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Kozeluch vs. Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven
     The Viennese musical factions

The rivalry between Kozeluch («a great composer for the piano-forte, as well as a fine performer on that instrument», Michael Kelly) and Mozart is well documented.
      Nonetheless their relationship was probably rather a relationship between friends/enemies. 
      In the original sources they sometimes appear as friends (in 1781 Kozeluch refused the position of Mozart in Salzburg, a salary of 1000 florins, and defended Mozart against the Archbishop of Salzburg, see Mozart's letter of 4 July 1781; probably he was also the author of a 31 December 1791 Latin epitaph for the death of Mozart) or as ruthless adversaries (Kozeluch, always ready to rapidly lose his temper and to start slandering and insulting Mozart and Haydn and their works with a senseless violence, see Niemetschek, Rochlitz, Griesinger, Nissen, Jahn and also Bohemia and AmZ; in 1812, letter to Thomson 29 February, he gained also his nickname miserabilis from Beethoven, see also Thayer). 
      Thanks to a further analysis of the Viennese factions involved here, we find again the evidence of a ferocious opposition between the two groups Gassmann/Gluck/Salieri and Haydn/Mozart/Dittersdorf (see The Bugler May 2016 & The Bugler September 2016).
       Kozeluch, in fact, was the pupil of F.X.Duschek (pupil of Wagenseil, a friend and supporter of Mozart, and a friend of Mozart: in April 1786 Duschek told Leopold Mozart to tell his son Wolfgang that at Court there were cabals against his Le Nozze di Figaro) and of his cousin J.A.Kozeluch (instead, a pupil of Gluck and Gassmann) and then became the pupil of Albrechtsberger (who will become the teacher of Beethoven) and finally the teacher and mentor of pianist and composer Maria Theresia Paradis, Empress's goddaughter and a pupil also of Salieri (the beloved pupil of Gassmann and Gluck) and of Vogler (somehow admired by Leopold Mozart, but hated by Wolfgang Mozart).
        On the other hand, we have the MichaelKellyian group (Haydn, Mozart, Dittersdorf, Vanhal and Paisiello) and Hasse and Marianne von Martinez (the pianist and composer rival of Maria Theresia Paradis) and then Beethoven. 

     The accusations of theft between Kozeluch and Haydn?

The relationship between Kozeluch and J.Haydn was also rather difficult and harsh. Unfortunately, from the surviving sources, it's difficult to exactly understand the reasons of such enmity or rivalry.
      It seems that J.Haydn was not on friendly terms with Kozeluch and that there were possible accusations about Kozeluch as a plagiarist, stealing from Haydn's works, especially the orchestral ones. And Kozeluch was said to have repeatedly critically destroyed the works by Haydn and this also in public during concerts.
        However, it is also true that a few original sources depict, instead, Kozeluch and Haydn on speaking terms (as they do also for Dittersdorf and Kozeluch) and working on the same publishing project started by Pleyel, in order to complete the volumes of Symhonies and Accompaniments (see Pohl, chapter Scottische Lieder) and that, according to the Salomon London Concerts programmes of 1791 reconstructed by H.J.Irmen, works by Kozeluch were performed by Salomon and Haydn himself during the same concerts.
      If we consider the stories on Haydn and Gassmann, as treated by Carpani in his own book Le Haydine (stories on Gassmann destroying the Viennese career of young Haydn by fake accusations of plagiarism and theft against Haydn, see The Bugler September 2016), probably we may find here a possible explanation for a probable enmity between Kozeluch and J.Haydn: the old counterposing between the Gluckian group (Gassmann, Salieri, J.A.Kozeluch and L.Kozeluch, that's to say the favourite men of the Austrian Imperial Court) and the Haydnian group (Mozart, Dittersdorf, Vanhal, Beethoven, etc., under a certain point of view, the freelancers).

       A pre-romantic & pre-Beethovenian pianism

Leaving the considerations apart on the Viennese musical factions, which still require a correct evaluation, let us consider, instead, the real qualities of Kozeluch's pianism (Sonata Op. 38 No. 3).
      Without doubts, we are before a spontaneous, interesting and beautiful style with a wise use of a harmonic dramatic treatment, full of pre-romantic and pre-Beethovenian nuances.
      Even more, a few passages conjure up later works by Beethoven and this is rather meaningful, if we consider that there has been some difficulty in the attribution of some early works by Beethoven, then re-assigned to Kozeluch as composer (i.e. Gavotta, Allegro, Marcia Lugubre for piano 4-Hands published in 1926 as pieces by Beethoven, but, in reality, works by Kozeluch)!
      Evidently their common teacher in composition, Albrechtsberger (already famous in 1790 for his manuals on harmony and composition), also somehow left an enduring mark on the style of Kozeluch and Beethoven and Beethoven knew Kozeluch's piano music better than he wanted to admit and so, at least, Kozeluch's music was not entirely miserabilis!
      In 1869 Hanslick wrote: «Except for Mozart, no one exerted greater influence on the development of piano playing in Vienna more than Kozeluch». And in this Kozeluch was helped by his own Music Publishing House, established in 1785, and through which his works received also a wide dissemination. 
Leopold Antonin Kozeluh, Piano Sonata Op. 38 No. 3 (1793):

Piano Sonata Op. 38 No. 3 (


Christine Faron, Fortepiano
S. & L.M. Jennarelli