Following the successful release of the first volume (BC94770) in 2015, Jenny Soonjin Kim continues her cycle of sonatas by Leopold Kozeluch, Czech contemporary of C.P.E. Bach and then Mozart. The sonatas (he wrote 49 in total) share qualities with the work of his teacher Dussek, and Burney’s contemporary assessment of Kozeluch’s music stands true today: easier on the ear than CPE, ‘Haydn or Mozart; it is natural, graceful and flowing, without imitating any great model, as almost all his contemporaries have done. His modulation is natural and pleasing… His rhythm is well phrased, his accents well placed, and harmony pure.’
Volume 2 contains the complete Opp. 8, 10 and 13 sets, ending with Op.15 No.1. All these sets were published by 1785. Seven years earlier Kozeluch had moved to Vienna, and made such a name for himself as a performer, teacher and composer that he could afford to decline an offer made in 1781 to succeed Mozart as court organist to the Archbishop of Salzburg. He composed music in all the major genres of the day but his sonatas rejoice in a particular enthusiasm for expanding the potential of the keyboard instrument as it evolved radically during his lifetime, from harpsichord through fortepiano towards pianoforte, gaining ever more volume, projection and sustaining lyrical qualities in the process.
The sonatas are written in a variegated and expressive galant style, and they breathe an air of uncommon ease and fluidity. Kozeluch’s themes, while skilfully constructed and developed, have a deceptively simple quality that makes them all the more memorable, if not haunting, and invite the kind of ornamentation elegantly employed by Jenny Soonjin Kim. Jenny Soonjin Kim is a California-based pianist and pedagogue who presently teaches at Claremont Graduate University, having studied in Seoul and Salzburg. For this recording she plays a fortepiano built by Michael Walker (Neckargemünd, 1987) after a model by Anton Walter (Vienna, 1795).
The second instalment of the Complete Keyboard Sonatas contains the sonatas Op. 8, 10, 13 and 15.
Leopold Kozeluch (1747-1818) was born in Bohemia but spent his professional life in Vienna, where he became a famous musician and composer, for a time even eclipsing Mozart’s fame!
The sonatas in this second volume have 3 or 4 movements, of the same scope as Haydn’s sonatas. They are written in the Galante Style, with easy flowing melodies, featuring a highly developed keyboard virtuosity in the abundance of scales, arpeggios, runs in thirds and sixths, repeated notes and tremolos.
Jenny Soonjin Kim plays a fortepiano (Kozeluch preferred fortepianos to harpsichords). The first volume of the complete Kozeluch Sonatas (BC 94770) was praised by the press for its spontaneity, keen sense of the style and effortless and brilliant technique.