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James Leonard
Allmusic.com, November 2008

…the disc will reveal a composer deeply indebted to the high classical style of Haydn and Mozart. While the Opus 59 Sonatas are in two movements each and the Opus 20 Sonatinas are in three movements each, they are uniformly light and delightfully lyrical works intended to instruct a player and entertain an audience. Jando, the same virtuoso who has already recorded the complete piano sonatas of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven for Naxos, turns in lively and stylish performances filled with bounce and buoyancy…Naxos’ digital sound is clean and direct…



Bob Briggs
MusicWeb International, October 2008

These six works were obviously written either for teaching purposes or for the drawing room—certainly Kuhlau was aiming for the amateur market—and their forms are easy to follow whilst the writing is miles away from the highly virtuosic piano music being written at that time. They are all laid out gracefully for the keyboard, and would easily fit into any recital where they would give an audience a moment of respite between meatier pieces. There’s plenty  of good humour in the fast movements—I especially enjoyed the cod Hungarian episode in the rondo finale of the Sonatina, op.20/1—but Kuhlau doesn’t forget that we also need some seriousness and so the opening movement of the following work is more restrained, but he still keeps smiling. 

There’s nothing profound here, indeed the later set of pieces have only two movements, no slow movement, so it’s obvious that Kuhlau was aiming for entertainment and not depth. 

Jandó is totally at home in this music, never trying to inflate the little pieces into something grander, he understands the gentle, understated quality of the work. These are very enjoyable works, and, despite the slight character of the works, you will want to return to them for they are very charming and entertaining. After years of only ever hearing Elverhøj —delightful  as that piece is—it’s good to finally get to hear something else by this composer, who, although not in the front rank of his time, had something to say and the means with which to say it. 

The recording is up to Naxos’s usual high standards and the notes are very good.

It’s always interesting to take a trip off the well beaten path, and a stroll in the company of Mr Kuhlau is an hour well spent.



Bauman
American Record Guide, September 2008

The three sonatas that [Kuhlau] published as Op. 59 in 1824 are fine works though they sound a lot more like Mozart than Beethoven in many places. All three are in two movements, unlike his three sonatinas, Gp. 20, which are in three movements. These works were used in his teaching and were published in 1820. All make for enjoyable listening.

Jeno Jando plays each work with a great deal of feeling and polish, as is expected from him. The recordings are all first class and the notes are fine.



Harrington
American Record Guide, September 2008

The three sonatas that [Kuhlau] published as Op. 59 in 1824 are fine works though they sound a lot more like Mozart than Beethoven in many places. All three are in two movements, unlike his three sonatinas, Gp. 20, which are in three movements. These works were used in his teaching and were published in 1820. All make for enjoyable listening.

Jeno Jando plays each work with a great deal of feeling and polish, as is expected from him. The recordings are all first class and the notes are fine.



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2008

I rather tend to blow hot and cold in my opinion of the music of Friedrich Kuhlau.

One moment I find myself hailing him as a major composer of the early 19th century and soon after finding his music nothing better than an average kapelmeister of the time. This new disc of piano sonatas and sonatinas rather confirms my latter feelings. He was born in Germany in 1786, but fled to Copenhagen when Napoleon invaded Hamburg. Any hope that he would find ready employment in Denmark as a pianist and composer was soon dashed, and out on necessity became a hack-writer working for a German publishing house turning out countless works of a popular nature. His breakthrough came with an opera Elverhoj (The Elf Mound) written at the time of the Royal Wedding in 1828, when he was accepted as a major Danish composer. Ill fortune still dogged him, and soon after that success both of his parents died and his home burned down. The two added together broke his already frail health and he died aged 46. By that time he had composed a considerable amount of music, including much for his own performing instrument, the piano. The contents of the present disc were originally described as sonatinas and come from the later part of his life, the opus 59 subsequently upgraded to the term ‘sonata’. Haydn rather than Mozart would have been Kuhlau’s inspiration, these pieces probably used for teaching his young pupils, for none pose problems to a skilled pianist. They are here played by one of the world’s most frequently recorded pianists, the Hungarian, Jeno Jando, who treats them with charm, the final Rondos played with a sense of fun. Good studio sound quality.






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1:06:24 PM, 1 October 2014
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