Dušek František Xaver (1731 - 1799)

František Xaver Dušek (uživatel Zdeněk Pražák) - Foto: Wikimedia, public domain

František Xaver Dušek (uživatel Zdeněk Pražák)Foto: Wikimedia, public domain

Nowadays, František Xaver Dušek (Duscheck, Duschek, Dussek) is seen, by both the musical and general public, predominantly as the husband of the singer Josefina Dušek and as Mozart's host. His own output is relatively little known. Nevertheless, Dušek was one of the prominent personalities of the Prague musical life in the second half of the 18th century, not only as a composer, but also as a piano player and music teacher.

Dušek came from a very poor background; he was born into a peasant family in Chotěborky near Jaroměř and baptized on 8 December 1731. It was only thanks to the patronage of the Count Jan Karel Sporck that he could study at the Jesuit secondary school in Hradec Králové; however, he did not complete his studies because of an injury. With the support of Count Sporck, Dušek moved first to Prague where he studied with František Václav Habermann, and then to Vienna where he became a pupil of the court harpsichordist Georg Christoph Wagenseil. After returning to Bohemia, Dušek settled in Prague, devoted himself to composing and teaching (his pupils included Leopold Koželuh, Jan Vitásek or Václav Vincenc Mašek), and his house became an important centre of music. 

Although he lived in Prague permanently, Dušek never lost contact with world musical events: from Vienna, he brought the knowledge of the musical repertoire of the day; from Wagenseil, a grasp of the pieces by J. J. Fux, J. S. Bach, G. F. Händel, J. A. Hasse and B. Galuppi; and we can find Dušek's name on the lists of subscribers of printed sonatas by J. A. Benda a C. P. E. Bach. He was therefore well informed of what went on in music in his time. 

On 21 October 1776, Dušek married one of his pupils, who was to become a famous singer, "the Czech Gabrielli": Josefina Hambacher, now Dušek. Soon after the wedding, the couple went to Salzburg, where Josefina's relatives lived, and the Dušeks made their acquaintance with the Mozart family. And precisely these friendly contacts played the decisive role later, when Czech musicians invited W. A. Mozart to come to Prague. On 23 April 1784, Josefina Dušek became the owner of the summer residence Bertramka, which was to offer a refuge to Mozart during his stays in Prague (here he completed Don Giovanni, and, as it seems, also La Clemenza di Tito), and to become a renowned salon of Prague artists. 

František Xaver Dušek died on 12th February 1799 and is buried in Lesser Town cemetery. 

Titles for sale:
Concertino per il clavicembalo, due violini, viola e basso in G
Concertino per il clavicembalo, violino, viola e basso in G
Concerto per il clavicembalo, due corni, due violini, viola e basso in D
Concerto per il clavicembalo, due corni, due violini, viola e basso in Es
Concerto per il clavicembalo, due violini, viola e basso in C 

 

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