Something of a rake’s progress, the life of Jan Ladislav Dussek is full of triumph and tragedy; of youthful fame leading to lengthy obscurity. Born in Bohemia a few years after Mozart, Dussek became a hugely popular pianist and composer of piano and chamber works. Such were his youthful good looks, that audiences made the then unusual request to have the piano turned sideways so they could admire his “beau visage”.

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Several financial and amorous scandals kept the composer on the move, but along the way he managed to...

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