edited by Roberto Illiano and Rohan H. Stewart-MacDonald, Bologna, Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2012 (Quaderni Clementiani, 4).
The career of Jan Ladislav Dussek (1760-1812) was notable for its peripateticism. Starting out in his native Bohemia Dussek spent periods of time in Germany and the Netherlands, settling in London for about ten years in the 1790s, progressing to Hamburg and ending his days in Paris. Although his activities centred on the piano, like so many musicians of his day Dussek branched out from performing and composing to encompass teaching, publishing and instrument retail, with varying success. A plethora of reviews and biographical accounts attest to Dussek’s renown throughout Europe as a pianist and composer, particularly when it came to sensitive and cantabile playing; and he interacted with some of the most eminent musicians, artists and political figures of his time. Dussek’s reputation declined sharply in the nineteenth century, however, and with the exception of isolated revivals of his work, for instance in London in the mid-nineteenth century, he has remained on the verge of obscurity in the minds of many musicians and music-lovers until the present day: even his well-known innovation of placing the piano sideways-on to the audience to display his striking profile is often mistakenly attributed to Franz Liszt. Although Dussek has provided the subject of a number of student dissertations over the years, in the published literature he has largely been restricted to cameo appearances or brief entries in historical surveys.
The bicentennial anniversary of Dussek’s death provides a fitting occasion for bringing together scholars from all parts of the world to produce the first multi-author, multi-lingual study of the composer. Several chapters deal with aspects of Dussek’s biography and iconography that receive only sparse treatment elsewhere; others survey the different branches of his output, including the piano sonatas, the piano concertos, the chamber music with and without harp and the three String Quartets, Op. 60, which are currently enjoying a revival via recordings and a new edition.
This book has two fundamental aims. One is to stimulate renewed interest in, and debate about, a less than celebrated – one might say unjustly neglected – figure. The other aim is to approach Dussek’s multi-facetted, geographically diverse career as an interface between ourselves and the music business at the beginning of the nineteenth century, whose complexity and vicissitudes emanated from the sociological dynamics and political events with which Dussek was, to an almost unique degree, inextricably associated. The highs and lows of Dussek’s career, the surviving contemporary accounts of Dussek the performer and composer, and the letters he exchanged with colleagues in several nations vividly portray the struggles of a worldly, ambitious, versatile and extremely perspicacious musician striving to carve out a place of eminence and material security for himself. This meant negotiating the complex progression, underway at this point in history, from the patronage system to the emergence of the artist as a socially and financially autonomous entity.
edited by/a cura di Luca Sala, Bologna, Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2012 (Muzio Clementi. Opera omnia, Edizione Nazionale Italiana), pp. 65+xl, ISBN 978-88-8109-477-6
In this volume we wanted to investigate the intersection between the Industrial Revolution and the aesthetic-musical field. In particular, we aimed to explore the European dimension of the cultural exchanges caused by the phenomenon of musical migration, together with the international relationships generated by the music printing industry, entrepreneurship and the market for musical instruments. The later eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries were a time of fundamental change in European life, proceeding from the revolutionary implications of the ideologies of Enlightenment, and reverberating in market economies, methods of manufacturing and agriculture, modes of travel, and population distribution. The development of new technologies resulted in the enlargement and improvement of the music printing industry, and in the widespread diffusion of music in private and public spheres. The Industrial Revolution brought about the 'modernization' of productive processes and, as a consequence, engendered a kind of 'globalization' of the musical market.
edited by/a cura di David Rowland, Bologna, Ut Orpheus Edizioni, 2010 (Muzio Clementi. Opera omnia, Edizione Nazionale Italiana).
The critical edition of The Correspondence of Muzio Clementi includes some 20 previously-unknown letters by Clementi himself, in addition to about 30 more that were written to him, his family or associates, or by those other individuals. Furthermore, many letters only previously referred to or partially quoted are published here in full, along with previously unknown passages found in new sources such as the notebook used by both Clementi and his grandson Herbert Clementi-Smith, now in the possession of John Collard.
Clementi's correspondence opens a window on a number of aspects of his own life, the lives of other contemporary musicians, and the international music business of the time.
One of the benefits of publishing all of the known letters to and from Clementi, his family and his business associates is that much more is revealed than has hitherto been known about the nature of Clementi's company, and more generally the nature of the music business in early nineteenth-century Europe.
The letters clearly show the extent of Clementi's contacts with European publishers and instrument sellers, including Artaria, Breitkopf & Härtel, Erard, Naderman, Nägeli, Pleyel, Ricordi and Streicher. One of the most striking features of the correspondence is the evidence that it provides for the esteem in which Clementi was held among musicians all over Europe, as well as the use that he made of his reputation. His relations with Haydn, Dussek and Beethoven are well-known, but other figures emerge in this correspondence who have not been so closely associated with Clementi in the past, such as Bomtempo, Himmel and Righini, as well as very minor figures about whom very little is known, such as Nezot.
In summary, the correspondence reveals an intelligent and cultured British citizen, a good friend, an energetic musician who was at the heart of the development of London's musical institutions, and an extremely astute and well-connected businessman.