Leopold Kozeluch Masonic music well-crafted

Leopold Kozeluch’s career somewhat paralleled Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s – as did his music. Both were pianists. Like Mozart, Kozeluch wrote many symphonies (30) and piano concertos (22). He succeeded Mozart as the Hofmusik Compositor of the Viennese court.

And Kozeluch, like Mozart, was a Freemason and wrote music for the Order. Kozeluch’s contribution was a melodrama, Joseph der Menschheit Segen (Joseph, Mankind’s Blessing). Melodrama simply meant a blend of music and spoken word.

As in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” the work is laden with Masonic symbolism. It’s in everything from the keys, to the meter, to the shape of the melodies.

And yet it works as music even for those not steeped in the Craft. Take away the melodrama (spoken text), and you have a very good secular cantata, with interesting choral set pieces and some lovely soprano arias.

Also included is a Missa in C major. It’s a relatively simple yet beautifully written mass. The transparency of the score reminded me of Mozart.

Two solo arias for soprano round out the release. Simona Eisinger sang with a clear, pure soprano. Her voice had a natural warmth to it that remained even in the upper register. I enjoyed her performances very much.

I can’t say the same for the Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri. I auditioned this release through headphones, and the choir seemed a little too spread out in the mix — but that could be a recording issue. In any event, the choir’s individual voices didn’t seem to blend very well.

And there were also some serious intonation issues. I also heard some imprecise entrances, which further detracted from my enjoyment of the music.

Because of that, I have to give a qualified recommendation. On the plus side are the music itself and Eisinger’s singing. On the minus side, everyone else’s singing.

Leopold Kozeluch: Joseph der Menschheit Segen (Masonic Cantata)
Simona Eisinger, soprano; Siegfried Gohritz, speaker
Filip Dvorak, harpsichord; Czech Boys Choir Boni Pueri
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice; Marek Štilec, conductor
Naxos 8.673929

More Recent Posts

  • Classical Interviews – Caroline Schetlick

    Caroline Schetlick, a recent UVA graduate focused on orchestral and choral conducting, spoke with WTJU about getting interested in conducting, putting together her DMP, and Holst’s ‘The Planets’. These interviews air as part of WTJU’s Classical Sunrise, weekday mornings from 7-9am. Getting into Conducting Distinguished Majors Program The Uniqueness of Conducting UVA Professors Impact on […]

  • Classical Interviews – Arthur Zanin

    Charlottesville Symphony’s Principal Trumpet, Arthur Zanin, spoke with WTJU about discovering their orchestral passion, the versatility of the trumpet, and the significance of music in education. For more on Arthur Zanin, visit:arthurzanin.com For more on the Charlottesville Symphony, visit: cvillesymphony.org How I found the Orchestra The Different Sounds of the Trumpet Practicing for Trumpet The […]

  • Eric Coates Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 continues to entertain

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

    This release picks up where the first volume left off. It’s another collection of wonderful music by Eric Coates. Coates’ output was fairly consistent. it’s instantly appealing, modest in scope, and always effective in entertaining the listener. This release includes popular favorites such as “London Bridge,” and “Calling All Workers.” The cornerstones of the program […]

  • New Jazz Adds – 1/12/2021

    New Jazz Adds – 1/12/2021 Craig Brenner – Passages (Self-produced): “Craig Brenner explores the jazzy side of blues and boogie woogie piano. Called “a fine and funky pianist” by Living Blues, Craig has received multiple Indiana Arts Commission grants and he has been voted “Best Musician” in Bloomington, IN, in the Bloomington Independent; Craig & The Crawdads has […]