Author Topic: Jos. Martin Kraus' Haus, the "Swedish Mozart", ja!  (Read 7345 times)

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snyprrr

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Jos. Martin Kraus' Haus, the "Swedish Mozart", ja!
« on: June 25, 2009, 10:35:09 AM »
Lead Balloon alert!!!

Yet another of Mozart's chum chums, the "Swedish Mozart" lived one year longer than Wolfie. All I know is that he favored the minor keys.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 01:13:30 AM by snyprrr »

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2009, 11:00:36 AM »
Lead Balloon alert!!!

Yet another of Mozart's chum chums, the "Swedish Mozart" lived one year longer than Wolfie. All I know is that he favored the minor keys.

AN extremely commendable composer. Nice string quartets, BTW... ;)

8)
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Offline Mozart

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2009, 04:43:14 PM »
And his symphony in c sharp minor has a fantastic 3rd movement!
"I am the musical tree, eat of my fruit and your spirit shall rejoiceth!"
- Amadeus 6:26

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2009, 06:17:20 PM »
I have some excellent recordings of his music in the label Musica Sveciae, which I guess are now out of print. His music is extremely good, be it written in minor or major keys.

snyprrr

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2009, 11:25:22 AM »
I just got Kraus' SQs on Musica Sveciae for $5!!!

Kraus apparently wrote one set of 6 SQs and 4 more unpublished (though one source says he wrote 16 and the last 6 are missing).

The ones here are No.2 (Bb), No.4 (D), No.5 (C), and No.6 (G), as played by the Lysell Qrt., and they play No.5 on original instr. (so it "sounds" like Bb).

What do they sound like? Well, I've gotta say that Kraus is right up there, sounding more like Mozz than Haydn to me. All SQs are friendly and warm, flitting between major and minor at whim. This is not what I was expecting, but was a pleasant surprise.

There appears to be three different cds "available" of Kraus SQs, all containing at least three of the same SQs amoungst them. I probably wouldn't have been able to sample Kraus were it not for finding this cd in the used bin by accident (oh...it was no accident!!!).

Only the last (No.6 in G) is in four mvmts. At 21min., it is the most substantial on this cd, and is, generally, as fine an SQ as I've heard from the era.

Kraus' style isn't as easy to pick out,as say,Boccherini or Dittersdorfice could peg him for Mozart, I don't know. Kraus is very conversational in his approach. My vanity wants to call at least one a masterpiece.

His set of 6 SQs was published by Hummel in 1784, though an autograph of No.5 from 1782 exists, and speculation sets their writing around 1778.

In all, Kraus' reputation as the "minor key Mozart" wasn't held up by this release. Instead, a more uniformly major/minor liquidity was noted. All in all, very country... and very friendly. It was interesting to hear one SQ played HIP, whilst the others were "modern." The HIP was a bit more tangy, but the players didn't seem to change their style.

Offline Xenophanes

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2009, 01:18:10 PM »
Lead Balloon alert!!!

Yet another of Mozart's chum chums, the "Swedish Mozart" lived one year longer than Wolfie. All I know is that he favored the minor keys.

I like some of his symphonies quite a lot.  I particularly recommend vols. 1 and 2 or the Naxos recordings with Petter Sundkvist and the Swedish CO. 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_m?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=joseph+martin+kraus+symphonies+naxos&x=18&y=17

snyprrr

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2009, 07:35:49 AM »
I find myself growing attached to that SQ disc. Very intimate and personable, and definitely not Haydn or Mozart. Uniquely pleasant.

karlhenning

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2009, 02:35:22 AM »
AN extremely commendable composer. Nice string quartets, BTW... ;)

8)

Wicked!  >:D

snyprrr

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2009, 06:37:06 PM »
...having a Richter, Kraus, Eybler party...

Sean

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2009, 12:39:34 AM »
The Symphonies funebre is has extraordinary sturm und drang passion; the Symphony in D and Fourth string quartet are more amiable.

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2009, 03:55:34 PM »
Well, this composer, i.e. the Swedish Mozart (mainly because of their dates) deserves some more attention here; he had his own thread in the old forum started back in 2005 by Gurn - at the bottom is a quote of his OP which provides some nice biography of this short-lived immigrant to Sweden; like Wolfie, he also died young, but from tuberculosis!

Currently, I own a half dozen CDs of Kraus' music, mainly his symphonic output on the Naxos label; some chamber works, and solo piano compositions (also Naxos) - so if interested in this composer, check out the Naxos offerings!

But today, I received a small package from MDT which included the disc pictured below - yes, a repeat of one of my Naxos discs, but w/ Ronald Brautigam on the fortepiano - excellent recording and love his keyboard instrument!  There is a pic of the instrument in the liner notes, but found another one w/ him sitting in front of his piano.  BTW, the Naxos disc of Kraus' solo keyboard works is pretty much identical and I would need to listen to both, but the fortepiano would be more historical.

