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Pianos and Pianists - Consultant Editor Ates Orga

Pioneering Perceptions



'Dussek is usually looked upon as a sort of musical Jane Austen, a mixture of provincial orderliness, primness and small gossip, and few take the trouble in the musician's case, as people happily still do in the novelist's, to ascertain by personal investigation what depth of character and force of style lies behind the apparently tame and humdrum surface. Dussek, directly his Sonatinas are safely behind us, is usually pigeon-holed for the rest of our lives with Clementi, Hummel, Steibelt, Cramer, Himmel, Kalkbrenner, Pleyel, e tutti quanti, a host of once fashionable pianist-composers whom we discard with one sweeping gesture as if they were all of exactly the same significance - in other words, of none whatever. Unfortunately, this summary condemnation will not do ... Dussek will certainly astonish all those who think themselves safe in their third-hand estimation of him, according to which he can only be dismissed as a composer without originality, more or less exactly like a good many others... It is all very well to condemn a creative musician for incessantly reminding one of others: but what if he reminds one of those whom he himself cannot possibly have known? What if Dussek should prove to have sown the seeds from which were to spring many of the characteristic features in Weber, Schumann, Chopin, Liszt, in the minor romantic piano composers, and even in a musician so late as Brahms?'

- Eric Blom, 'The Prophecies of Dussek,' Musical Opinion, December 1927


'To continue characterising each Nocturne would be to continue for some time a record of delighted suprise. Let us make an end to words and advise all who play the piano to make better discoveries for themselves by procuring a copy of the little masterpieces whereby John Field gave something to the world of music without which it would be as the world of flowers without the daisy: no worse for those who do not know what they miss, but not free from wistful regret for those who had once beheld the modest blossom'

- Eric Blom, 'John Field,' The Chesterian, August 1930


These landmark essays were reprinted by Eric Blom in his last book,
Classics: Major and Minor (London 1958)


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