Du[symbol omitted]ek, Jan Ladislav

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DU[symbol omitted]EK, JAN LADISLAV

Proto-Romanticist composer-virtuoso (also Dussek, Duschek, Dusík); b. [symbol omitted]áslav (Czaslau), Bohemia, Feb. 12, 1760; d. Saint-Germaine-en-Laye, France, March 20, 1812. As a child he studied piano and organ with his father, and later attended the Jesuit school in Jihlava (Iglau). After successful concert work in Amsterdam c. 1782, he appeared throughout Europe as piano and glass harmonica soloist and remained 11 years in London as virtuoso, teacher, composer, and publisher. From 1803 he was with Prince Ludwig Ferdinand of Prussia (himself a musician) until Ludwig's death in combat in 1806; from 1807 until his own death Du[symbol omitted]ek was in Talleyrand's service. He composed in the late classical vein for several instrumental combinations, but his piano works, which evolved side by side with the piano in its evolution from harpsichord and clavichord, are especially significant as anticipating severally the Romanticist styles of Schubert, Weber, Schumann, Liszt, Chopin, and Brahms. He was an "unacknowledged explorer" whose daring chromaticisms and modulations, long, singing phrases, and undulating accompaniments were absorbed into the characteristic expression of subsequent keyboard masters. Even his programmatic titles and descriptive directions (con amore, sotto voce ) were prophetic.

Bibliography: Modern eds. of some of his works appear in Musica antiqua Bohemica, ed. j. racek, rev. a. nemec and j. pekelsky (Prague 1949), v. 8, 22, 41, 46. h. truscott, "D. and the Concerto," Music Review 16 (1955) 2953. e. blom, "The Prophecies of D.," in Classics: Major and Minor (London 1958); Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. e. blom, 9 v. (5th ed. London 1954) 2:825829. w. kahl, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. f. blume (Kassel-Basel 1949) 3:100710. h. a. craw, A Biography and Thematic Catalog of the Works of J. L. Dussek (17601812) (Ph.D. diss. University of Southern California 1964); "Dussek," in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. s. sadie, v. 5 (New York 1980) 754758. m. e. doutt, The Concertos of Jan Ladislav Dussek (17601812) (Ph.D. diss. University of Kentucky 1989). o. l. grossman, The Solo Piano Sonatas of Jan Ladislav Dussek (Ph.D. diss. Yale University 1975). d. m. randel, ed., The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music (Cambridge, Mass. 1996) 233. n. slonimsky, ed., Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (8th ed. New York 1992) 468.

[r. w. ricks]