Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/485

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DUSCHEK.
DUSSEK.

1787) at Prague the concert-aria 'Bella mia fiamma' (Köchel, No. 528). She sang at Vienna, Berlin, Weimar, Leipsic. and Dresden, where the Elector had her portrait painted life-size (1787). On her first visit with her husband to Vienna (March and April 1786), they gave no public performance, but were often invited to the houses of the aristocracy, especially to Prince Paar's, where Josephine sang with great success. They witnessed the downfall of the intrigues against the first representation of Mozart's Figaro in Vienna, and it was their partisanship and enthusiastic admiration of the work which prepared the way for its brilliant reception in Prague on Oct. 14, and that of 'Don Giovanni' on Oct. 29, 1787. Beethoven was at Prague early in 96, and wrote his 'Ah perfido!' there; and as it was first sung by Madame Duschek on Nov. 21 of that year, we may infer that he composed it for her. On her second visit to Vienna, Madame Duschek gave a concert at the Jahn'sche Saal (March 29, 1798), at which she herself sang an aria by Danzi and a rondo by Mozart, accompanied by Mozart's questionable friend Stadler, with corno di bassetto obligato. Schuppanzigh played a violin concerto, and Beethoven a pianoforte sonata with accompaniment. Fétis's statement that she came to London in 1800 and died there, arises from a confusion with the wife of Dussek the pianist.

[ C. F. P. ]

DUSSEK, Johann Ludwig, or Ladislaw, one of the most renowned pianists and composers for the pianoforte of the latter part of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, was born at Czaslau in Bohemia, Feb. 9, 1761. His father, John Joseph Dussek, a musician of considerable repute in his day, was organist and leading professor in that town, where he married the daughter of Judge Johann Stebeta, by whom he had three children, the eldest being Johann Ludwig. Although the brother, Franz Benedikt, and the sister, Veronika Rosalia, were more or less distinguished, the subject of this brief memoir is the only one of the three whose memory and works have come down to us. According to Dlabacz, there were various modes of spelling our composer's patronyme. It will be enough, however, to cite three, Dussik, Duschek, Dussek, the last of which has long been recognised, and is unlikely henceforth to be disturbed in its prerogative, notwithstanding that the father of our English Dussek signed 'Johann Joseph Dussik.' When the son established himself in London, he altered the penultimate letter from i to e, and pronounced his name 'Duschek,' for which we have the authority of Pio Cianchettini, whose sire wedded Veronica Rosalia, already mentioned. Franz Duschek, not the least noted member of the group of artists bearing the cognomen in one or another form, was the intimate friend of Mozart. [See Duschek.]

According to Dlabacz, on the whole a far better authority than either the reticent Gerber, or Fétis, who, like Bayle, took anything he could find, no matter from what source, Johann Ludwig Dussek began to study the pianoforte in his fifth year, and the organ in his ninth, and in the capacity of organist soon gave valuable assistance to his father. From Czaslau he went to Iglau, where he was engaged as treble singer in the Minorite church, pursuing his musical studies with Father Ladislaw Spinar, and familiarising himself with the 'humanities' at the College of Jesuits, subsequently for two years continuing the same course of instruction at Kuttenberg, where he was appointed organist of the Jesuit church. Thence he removed to Prague, where, if we may credit the naturally partial testimony of his father, he went through a course of 'philosophy,' and took the degree of 'Master.' Here Dussek cherished an earnest desire to join the Cistercian [1]friars; but, happily, his youth was an obstacle to his admission as member of that respectable fraternity. In his straits he met with a patron—Count Männer, an artillery officer in the Austrian service, who took him to Mechlin (Malines), where he remained for some time as organist at the church of St. Rombaut, and teacher of the pianoforte. Tired of Mechlin, he left for Berg-op-Zoom, again accepting the post of organist at one of the principal churches. Such a dreary spot, however, was not likely to suit one of Dussek's temperament, and he speedily went to Amsterdam, where he may be said to have laid the foundation of his after brilliant reputation as pianist and composer. It is worth remark that Dussek's last engagement as church organist was at Berg-op-Zoom; and at the same time—which more than one German critic (Professor Marx among others) has observed—that his early acquaintance with the organ had much to do with the peculiar style of not a few of the slow movements to be met with in his finest sonatas—among which may especially be cited the adagio of the 'Invocation (op. 77), his last great composition for the pianoforte. Dussek's brilliant success at Amsterdam soon obtained for him an invitation to the Hague, where he passed nearly a twelvemonth, giving lessons on the pianoforte to the children of the Stadtholder. Here he also devoted much time to composition, producing 3 concertos, and 12 sonatas for pianoforte, with accompaniments of stringed instruments, about which Cramer's 'Magazin der Musik' (Hamburg) speaks in very favourable terms. From the Hague, Dussek, now twenty-two years of age, mindless of the praise that had been awarded to his early compositions, proceeded to Hamburg, obtaining further instruction from Emmanuel Bach, second son of the immortal John Sebastian. The advice and encouragement of this eminent master would seem to have exercised a salutary influence on our young musician. A year later, nevertheless, we find him at Berlin, astonishing the dilettanti of the Prussian capital with his pianoforte-playing, and also with his performances on an instrument called the 'Harmonica,' the qualities of which, in agreement with one Hessel, the soi disant inventor, he travelled through various parts of Germany to exhibit, exciting the admiration of Gerber (at Hesse-Cassel, 1785) both for

  1. Fancy! the afterwards boon companion of Prince Louis Ferdinand!