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KRAUS: Ballet Music

Composer(s):Kraus, Joseph Martin
Artist(s) Sundkvist, Petter, Conductor • Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period(s) Classical (1750-1830)
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.557498
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Album Price
USD 6.99


Joseph Martin Kraus was one of the most gifted and unusual composers of the eighteenth century, whose talent for thematic development, colourful orchestration and theatrical flair caused Haydn to proclaim him one of only two ‘geniuses’ he knew (Mozart being the other one). Kraus’s main interest was in music for the stage, a subject that occupied him from both a practical and theoretical standpoint for virtually his entire life. This disc couples Kraus’s two earliest surviving ballets (Pantomimes) and impromptu insertions for Gluck’s opera Armide for a production at the Stockholm Opera in 1787, with his most important work in this genre, Fiskarena. This fast-paced ballet is notable for its dramatic and forward-looking stylistic



Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Kraus wrote his ballet Fiskarena (The Fishermen) for the Royal Stockholm Opera. It includes a familiar hornpipe and its melodic flow is disarmingly attractive, 18th-century light music at its most appealing. The two Pantomimes are like miniature symphonies. All this music is elegantly played by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under its highly sympathetic conductor, Petter Sundkvist, and the recoding is up to the best Naxos Standard.

Review By Giv Cornfield,The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics,October 2007

Born the same year as Mozart, both Kraus and Mozart were admired by Haydn, and indeed to the casual listener, Kraus' music sounds like so much Haydn and/or Mozart, but in a lighter vein, since Kraus was primarily devoted to stage music, and none of it of the stature attained by the two others. At an early age, Kraus moved to Sweden, where he became Kapellmesiter of the Royal Academy. The major ballet on the disc is "Fiskarena" (The Fishermen). Also included are two Pantomimes and incidental music to Gluck's 'Armide' that Fischer wrote for a performance he directed. The readings on the disc are competent, and audio quality is excellent.

Review By David Denton, Naxos,September 2007

During his brief life Joseph Martin Kraus became the most influential musician in 18th century Sweden, dying at the early age of 36. He had been born and educated in Germany but accepting that it was already oversubscribed with composers, he set out at the age of 22 to live in Stockholm, a decision that seemed ill-advised, and for two years he lived in dire poverty. It was the commission to write an opera that proved the turning point, King Gustav then taking an interest in the young man, sending him on a grand tour of Europe at the King’s expense to observe the greatest music and musicians. He came into contact with Haydn who described him as “one of the greatest geniuses I have met”, and on his return to Stockholm the King showered him with



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