:55 am
by rob
This is simply splendid Helen. Many thanks.

Re: Songs, bootlegs and forgotten treasures

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:35 pm
by davida march
Thanks to Fred for taking time & the effort of fixing the file - I'm obviously going to have to do some research on how to do all this.

Also Rob, I have Searle's Nocturne from the same broadcast which I'll transfer later.

Re: Songs, bootlegs and forgotten treasures

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:38 pm
by davida march

The Searle Nocturne for Tenor & Piano. I think this maybe slightly better transfer although there is a weird rumble at the start which I think could be the live recording.


Re: Songs, bootlegs and forgotten treasures

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:18 pm
by Scriabinoff
David Amram - Sonata for Piano - Mvmnt I - Overture (Allegro ben marcato) Mitchell Andrews Pianist.mp3
I hope this rescues this difficult to obtain audio from 'analog obscurity'.

Pianist Michell Andrews did this recording in 1966 ( I believe), and it is to my knowledge the 2nd of only two commercial recordings of this amazing sonata ever released (the other is the modern CD by Centaur of Barbara Meister). Andrews was a professor of piano for a long time at Ball State University and I believe his interpretation/performanace of this difficult work is more effective than Meister's.

This was recorded as an uncompressed WAV PCM recording using device to device recording, and due to the very large file size, I did a conversion to mp3 to make the files more 'user friendly'. If someone with more knowledge than I can help with any audio/digital clean up I would sincerely appreciate it. I did my best to use a high quality turntable and stereo amplifier and cleaned the recored as best as I could (a vintage purchase I just made for my records as I am studying / learning this work and I needed another reference recording ).

Re: Songs, bootlegs and forgotten treasures

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:20 pm
by Scriabinoff
David Amram - Sonata for Piano - Mvmnt II Lullaby (Andante e ben marcato) Mitchell Andrews Pianist.mp3

Re: Songs, bootlegs and forgotten treasures

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:21 pm
by Scriabinoff
David Amram - Sonata for Piano - Mvmnt III Theme & Variations Mitchell Andrews Pianist.mp3

Re: Songs, bootlegs and forgotten treasures

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:23 pm
by Scriabinoff
David Amram Washing Records 9470 (1966)Vintage Album Cover Front and Back Inludes Shakespear Concerto and Piano Sonata.pdf

edit: Mislabled File, should read Shakesperean Concerto not Shakespere concerto.

Re: Songs, bootlegs and forgotten treasures

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:08 am
by Scriabinoff
Dussek, Johann Ladislaus, Václav Jan Sýkora, Alex van Amerongen, Johann Ladislaus Dussek, Johann Ladislaus Dussek, and Johann Ladislaus Dussek. Compositions for piano four hands. Supraphon, 1969.
Dussek: (2) Jan Ladislav Dussek

(2) Jan Ladislav [Johann Ladislaus (Ludwig)] Dussek [Dusík]

(b Čáslav, 12 Feb 1760; d Saint Germain-en-Laye or Paris, 20 March 1812). Pianist and composer, son of (1) Jan Dussek.

1. Life.

Despite conflicting evidence, the date of birth given above is confirmed by baptismal records. He began to learn the piano at the age of five and the organ at nine. Because of his fine voice he was sent as a chorister to the Franciscan church in Iglau (now Jihlava), and later he was a pupil at the Jesuit gymnasiums there and at Kutná Hora. Later in Prague he attended the New City Gymnasium for the school year 1776–7 and the University of Prague for one term in 1778.

Under the patronage of a captain of the Austrian artillery, Count Männer, Dussek travelled in 1779 to Malines (now Mechelen), where he stayed as a piano teacher (for an undetermined period) and also appeared in public as a pianist (16 December 1779). He then went to Bergen op Zoom and Amsterdam, and to The Hague, where he seems to have stayed for about a year giving lessons to the children of the stadtholder, William V. During all this time his playing was winning him a brilliant reputation. In 1782 he arrived in Hamburg, where he gave a concert on 12 July and met C.P.E. Bach, who is said to have advised or actually taught him. In 1783 Dussek was in St Petersburg, where he performed at the court of Catherine II. There is a story that he was later implicated in a plot against the empress and had to flee to Lithuania, where he became Kapellmeister to Prince Karl Radziwił for about two years. On leaving the service of Prince Radziwił, probably towards the end of 1784, he made an extended concert tour of Germany, performing on the glass harmonica as well as the piano. This tour included performances in Berlin, Mainz, Cassel, Frankfurt, and possibly Dresden and Ludwigslust. Towards the end of 1786, in the company of the steward (Hofmeister) of the French ambassador to Berlin, he travelled to Paris, where he appeared before the court and was particularly noticed by Marie Antoinette; he also made the acquaintance of Napoleon. He remained in Paris performing and teaching until early 1789, except for a short trip to Milan to perform and to visit his brother (3) Franz Benedikt Dussek.

