Jan Baptysta Kleczyński
String Trio No.1 in C Major, Op.4 No.1
Jan Baptysta Kleczyński's String Trio No.1 in C Major is the first of a set three published simultaneously in 1797 by Offenbach in Germany and Leopold Kozeluch's Musikalische Magazin in Vienna. Written in the Viennese classical style of the period, what sets these trios apart from other contemporary works, with the exception of Mozart's, is the part-writing. The lower voices are very generously treated. The style is a blend of the older concertante fused to the new integrated approach pioneered by Mozart and Haydn. The first movement, Allegro moderato, begins by exuding a gentle elegance, more characteristic of a classical minuet than an allegro. However, as the music proceeds the pace quickens and becomes more lively. The second movement, Andante moderato, is modeled on the approach that singers of the time took, often breaking the rhythm and adding ad lib embellishments. The finale, Rondo, allegro, has three sections. Once things get going, the viola introduces a characteristic Polish dance rhythm, giving the music a faintly Polish flavor.
Jan Baptysta Kleczyński (1756-1828) was born in the Austro-Bohemian town of Freistadt (now known as Karviná and in the Czech Republic) He was trained as a violinist and composer but with whom and where is not known, although some scholars believe it was in the Austrian part of what had been Poland, possibly in Lvov (Lviv) or Krakow. He worked as a court musician at various Hungarian courts before coming to Vienna in 1795 where he remained for the rest of his life. He served as a violinist in the Imperial Court Orchestra and the prestigious Imperial Theater Orchestra, eventually becoming its director. As one of Vienna's more prominent musicians and conductors, he would have known and been known to Haydn, Beethoven, Krommer, the Wranitzky brothers, and all of the other leading musicians then in Vienna. As the Opus 4 trios clearly show, Kleczyński was a talented composer well versed in the style of the Vienna classics.
Our new edition, complete with rehearsal numbers, is based on the 1797 Offenbach edition. This trio is deserving of performance not only because it is an historically important example of the music of Vienna from this time, but also because it is a first class work in its own right which can be recommended to amateurs and professionals alike.