Jan Ladislav Dussek

A pianist and composer who made associations with C. P. E. Bach, Ludwig Spohr, and Punto, and who was positioned with, or performed for, such royal persons as Catherine II, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon, and Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia. Dussek was well traveled in Europe and was perhaps the premier pianist of his day. Innovatively it was his idea to turn the piano to the side while on stage so that the audience could see the perfomer's profile; he also encouraged the extension of the keyboard from five octaves to five-and-a-half, and then six octaves. A plethora of compositions included vocal and stage works, concertos, accompanied sonatas, chamber pieces, piano sonatas (one of which was played at the funeral of Prince Louis Ferdinand), and a theoretical work entitled "Instructions of the Art of Playing the Piano Forte or Harpsichord". He was one of the earliest concert pianists and composed music predominantly in the Classical vein. Romantic flavors such as full chords, modulations to distant keys, and altered chords informed his later works. The technical demands of the majority of his compositions required the attention of a virtuoso. Much of his music is similar to that of other composers but those which seem most closely related appeared "after" Dussek (Weber, Rossini, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, and even Dvorak, Brahms and Smetana).
Keith Johnson, Rovi