At the time of the French Revolution Dussek fled to England. Because of his connections with the aristocracy in Paris he was unpopular with the Revolutionary regime, and like many musicians of the time he took refuge in London. He spent the next 11 years in London, where he became very popular as a piano teacher and appeared frequently in concerts, first at the Hanover Square Rooms on 1 June 1789. He was a frequent performer at Salomon’s concerts, and appeared with Haydn during his two visits to London. In a letter to Dussek’s father (26 February 1792) Haydn paid him one of the highest compliments he ever received: “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.”

On 31 August 1792 in St Anne’s Church, Westminster, Dussek married Sophia Corri (see §(5) below), who became famous as a singer, pianist and harpist. During the remainder of his stay in London, he was associated with his father-in-law, Domenico Corri, in a music publishing business (Corri, Dussek & Co.), which printed many of his works. While in London he also encouraged the firm of Broadwood to extend the range of the piano – in 1791 from five to five and a half octaves, and in 1794 to six octaves. Compositions written for the extended keyboard were said to be for ‘piano with additional keys’; many compositions of this period were published with two versions for the right hand, so that they could be performed ‘with or without the additional keys’.

Neither Dussek nor Corri was a businessman, and when the publishing business ran hopelessly into debt Dussek fled to Hamburg (late 1799), leaving his father-in-law to be jailed for bankruptcy. Although Dussek wrote to his wife later, there is no evidence that he ever saw her or their daughter, Olivia, again.

Dussek appeared in concerts in Hamburg and met the young Louis Spohr (who was appearing there as a violinist). In mid-1802 he made a long-projected trip to Čáslav to visit his parents and to give a concert; he played there twice (14 and 15 September), with the horn player Giovanni Punto. In October he gave three concerts in Prague with great success. The composer and pianist Václav Jan Křtitel Tomášek was much impressed by his playing, and reported that Dussek was the first to place the piano sideways on the stage so that the audience could see the performer’s profile.

From October 1804 to October 1806 Dussek was Kapellmeister to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, himself an excellent musician and composer. Spohr, in his autobiography, reported on the wild and reckless life they led together as they travelled with the prince from one battlefield to another. The prince’s death at the battle of Saalfeld (10 October 1806) occasioned Dussek’s well-known piano sonata Elégie harmonique sur la mort du Prince Louis Ferdinand de Prusse op.61 (c211). Early editions of this work published by Pleyel and by Breitkopf & Härtel were annotated: ‘L’auteur, qui a eu le bonheur de jouir du commerce très intime de S.A.R. ne l’a quitté qu’au moment, où il a versé son précieux sang pour sa patrie’. After the prince’s death Dussek briefly served Prince Isenburg, and then in September 1807 accepted a position with Talleyrand in Paris, where he remained until his death. During this period he taught a few piano pupils and gave numerous concerts, often at the Odéon, with the violinists Pierre Rode and Pierre Baillot and the cellist Jacques-Michel de Lamare. In a review of one such concert, on 22 December 1808, Méreaux wrote: “In 1808, in one of the concerts given at the Odéon by Rode and Lamare, he obtained a triumph without precedent. The violin and violoncello, accustomed to being kings of all concerts, were eclipsed this time by an Erard piano under the enchanted fingers of Dussek, who had a magic of performance, a power and a charm of expression which were truly irresistible.”

During the last months of his life Dussek was obese and spent much of his time in bed. He also drank too much; he died of gout. His burial place is not known. The Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung carried a lengthy obituary by its Paris correspondent eulogizing Dussek’s abilities as a pianist and composer.

2. Works.

Dussek is an unjustly neglected composer. Admittedly some of his more insignificant works (e.g. rondos and variations on popular tunes of the day) are trivial and deservedly forgotten, but there is a body of piano sonatas, piano concertos and chamber works that are of sufficient musical worth to be performed and enjoyed today. His music seems to have been received with enthusiasm in his own time; reviews of the original editions in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung praise Dussek’s originality and expressiveness, and the appropriateness to the piano of his melody, harmony and scoring – though they do point out such irregularities as consecutive 5ths and octaves and improper dissonances.

Dussek was one of the early touring concert pianists, so it is not surprising that most of his works are for piano or include piano. In view of the time at which he lived it might be expected that his music would be primarily Classical in style. This is true of the early works, but those composed in the last 20 years of his life show definite Romantic characteristics in the expression markings, the use of full chords, the choice of keys and the frequent modulations to remote keys, and in the use of altered chords and non-harmonic notes. His harmony includes a wider variety of chords and is considerably more chromatic than that of Mozart, Haydn and even Beethoven. His piano music is in general fuller in texture than that of C.P.E. Bach, Mozart or Haydn. He showed a predilection for modulating to the key a semitone above or below.

