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In Celebration of Dussek

Today we say happy birthday to Czech pianist and composer Jan Ladislav Dussek - born this day in 1760. For once I won't be complaining about a composer being neglected, because Dussek's reputation reminds intact. His sonatinas are often seen on student piano stands, and though not performed as often as they should be, the larger scale pieces (there are some 34 piano sonatas for a start...) do feature on recordings and on concert platforms. The young Dussek cut quite a dashing figure and was one of the first (some say the first pianists to play side-on to the audience, apparently to give them a good view of his beau visage. Overindulgence and a fondness for alcohol changed Dusk's appearance later in life, and in late portraits he really is quite enormous, but it's fair to say he was something of a pianistic poster-boy in late-eighteenth century musical circles.

Dussek's life was an eventful one. Drama seems to have followed him wherever he went, be it escaping the Russian secret police after a 'misunderstanding' over a piece of j