Simone Kermes

Joseph Martin Kraus: La Primavera [Hybrid SACD]

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That the four main works on this disc have never been recorded before is no reflection on the quality of the music or the composer. Joseph Martin Kraus, the German-born composer-contemporary of Mozart's working in Sweden, was all but forgotten after his death in 1792 and recordings of his works have been few and far between. And his four Italian cantatas on this disc were nearly completely forgotten after the death of the soprano they were written for in 1790. Hearing them for the first time is like hearing almost anything by Kraus for the first time: one's response is to wonder "how could music this gracefully polished, elegantly expressive, and brilliantly composed ever be forgotten?"

On this 2008 Phoenix Edition super audio disc, Kraus' music comes vividly to life in splendid performances by soprano Simone Kermes with L'Arte del mondo led by Werner Ehrhardt. With its fabulous flights of coloratura, Kraus' vocal writing is daunting. But with her virtuosic technique, enormous range, and astounding breath control, Kermes is fully up to Kraus' extraordinary demands. Whether accompanying Kermes in the cantatas or performing alone in the four excerpts from Kraus' Overture and incidental music from Voltaire's Olympia, Ehrhardt and L'Arte del mondo deliver crisp, tight, and spirited performances. Anyone who enjoys Mozart's Exsultate, jubilate, Haydn's Scene di Berenice, or Beethoven's Ah! Perfido! will surely enjoy the music on this disc.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Olympia, Incidental music, VB 33
1 06:59 Amazon
La Gelosia (Jealousy), cantata for voice & orchestra, VB 46
2 01:36 Amazon
3 03:59 Amazon
4 01:15 Amazon
5 00:55 Amazon
6 00:13 Amazon
7 09:24 Amazon
Olympia, Incidental music, VB 33
8 02:26 Amazon
La Primavera (Spring), cantata for voice & orchestra, VB 47
9 02:24 Amazon
10 02:38 Amazon
11 03:06 Amazon
12 11:28 Amazon
Olympia, Incidental music, VB 33
13 01:51 Amazon
La Scusa (The Apology), cantata for voice & orchestra, VB 43
14 01:36 Amazon
15 03:31 Amazon
16 03:30 Amazon
17 04:52 Amazon
Olympia, Incidental music, VB 33
18 02:48 Amazon
La Pesca (Fishing), cantata for voice & orchestra, VB 44
19 05:18 Amazon
20 02:28 Amazon
21 04:08 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick