Rust’s early compositions show the influence of Bach’s sons, whilst his stay in Italy enabled him to acquire a lighter touch to his Germanic style. He produced a number of sonatas for violin, viola and harp, together with some trios and quartets and two volumes of lieder. Vincent D’Indy later championed Rust’s piano sonatas, twelve of which he published (available on CD from Dante, performed by Vladimir Pleshakov). These sonatas fall into 3 periods (early, Italian influence & mature), with the last 5 showing rich facets that anticipate the early romantics. Rust’s sonatas are worthy of wider recognition in the history of piano composition.
Early exposure to music (Rust’s brother performed with J.S. Bach 1774/5) and studying law at Halle (with musical studies under Friedemann Bach) meant that by 1762 Rust had foresaken law studies to become a full time musician under the patronage of Prince Leopold III. Composition studies with Franz Benda followed, together with an instructive 2 years with Leopold in Italy. By 1775, Rust was Director of Music to the Court at Dessau, where he produced sacred and dramatic music (some of which was for the Dessau Opera House), in addition to his chamber works. His death in 1796 fell in the year of publication of Beethoven’s first three piano sonatas.
- Germany, Dessau, Chaponstraße Historischer Friedhof — 28 Feb 1796