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David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2017

We have reached the ninth volume in this epic journey through the complete keyboard sonatas of the highly prolific Czech-born composer, Leopold Koželuch. His career came at the crossroads in the development of the keyboard, when the use of the harpsichord was giving way to the newly created fortepiano in his adopted home in Vienna. It was there he founded the music publishing house, Musikalisches Magazin, which brought him both financial rewards and allowed him to distribute his own compositions throughout Europe. That was of questionable value, as it tempted him to write far more prolifically than his natural ability could sustain, memorable thematic material rather in short supply. He also sold himself to the gifted amateur in the lucrative market for sheet music, offering works of a suitable simplicity garnished with imposing titles. His output included fifty keyboard sonatas, the present release covering the early years of the 1790’s, and includes the three opus 38. Maybe Kemp English was observing the agitato marking in the opening movement of the Thirty-third, the result becoming a breathless dash. English’s programme notes likening the opening of the Thirty-fifth to a Scottish dance, while the finale of the Thirty-fourth bubbles with good humour. You would hardly believe the two-movements of the Thirty-sixth came from the same hand, the score a forerunner of Beethoven’s sonatas to come. As a whole, the disc is pleasing but hardly great music. The first four sonatas are played on a Paul Downe fortepiano in the style of a Anton Walter of 1795, with the short Thirty-seventh on a 1785 harpsichord by Longman and Broderip. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

Records International, May 2017

Plenty of contrasts here with foretastes of the composer’s Scottish song settings in Nos. 33 and 35, Sturm und Drang in No. 36 and elegant galanterie in No, 37. © 2017 Records International

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