Simone Kermes

Joseph Martin Kraus: La Primavera [Hybrid SACD]

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Joseph Martin Kraus: La Primavera [Hybrid SACD] Review

by James Leonard

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