Takako Nishizaki / Uwe Grodd / New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

Josef Martin Kraus: Violin Concerto; Olympie; Azire

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AllMusic Review by

Thanks to Naxos, the music of Joseph Martin Kraus continues to receive its moment in the sun. Though the early digital age saw several excellent recordings issued by various Swedish labels, Naxos has contributed more to the Kraus discography than all other labels put together. This superb 2007 disc contains three world-premiere recordings by the great German-Swedish near contemporary of Mozart: his Violin Concerto in C major, excerpts from his incidental music for the tragedy Olympie, and five brief dance movements from his early and now lost opera Azire. There is much to enjoy in Azire's graceful ballets and Olympie's Sturm und Drang-tinged Overture, but the real find is the large-scale Violin Concerto. With superlatively wrought virtuoso solo writing, first-rate orchestration, and a strong grasp of his lyrical talents, Kraus shows himself to be as skillful and as individualistic in composing concertos as he was in composing symphonies, string quartets and operas. Violinist Takako Nishizaki proves equal to the work's expansive tunes and up to its virtuoso requirements. Uwe Grodd leads the New Zealand Symphony in a poised and alert accompaniment for Nishizaki in the concerto and delightful readings of the Olympie and Azire music. Recorded in Town Hall, Wellington, New Zealand, in 2006, Naxos' sound is cool, clear, and detailed.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Concerto for violin & orchestra in C, VB 151
1
15:27 Amazon
2
8:06 Amazon
3
6:37 Amazon
Olympia, Incidental music, VB 33
4
7:04 Amazon
5
0:49 Amazon
6
1:21 Amazon
7
2:15 Amazon
8
4:21 Amazon
9
3:01 Amazon
10
2:07 Amazon
Azire, ballet music, VB 18
11
1:28 Amazon
12
1:28 Amazon
13
1:38 Amazon
14
1:34 Amazon
15
1:12 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick