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David Blomenberg
MusicWeb International, November 2008

Known to this reviewer primarily for his compositions for flute —various discs have been released recently of his flute sonatas and trios on Naxos and other labels—Kuhlau also produced a number of other pieces, primarily for chamber ensembles.

The works on offer on the present disc are short and charming, with most movements lasting no longer than three minutes. Jandó does right, I think, in keeping the performances simple and straightforward. The object of these pieces is not to impress or give a listener a good deal of food for thought. These are meant primarily to entertain. They are likely to be familiar to piano students worldwide. There isn’t much here that would surprise the listener, but there are a few moments of particular interest, such as the unexpected similarity of the opening movement of the Sonatina in A minor, Op. 88 No. 3 to Beethoven’s 1810 Für Elise. Another standout is the opening Allegro maestoso of the Op. 55 No. 6 Sonatina in C which, with its length of just over seven minutes, allows for a bit more mulling over of its thematic material.

The recording aesthetic for this disc is just what one would expect from Naxos: warm ambience without losing presence or definition. Jandó gives these pieces a clean and clear performance. Quite a pleasant disc for casual listening.

Mike D. Brownell, July 2008

<p>Jen&ouml; Jand&oacute;&hellip;playing is characteristically solid, clean, and meticulously well articulated. Musically, Jand&oacute; neither takes things too seriously nor tosses off lighthearted compositions like the Kuhlau Sonatinas as trivial. Rather, Jand&oacute; achieves a quite pleasing balance between intensity and joviality. The result is an album that could be used as background music, but is also appropriate for serious, concentrated listening. Naxos&rsquo; recorded sound here is splendidly clear, warm, and present.</p>

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2008

Last month I gave a rather guarded welcome to a disc of Friedrich Kuhlau’s Sonatas and Sonatinas describing them as the work of a modestly gifted kapellmeister. I recalled that Kuhlau had been born in Germany in 1786, fleeing to Copenhagen when Napoleon invaded Hamburg. He had found life difficult in Denmark, and in an effort to support his parents he became a hack-writer turning out countless works of a popular nature. Even when success eventually arrived with an opera Elverhoj (The Elf Mound), ill fortune still dogged him, and soon after that success both of his parents died and his home burned down. Added together the two events broke his already frail health and he died aged 46. Even in that short life he had composed a considerable amount of music, including much for his own performing instrument, the piano. The contents of the present disc were probably composed for teaching purposes, many quite basic in melodic content and of no great demand on the skill of the pianist, repetition being a key ingredient. The two sets of Sonatinas, opus 55 and 88 were composed in 1823 and 1827, the music at times having a degree of charm as in the Allegretto grazioso of the third of opus 55 (track 7), and I like the pseudo-sombre beginning of the central movement of the fourth. The Hungarian pianist, Jeno Jando, can do little more than treat them as pieces of period charm, but his skills cannot elevate them above student studies.

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