Excellent WIKI Bio HERE w/ a pic of Kraus added.  There appear to be several catalogs of this composer's works, but those w/ a VB number are used in the discs that I own, after "Bertil van Boer's Die Werke von Joseph Martin Kraus: Systematisch-thematisches Werkverzeichnis, which gives each composition a VB number".  The VB numbers extend to over 200 (List HERE, so I may need to acquire some more CDs!) - certainly need to explore more of the chamber works, including the 'string quartets'!  :)

   




Quote
JOSEPH MARTIN KRAUS (1756-1792)
by Bertil van Boer

Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792) 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.

After two years of study there, he accepted a proposition to travel to Sweden in order to focus his career on music at the court of Gustav III. He spent two years of relative hardship attempting to break into the Stockholm musical establishment. A commission for an opera, Proserpin, whose text was drafted by the King himself, won him the post as Deputy Musical Director in 1781. The following year he was sent on a grand tour by Gustav in order to observe the latest trends in music theatre in continental Europe. This lasted four years and brought him into contact with major figures such as Haydn, Gluck, Antonio Salieri, Padre Martini, and others. He published his first set of works, six string quartets as his Op. 1, with Hummel and associated himself with the Viennese firm of Johann Traeg, who disseminated his works in copy form throughout the continent. His journey also took him throughout Germany, Italy, France, and England, where he witnessed the Handel Centenary celebrations in 1785.

While in Paris, he experienced difficulty with cabals back in Stockholm that sought to prevent his return, but their resolution in 1786 made it possible for him to become the leading figure in Gustavian musical life. In 1787 he was appointed as director of curriculum at the Royal Academy of Music, and the next year he succeeded Francesco Antonio Uttini as Kapellmästare, eventually attaining a reputation as an innovative conductor, progressive pedagogue, and multi-talented composer. He began publishing regularly with the new publishing firm in Stockholm, Olof Åhlström’s Kongliga Priviligierade Not-Tryckeriet, and was a member of the Palmstedt literary circle, a group that discussed intellectual and cultural life in the Swedish capital.

Although he was a much sought after composer for stage music, his principal opera, Æneas i Cartago, remained unperformed during his lifetime. In January of 1792 he was present at the masked ball wherein his patron, Gustav III, was assassinated, causing considerable turmoil in the cultural establishment that the monarch had nurtured. His own health deteriorated shortly thereafter, and he died only a few months later in December of 1792 from tuberculosis. He was buried in the Stockholm suburb of Tivoli following a ceremony where his coffin was carried across the ice of the Brunsviken by torchlight.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 04:09:31 PM by SonicMan »

snyprrr

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2009, 11:19:05 PM »
Well, this composer, i.e. the Swedish Mozart (mainly because of their dates) deserves some more attention here; he had his own thread in the old forum started back in 2005 by Gurn - at the bottom is a quote of his OP which provides some nice biography of this short-lived immigrant to Sweden; like Wolfie, he also died young, but from tuberculosis!

Currently, I own a half dozen CDs of Kraus' music, mainly his symphonic output on the Naxos label; some chamber works, and solo piano compositions (also Naxos) - so if interested in this composer, check out the Naxos offerings!

But today, I received a small package from MDT which included the disc pictured below - yes, a repeat of one of my Naxos discs, but w/ Ronald Brautigam on the fortepiano - excellent recording and love his keyboard instrument!  There is a pic of the instrument in the liner notes, but found another one w/ him sitting in front of his piano.  BTW, the Naxos disc of Kraus' solo keyboard works is pretty much identical and I would need to listen to both, but the fortepiano would be more historical.

Excellent WIKI Bio HERE w/ a pic of Kraus added.  There appear to be several catalogs of this composer's works, but those w/ a VB number are used in the discs that I own, after "Bertil van Boer's Die Werke von Joseph Martin Kraus: Systematisch-thematisches Werkverzeichnis, which gives each composition a VB number".  The VB numbers extend to over 200 (List HERE, so I may need to acquire some more CDs!) - certainly need to explore more of the chamber works, including the 'string quartets'!  :)

   





Is that a piano covered in fungus?



I have been conteplating one of the two available HIP SQ cds. All three available cds have overlap, but, at this point, that's half the fun.

Online SonicMan46

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2009, 09:41:57 AM »
Is that a piano covered in fungus?

I have been conteplating one of the two available HIP SQ cds. All three available cds have overlap, but, at this point, that's half the fun.

