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Records International, October 2017

Composed between 1807 and 1809, these sonatas represent Koželuch’s return to the genre after a period of fourteen years. While aware of the influence of the resonant new English piano, the Bohemian composer explored the special effects of the Viennese instrument. The Turkish sounds in the finale of No. 41 illustrate the timbres available whilst the romantic quality of his slow introductions, not least the Largo of No. 40, reveal his command of color and texture. © 2017 Records International

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2017

We jump fourteen years in the life of Leopold Koželuch as we move from volume 9 of the complete keyboard sonatas to the present group written from 1807 to 1809. 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. In that period, the development towards the piano, as we know it today, was taking place in London, and when Koželuch returned to writing sonatas, he had to have in mind a very different instrument. That point is made by Kemp English’s decision to move to a fine fortepiano dating from 1815. In my previous reviews, I have commented on the mass of works Koželuch composed resulting in the oft quoted premiss that he wrote far more than his natural ability could support, that point is again in evidence here with his obvious shortage of memorable material leading to his resort of repetition that is much in evidence in the final Presto of the Thirty-eighth. He moved to a two-movement format for the remaining works on the disc, and the need to move to the style of Beethoven had become evident. It seemed a turning point in the Indian Summer of his life, the thirty-ninth to the forty-first being an ideal starting point for those just coming to Koželuch. The fortepiano used here is a fine instrument, and not too far divorced from a modern piano sound. Very good sound quality. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

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