Dussek’s piano style, as might be expected, is often brilliant and virtuoso in character: octaves, 3rds, double 3rds, rapid scale passages and all types of pianistic figuration are exploited, some of which anticipate piano writing later in the 19th century. The music is always pianistic. Although his early piano works are only moderately difficult, the technical demands became much greater from about 1797, with the Sonata in B♭c149. Specific pedal indications appeared occasionally from about 1798, the date of the ‘Military’ Concerto op.40 (c153), though doubtless these markings indicated only special effects, and the ordinary pedalling of the piece was left unmarked.

As has been frequently observed, much of Dussek’s music resembles that of other composers. Most often, however, these composers are later than Dussek, and such resemblances show him to have been very much ahead of his time in the development of a Romantic piano style. The second movement of c166 and the first of c179 anticipate Schubert, for example, and the first movements of c151 and c168 and the second of c62 Beethoven. Other works foreshadow Weber (first movement of c149), Rossini (second of c59), Mendelssohn (c80 and c211, second movements), Chopin (fourth movement of c221, second of c259) and Schumann (c178 and c259, fourth movements); still others suggest styles as late as Liszt’s, Smetana’s, Dvořák’s and Brahms’s.

Dussek’s works were remarkably popular in his lifetime; most were reprinted at least once, and some as many as ten times (some important works appeared in as many as three different editions by Breitkopf & Härtel alone, who issued a 12-volume collected edition of his works just after his death). He quickly fell into disregard, however, and his name does not appear at all in the letters of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin or Moscheles. Between 1860 and 1880 a revival of interest in Dussek brought about new editions of the piano sonatas by Breitkopf & Härtel and Litolff, as well as many performances of them, particularly in London.




Obituary, AMZ (21 March 1812)

‘Memoir of Johann Ludwig Dussek’,The Harmonicon , iii (1825), 1–2

P. Cianchettini: ‘Memoir of Dussek’, Musical World, xxi (1846), 312–13, 445; see also 659–60 [anecdotes]

A.W. Thayer: ‘Dussik, Dussek, Duschek’, Dwight’s Journal of Music, xviii (1860–61), 211–12, 218–19, 225–7, 233–4, 241–2

A. Méreaux: Les clavecinistes de 1637 à 1790: portraits et biographies des célèbres clavecinistes (Paris, 1867), 80

H. Truscott: ‘Dussek and the Concerto’, MR, xvi (1955), 29–53

E. Blom: ‘The Prophecies of Dussek’, Classics Major and Minor (London, 1958/R), 88–117

H.A. Craw: A Biography and Thematic Catalog of the Works of J.L. Dussek (1760–1812) (diss., U. of Southern California, 1964)

A.L. Ringer: ‘Beethoven and the London Pianoforte School’, MQ, lvi (1970), 742–58

O.L. Grossman: The Solo Piano Sonatas of Jan Ladislav Dussek (diss., Yale U., 1975)

V. Klíma: ‘Návštěva Jana Ladislava Dusíka v Čechách v roce 1802’ [Dussek’s visit to Bohemia in 1802], HV, xii (1975), 140–53 [with Ger. summary]

T.B. Milligan: The Concerto in London, 1790–1800 (diss., U. of Rochester, 1978)

Z. Pilková: ‘Houslové sonáty českých skladatelů z let 1730–1810’ [Violin sonatas by Czech composers from the years 1730–1810], HV, xxiii (1986), 291–311

M.E. Doutt: The Concertos of Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760–1812) (diss., U. of Kentucky,1989)

R. Schmitt Scheubel: Johann Ludwig Dussek im Spiegel der deutschen, französischen und englischen Tagespresse seiner Zeit, nebst Verzeichnis seiner in Berliner Bibliotheken Werke der auffindbaren Autographen, Handschriften und Schallaufnahmen (diss., Technische Universität, Berlin, 1994)

A. Gerard: ‘Jan Ladislav Dusseks Le retour à Paris: eine Klaviersonate zwischen “Aufklärung” und “Romantik”’, AMw, liii (1996), 207–21

S.D. Lindeman: Structural Novelty and Tradition in the Early Romantic Piano Concerto (Stuyvesant, NY, 1999)

Howard Allen Craw

Cover 1.JPG
Dussek- Piano Music (2P,4H) Rear Cover [Program Notes] English.pdf
Dussek, J.L - Duetto in C Major, Op. 48 [I. Allegro].MP3
Dussek, J.L - Duetto in C Major, Op. 48 [II. Larghetto...].MP3
Dussek, J.L - Duetto in C Major, Op. 48 [III. Intermezo.....].MP3
Side 2 coming soon....