Kozeluch: Symphony in D; Symphony in G minor; Symphony in F

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COMPOSERS: Kozeluch
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Symphony in D; Symphony in G minor; Symphony in F
PERFORMER: London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9703
Dr Charles Burney’s lively and discursive General History of Music describes Leopold Kozeluch (1747-1818) as ‘an admirable young composer of Vienna… whose works are in general excellent’, adding that his ‘imitations of Haydn are less frequent than in any master of that school’. Bohemian by birth, Kozeluch settled in Vienna in 1778, joining a legion of neglected Classical symphonists already overshadowed by Haydn and Mozart. And two centuries later, you’d have searched largely in vain for recordings of Kozeluch, Krommer, Vanhal, Pleyel, Clementi and others before Matthias Bamert and the London Mozart Players took up their cause, in one of the most revelatory discographic projects currently under way.

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Three of the 11 symphonies currently ascribed to Kozeluch make up this superlative issue. Bamert’s pristine, watchful direction secures brilliantly assured response from the LMP throughout these scintillating accounts. Scored for strings with pairs of oboes and horns, these are characteristic ‘genre’ symphonies of the mid-1770s, unashamedly modelled on Haydn’s, despite Dr Burney’s assertion. Sturm und Drang passions infuse Kozeluch’s arresting G minor Symphony (lacking the customary Minuet), framed here by Symphonies in D and F, both vigorous, alluring offerings that leave you eager to hear more of this composer. Top-flight performances and demonstration sonics – another major landmark in Bamert’s ongoing series. Michael Jameson