Dussek Symphonies

Dussek Symphonies
Helsinki Baroque Orchestra

Czech composer Franz Xaver Dussek (or Frantisek Xaver Dusek), apparently unrelated to Jan Ladislav Dussek, was a friend of Mozart, who stayed with him in Prague while finishing Don Giovanni.Dussek was born in 1731, and the four symphonies recorded here probably date from the 1760s or early 1770s. They are good examples of the early Viennese symphony, which by that time had penetrated to Prague, 200 miles away. Each one is in three movements, with clear and cleverly handled sonata forms in the opening movement that suggest that the composer, even at this early date, was following what Haydn was up to; the brevity of the finales also suggests Georg Christoph Wagenseil. All are sunny in mood, with no influence from the German Sturm und Drang movement (which they may well have preceded). Most interesting are the slow movements, which eschew simple melody in favor of graceful, shifting textures based on broken-up chords that never quite settle down when you expect them to. The Helsinki Baroque Orchestra under Aapo Häkkinen handles these elegantly but elsewhere at times has the undesirable severe quality that afflicts Baroque-oriented ensembles that move into Classical-period repertory; the music lacks a little in the galant department. But this composer, all but unknown, needs more exposure, especially in view of his connection with Mozart, and Classical-period specialists, students, and enthusiasts will welcome this well-recorded release.

  • Release Date : 2/07/2012

  • Label : Naxos