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The London Pianist: Theresa Jansen and The English Works of Haydn, Dussek, and Clementi

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Over the last decade, our understanding of the performance circumstances surrounding The London Pianoforte School (c. 1766-1860) has increased remarkably.  This understanding not only has recognized the distinction of the English piano and repertoire from their counterparts in Vienna, but also has encouraged interest in the careers of pianists working in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century London.  One of the significant figures represented in this group of professional musicians is virtuoso pianist, Theresa Jansen (c. 1770-1843).

Jansen’s career as a pianist had a significant impact on English piano repertoire, as she was the dedicatee of concert sonatas by Jan Ladislav Dussek, Muzio Clementi, and Joseph Haydn.  Arguably, the works dedicated to Jansen by Haydn represent the only English Classical piano works living in today’s canon of solo piano concert repertoire: the Grand Sonatas in C major, Hob. XVI: 50 and E-flat major, Hob. XVI: 52.  Although Jansen’s most documented role in musical history has been her important connection to Haydn, Jansen was herself a composer and published one of the only known grand sonatas written by a woman, the Grand Sonata for the Piano Forte in A major.  This essay will introduce Jansen’s compositions to modern scholarship and historical performance.  It will also deepen our understanding of Jansen’s professional career by recognizing her important contribution to piano repertoire as a performer-dedicatee, and by encouraging her inclusion as a contributing member of the London Pianoforte School.