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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » K » Kraus, Joseph Martin

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Joseph Martin Kraus (6/20/1756 - 12/15/1792)

Joseph Martin Kraus is one of the few composers of the eighteenth century to have been considered by both Joseph Haydn and Christoph Willibald von Gluck to be an original genius. He was a talented composer, a prolific correspondent, and a published author who during his youth produced a volume of poetry, a tragedy (Tolon), and one of the few music aesthetical treatises that can be associated with the literary Sturm und Drang movement.

The son of a regional civil servant, Kraus received his earliest education from the local schools in Buchen, a small town on the fringes of the Odenwald in central Germany.

At the age of twelve he was sent to the Jesuit Gymnsium and Music Seminar in Mannheim, where he received instruction in German literature from Anton Klein, the librettist of the first major German opera, Ignaz Holzbauer’s Günther von Schwarzburg, and in music from members of the famous Mannheim court orchestra. Following university studies in philosophy and law at Mainz and Erfurt, he was forced to remain for a year in his home in Buchen while his father underwent prosecution for misuse of office. During this period he began to concentrate his efforts in the fields of literature and music. In 1776 he returned to school in law at the University of Göttingen, where he came into contact with the remnants of the famous Sturm und Drang literary group, the Hainbund.



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