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The 18th Century Symphony - Kraus: Symphonies Vol 3


Release Date: 10/17/2000 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8554777   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Joseph Martin Kraus
Conductor:  Petter Sundkvist
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Any composer dubbed by Haydn as "one of the greatest geniuses I have met" deserves serious attention. One such was German-born Joseph Martin Kraus. Born the same year as Mozart (1756), Kraus survived him by a year, dying of tuberculosis at age 36. Remarkably, despite having lived in Sweden for less than eight years, he was befriended by King Gustavus III and became the country's greatest 18th century composer. That reputation is gaining wider endorsement today through a pioneering Kraus series on Naxos, of which this is the latest installment. The performers, as before, are the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Petter Sundkvist, who continue to give exemplary readings of these remarkable if obscure late Classical symphonies.
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Though the C-sharp minor and E minor works that open and close this program fully reflect the tastes and semantics of their era, the Symphony in C minor, subtitled "Symphonie funèbre", is an astonishing discovery. Written in April, 1792, following the assassination of Gustav III (the event inspired operas by Verdi and Auber and its political repercussions were felt throughout Europe), this is one of the most extraordinary musical valedictions to pre-date Beethoven's Eroica. All four movements are somber and slow-moving, and the use of timpani, solemn brass, and muted strings seem uncomfortably alien to a work of the period. This is an exceptionally fine account; Sundkvist's orchestra plays magnificently under his watchful direction, and the solo cello and horn in the chorale section of the finale sound suitably eloquent.


This disc also includes Kraus’ Overture in D minor (according to Haydn's friend Fredrik Silverstolpe, Swedish ambassador to Vienna, it was performed by mixed wind band at Good Friday services in Stockholm for many years) in its original instrumentation, the outcome of detailed reconstruction of Kraus' original manuscripts. Another surprise is the C # minor 'Sinfonia da camera'; the second section of its minuet is simply the first part played backwards (a trick Haydn himself tried on occasion)! As with previous releases, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Sundkvist, offer spirited and polished orchestral playing and a bright-well-balanced recording. Highly recommended.
--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Symphony in C sharp minor, VB 140 by Joseph Martin Kraus
Conductor:  Petter Sundkvist
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Sweden 
Date of Recording: 08/1999 
Venue:  Concert House, Orebro, Sweden 
Length: 19 Minutes 41 Secs. 
2. Symphony funèbre in C minor, VB 148 "Trauer-Sinfonie" by Joseph Martin Kraus
Conductor:  Petter Sundkvist
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1792; Sweden 
Date of Recording: 08/1999 
Venue:  Concert House, Orebro, Sweden 
Length: 17 Minutes 53 Secs. 
3. Overture in D minor, VB 147 by Joseph Martin Kraus
Conductor:  Petter Sundkvist
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Sweden 
Date of Recording: 08/1999 
Venue:  Concert House, Orebro, Sweden 
Length: 10 Minutes 3 Secs. 
4. Symphony in E minor, VB 141 by Joseph Martin Kraus
Conductor:  Petter Sundkvist
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: Sweden 
Date of Recording: 08/1999 
Venue:  Concert House, Orebro, Sweden 
Length: 15 Minutes 14 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Sinfonia in C sharp minor, VB 140: I. Andante di molto
Sinfonia in C sharp minor, VB 140: II. Andantino
Sinfonia in C sharp minor, VB 140: III. Minuetto I
Sinfonia in C sharp minor, VB 140: IV. Allegro
Symphony in C minor, VB 148, "Symphonie funebre": I. Andante mesto
Symphony in C minor, VB 148, "Symphonie funebre": II. Larghetto
Symphony in C minor, VB 148, "Symphonie funebre": III. Chorale
Symphony in C minor, VB 148, "Symphonie funebre": IV. Adagio
Overture in D minor, VB 147
Symphony in E minor, VB 141: I. Allegro spiritoso
Symphony in E minor, VB 141: II. Adagio non tanto ma con espressione
Symphony in E minor, VB 141: III. Presto

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