Snyprrr - I have no idea what is growing on that piano in the Brautigam disc, maybe for a salad?  ;) ;D  BIS has a website and a 'contact' option - possibly one of their PR people can provide an explanation?  :)

But, the music, playing, and sound of that disc is superb - worth exploration if one is interested in Kraus' piano music performed superbly on fortepiano!

I'm planning to explore that listing link I gave above - would be interested in some more 'chamber works' - Dave

snyprrr

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2009, 10:16:23 AM »
I was prompted to listen to Lysell SQ disc.

The C Major SQ starts with a really jazzy sounding lick reminiscient(?) of Joplin's "The Entertainer"! Kraus is very fluid and smooth, and there are reminders of Mozart's plasticity.

The G Major SQ has a "Scottish" minuet that has a bit o'bagpipe-ishness. As I was listening, I realized that over the course of this year, listening to so many different groups, that I could actually hear a better group in my headm which really stoked my appetite to try the other two cds of SQs. At the very least, I think both have Kraus' g minor SQ, which, in my "g minor phase" right now I will have to try.

Some of Kraus' slow mvmts. have a very nice melancoly, not overt, not understated.

The Lysell are a modern group (though, they play the C Major on O.I.s), and, as I was listening, I was imagining a HIP group playing. I am starting to be very amazed at how different groups can change the character of ClassicalEra music. I'm looking forward to hearing more Kraus.

Online SonicMan46

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2009, 10:52:07 AM »
Is that a piano covered in fungus?

I have been conteplating one of the two available HIP SQ cds. All three available cds have overlap, but, at this point, that's half the fun.

Well, for those interested in snyprrr's question about the piano in the yard w/ overgrowth; I decided to send BIS an e-mail out of curiosity - received a prompt response quoted below - quite impressed w/ that service!  :D


Quote
Many thanks for your email! ....................

The Kraus disc carries a photo taken by myself. The story is that the overgrown piano (which was made of stone I think) was the only remaining decoration from a flower exhibition that had taken place a few days earlier. The building in the background is the Orangerie of the Ulriksdal Palace, just outside Stockholm City. The Orangerie contains the royal collection of Swedish sculpture, especially noteworthy are the works by Johan Tobias Sergel, a Kraus contemporary. The Palace also has an 18th-century theatre which is still in use for chamber operas and concerts. It is much smaller though than the famous one at Drottningholm and not as well preserved or faithfully restored. The main building was the residence of the king Gustav VI who died there in 1973. The so called "living room" is also quite interesting as it was the first royal informal living room in the world. It was decorated by Carl Malmsten during the 1920s and 30s.


snyprrr

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2009, 09:31:49 AM »
Well, for those interested in snyprrr's question about the piano in the yard w/ overgrowth; I decided to send BIS an e-mail out of curiosity - received a prompt response quoted below - quite impressed w/ that service!  :D




Oy,... this is my heretige? Hahaha...

Swedes! ::)

Online SonicMan46

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2010, 05:54:09 PM »
Kraus - Keyboard Chamber Music - is this good or not!  ::)

A while back I purchased the Naxos 2-CD set (in a single-size jewel box) of this composer's Chamber Works, mostly violin/keyboard sonatas + a trio; then, I picked up from BRO cheaply another set of discs of the same compositions, but performed on period instruments w/ Vaughan Schlepp on the fortepiano.

Now, I've listened to these works several times and find them enjoyable; however, a Fanfare REVIEW reprinted HERE was rather derogatory but recommended the set overall - I plan to keep both of these collections, but am curious on others' opinions of these works - they are not great, but the performances are fine, and both are an enjoyable experience!

So, are these worth keeping?  :D  P.S. Kraus seems to be getting 'mixed vibes' as to the quality of his compositions - initially, the opinions were quite positive (maybe because of 'recent' discovery?), but now I'm reading a lot of varied comments on his skills - so, a potential topic of discussion?  Thanks -  :)
;
 

snyprrr

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STOP THE PRESSES!!
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2010, 10:58:06 AM »
I've just received this Carus disc of the HIP Salagon Quartett playing five Kraus SQs. The third cd of Kraus SQs, by the epynomous JMKQ, is hopefully on its way. Thus, with the Swedish Lysell recording, we have 8 out of 10 SQs recorded.

Ahhh...

I'm listening to the Op.1/6 in G Major, with the Scottish middle. Already I can tell that this group brings a greater degree to all matters, as compared to the normally modren playing of the Lysell (they switch to OIs for the C Major). It's just that you hear so much more interest in the string sound, amoungst other things.



