The Czech composer and virtuoso pianist Jan Ladislav Dussek (Dusik)
was born at Caslav on February 12th 1760. His father, Jan Josef
Dusikwas an organist and music teacher, and his mother, Veronica
nee Stebeta was an excellent harpist. Originally baptised Jan Vaclav,
he probably acquired the name Ladislav from one Ladislav Spinar,
who was his music teacher at the Jesuit secondary school at Jihlava.
Dussek’s career as virtuoso pianist and composer began when
he entered the service of Count Maenner, with whom he left Czechoslovakia
for Belgium. In 1779 he became organist of St. Romuald’s
Cathedral in Malines, and from 1780-83 he taught and played in
Holland, where his compositions were first published. 1783 and
1784 saw him playing in Berlin and Mainz, and in 1786 he went to
St. Petersburg where he stayed for two years in the service of
Count Karl Radziwill. In 1786 Dussek visited Paris and Milan, returning
to Paris in 1788. The Revolution obliged him, like so many other
musicians of the time, to flee from Paris, and in 1790 he settled
in London, marrying the harpist and singer Sophia Corri in 1792.
The music-publishing firm he had established in London with his
father-in-law Domenico Corri went bankrupt in 1800, and leaving
his wife and young daughter Olivia (O.B.Dussek) in London, Dussek
fled to Hamburg. From 1803 he was in the service of the Prince
Louis Ferdinand, and in 1806 he served at the court of Count Ysenburk,
ending his days as teacher and director of concerts to Count Talleyrand
in Paris. He died at St Germain-en-Laye on March 12th 1812.
It is for the single-action harp
that all Dussek’s compositions
for the harp are intended. They include Concertos, Sonatas and
many duos for single-action harp and fortepiano, of which the Opus
69 Duo-Sonatas written for performance by himself and F.J. Naderman
in 1810 are the most notable. The group of six Sonatinas of which
the present work is is the last, was written for the noted virtuoso
Madame Krumpholtz, who was married to the composer-inventor J.B.
In preparing this new edition I have used those originally published
by Erard in Paris, Breitkopf and Häertel in Leipzig, and J.Dale
in London. Dussek was to develop the ideas of this two-movement
Sonatina in a later Sonata (Opus 38) for Harp and Pianoforte with
obbligato horns. This was published in London by J.Dale. In revising
the Sonatina for the present edition, I have also consulted this
later and slightly different version.