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David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2019

Naxos are still a little confused as to the correct description of the works they are recording, but the Bohemian-born Leopold Kozeluch described them as Sinfonias.

This is the third volume of the numbered scores catalogued by the musicologist, Milan Postolka, who found only sixteen scores of the thirty sinfonias Kozeluch was supposed to have written. Born in 1747, he was thirty-one when he moved from Prague, where he had been educated, to work in Vienna. There he quickly gained a reputation as a major composer with a large catalogue of works in different genre, backed-up by the founding of a highly successful music publishing house. It is uncertain when he wrote the sinfonias—strangely he only published one—but they appear to post-date his arrival in Vienna. Their style and content mirrored the young Haydn, all four works on this release shaped in the growing fashion for a four-movement format, a sprightly Minuet coming third before a fast and lively finale. In reviewing previous volumes I have commented on a shortage of memorable thematic ideas, though these four works are always genial, and with lively outer movements, often using horns to add a degree of grandeur to the scoring that is particularly true of the short Second Sinfonia. By contrast the Ninth and Eleventh are among his most extended and presented a desire to develop material, the jog-trot third movement of the Ninth particularly engaging, while the Eleventh used dramatic intents to point towards Beethoven’s era. For some curious reason the Tenth was subtitled ‘A la Francaise’, the score showing no French influence whatsoever. The Pardubice orchestra and the conductor, Marek Stilec, have captured the feeling of the period, the playing neat and well balanced. Once again I stress this is a very different Kozeluch to the composer of those uneventful keyboard works that carry his name, and here I commend him to you. © 2019 David’s Review Corner



Dean Frey
Music for Several Instruments, November 2019

I keep expecting the Leopold Kozeluch Symphonies series from Marek Stilec on Naxos to run out of steam, but with each new release I’m surprised by how clever, dynamic and absolutely charming the works of this Bohemian composer are. Born between Haydn and Mozart, Kozeluch’s works share many of both composers’ strengths: strong forward propulsion, clear structures and rich harmonies, but also surprising detours, touches of wit and whimsy, and a strong sense of musical story-telling. … Kozeluch’s music, while in the orbit of the two great Austrian composers, has its own character, which once again is so pleasingly brought forward by Stilec and the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice. © 2019 Music for Several Instruments Read complete review





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