As an aside (whilst I listen to the Op.1/3 in g minor), Kraus' SQ history goes like this (if I didn't already do this): six SQs were published by Hummel in 1784, with four more in manuscript, for a total of ten extant. Of course, I shredded my notes just before the cd arrived ::), but, as I remember (between the 3 cds):

Op.1/1
Op.1/2 Bb
Op.1/3 g minor
Op.1/4 D Major
Op.1/5 C Major*
Op.1/6 G Major

manu. in C Major*
manu. in E Major
manu. in c minor
manu. in f minor*

It's 100% unclear whether the C Major is in fact 1/5, or is counted amoungst the four manuscripts, or both (which seems unlikely). In the Lysell recording, it is referred to as No.5, but it is also stated that the quartet comes from an autograph. I recall a two mvmt. f minor quartet on the disc to come, which I believe is one of the manuscripts. I thought we had 8 out of 10, but I see 9, so, let me wait until I get the third cd.

Aaaaaanyhow...

The g minor goes by pretty quick. It wasn't immediately dramatic ,... uh,... let's just say it wasn't the SQ in g minor that I'd been hoping for, but, we shall certainly sniff out it's charms!

As I'm listening to Op.1/2 in Bb Major, I'm struck by Kraus' way with things. He certainly doesn't come off a Haydn-ite. He may remind of Mozart. Apparently, Gluck was Kraus' man, and, honestly, I don't know what that "sounds" like! Kraus really cultivates the "high" sound (noble + fun), that's for sure. You may find your nose scraping the ceiling here, haha! Good stuff!!

The short, two mvmt. (like the f minor), c minor, sounds a whooole lot more baroque than the SQs proper. I think I'm listening to the Richter, or Haydn Opp. 9/17, but Kraus' ideas are beyond 1772. Very interesting.

I'm looking forward to the last cd. You'll hear about, I'm sure, haha! :D Kraus is rapidly becoming the Connesewer's Choyce!! :-*

snyprrr

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2010, 01:10:51 AM »
The third cd of Kraus SQs has arrived, and, now we have two great, HIP, comparison cds of some really rare stuff.

The JosephMartinKrausQuartett (yea ::)) sounded like they just weren't doing it, until I read that they were all members of Concerto Koln, so I said, oh, I better listen better,... haha. And, so, they come off very much like the Esterhazy, though, this group's resonant hall sometimes appears to "do" things. If you believe it's this way on purpose, then, once you listen, you hear lots of interesting things. This group certainly has some juicy intruments!.

The Salagon recording comes off much crisper, though, both groups make strong impressions. Thankfully, honors are pretty evenly divided.

In a way,though, this has all brought me back to the Swedish Lysell recording, which also has an HIPish account of the C Major SQ, which the new cd also has. Unlike the JMKQ recording, awash in what sounds like a gothic tower, the crisp Lysell recording brings out the jaunty HIPness of this most Jopliny music.



Have we gone over the Flute Quintet, the Piano (Keyboard) Trio, or the Violin Sonatas, or the Piano Music? There seem to be about three recordings of each. There's even one with the Jaapster!

Online SonicMan46

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Re: Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92)
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2010, 08:22:08 AM »
The third cd of Kraus SQs has arrived, and, now we have two great, HIP, comparison cds of some really rare stuff.

.......

The Salagon recording comes off much crisper, though, both groups make strong impressions. Thankfully, honors are pretty evenly divided.

In a way,though, this has all brought me back to the Swedish Lysell recording, which also has an HIPish account of the C Major SQ, which the new cd also has. Unlike the JMKQ recording, awash in what sounds like a gothic tower, the crisp Lysell recording brings out the jaunty HIPness of this most Jopliny music.

Have we gone over the Flute Quintet, the Piano (Keyboard) Trio, or the Violin Sonatas, or the Piano Music? There seem to be about three recordings of each. There's even one with the Jaapster!

Snyprrr - thanks for the comments on the SQs of Kraus - to date, I've not bought any of the discs mentioned yet; not sure 'which one(s)' to obtain - MusicWeb published a mediocre review of the Salagon Quartet - but will continue to research the web for yet other reviews and comments!

Concerning the bolded above, the Piano Music can be heard on the 2 discs I pictured above, i.e. Despres on a modern piano (Naxos) & Brautigam on his fortepiano (BIS) - despite the cost difference I prefer the latter recording. 

The Chamber Music w/ Keyboard is offered on several 2-CD packages (also pictured above) - one on Naxos w/ Despres et al - Piano & Harpsichord are listed as his instruments; the other is a 'period instrument' group w/ Vaughan Schlepp on a fortepiano (Fineline Classical) - I need to give these discs another comparative spin - both include the Trio, while the other works are Violin Sonatas w/ Keyboard.

At the moment, I am listening to the Flute Quintet on the disc pictured below; filled out w/ 2 Flute Quartets by Crusell (of course, better known for his clarinet compositions) - Mikael Helasvuo is just wonderful on an apparent 'period' flute - the recording quality is excellent - if you want this Kraus work on an 'all flute' CD, then worth a consideration!  :D