The world may not have been clamoring for a complete recording of the 11 extant symphonies of Leopold Koželuch, but this one, part of a Naxos series devoted to Koželuch, and of a larger series called "Czech masters in Vienna," is useful in establishing the music that Haydn and Mozart (whom Koželuch succeeded at the Viennese court) would have heard, and heard often. Koželuch was greatly admired in the 1780s when these four symphonies were written, and his work doesn't have a quality of coming from a peripheral place: it's quite cosmopolitan. Koželuch has several national flavors of symphony to choose from: the Sinfonia in A major, PosK 1:10, is subtitled "À la française" and draws on the same sources as Mozart's French-flavored works. The Sinfonia in B flat major, PosK 1:11 ("L'irrésolu"), does not quite live up to the boldness billed in the Naxos graphics but is a fine essay in the type of symphony informed by Italian opera. All are in the common four-movement form, with no slow introductions, and all of the outer sonata forms are competently handled, with some forward-looking harmonic moves in all four works. There's enough here to inspire further performances, which are needed: these by the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice are idiomatic enough, featuring a harpsichord subtly hanging in the background, but they lack energy.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Sinfonia in A major, 'À la Française', Posk I: 10|
|Sinfonia in C major, PosK I: 9|
|Sinfonia in B flat major, 'L'Irrésolu', PosK I: 11|
|Sinfonia in C major, PosK I: 2|