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Monday, September 3, 2018

Leopold Anton Kozeluch, Three Scottish Piano Trios, Trio 1790

One thing seems certain on this Monday morning that marks the Labor Day holiday here is the States--is that the Kozeluch (1747-1818) revival appears to be no fluke, but rather a steady progression if measured in terms of the number of emerging recordings devoted to his music. I have reviewed a number of them (type "Kozeluch" in the blog index box on the upper left-hand side of this page to call them up), and now there is yet another. We consider today the new and welcome recording of Leopold Anton Kozeluch's Three Scottish Piano Trios (CPO 555 935-2).

Trio 1790 handles the performance duties and they are a first-rate outfit, very much so. The added acoustic charm of original instruments enhances the experience nicely while also giving us a kind of catbird's seat onto the sound of the music as originally intended by the composer. And that is key too since Kozeluch was one of the major champions of the pianoforte in his day and how he innovated in his writing for the instrument of course relates closely to the special qualities of the piano as it actually sounded then, not necessarily how it sounds today.   

I gather from the photo in the liner booklet this is a second volume of Piano Trios. The ones we are treated to here are mature, Late-Classical Early-Romantic fare, showing the influence of Mozart, Haydn and early-middle period Beethoven without sounding derivative, in short the sort of thing we have come to depend upon when hearing the Kozeluch symphonies and piano works as I discussed in earlier reviews on here.

There is a definite character to this music. It is in no way inferior to the best chamber music of the era. It affirms once again that Kozeluch is worthy of our attention and quite rewarding to hear. With the excellently lively readings and original instrumentation, the program is rather outstanding. Highly recommended.

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