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Claudio Astronio|Kraus: Overtures

Kraus: Overtures

Claudio Astronio and Theresia Orchestra

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Joseph Martin Kraus was an almost exact contemporary of Mozart, and his orchestral works sometimes show up in Classical-period collections. He went to law school in Germany and not only disliked the place but wrote a satire about it. He then moved to Sweden and, after several tough years, landed a position as court kapellmeister. A big part of his duties there would have been opera composition. Veteran conductor Claudio Astronio and his youth ensemble Theresia (or THERESIA -- however it is styled, the group is very strong considering the musicians' ages) here offer a way into this largely unknown repertory with a collection of Kraus opera overtures. They are peppy, enjoyable works that resemble not so much Mozart as Gluck, which is in no way a bad thing. Without having heard the operas to which they were attached, it is hard to know for sure, but they seem to carry evocations of dramatic action to come. Sample the slow introduction to the overture of Äfventyraren, which sounds for all the world like a character entering and moving across the stage in an ominous way. There are also introductions to two sections of a funeral cantata for King Gustav III of Sweden (whom Kraus outlived by just six months, dying of tuberculosis); these are like slow introductions that never resolve into an Allegro, and they are unique pieces that again make one want to hear the whole thing. CPO errs with murky sound from the Sala Filarmonica in Rovereto, Italy, but this is an album that will find a place on many Classical shelves and hard drives; despite the little-known performers and repertory, it landed on classical best-seller charts in early 2024.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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Kraus: Overtures

Claudio Astronio

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1
Aeneas i Cartago, VB 23: Overture (1)
00:07:09

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

2
Fiskarena, VB 40: Overture
00:03:29

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

3
Olympie, VB 33: Overture
00:07:37

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

4
Soliman II, VB 22: Overture
00:05:28

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

5
Aeneas i Cartago, VB 23: Introduction
00:05:00

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

6
Aeneas i Cartago, VB 23: Overture (2)
00:07:37

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

7
Äfventyraren, eller Resan till Månans Ö, VB 32: Overture
00:07:12

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

8
Begravningskantata for Gustavus III, VB 42, Pt. 1: Introduction
00:04:33

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

9
Zum Geburtstage des Königs Gustav III, VB 41: Overture
00:05:44

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

10
Proserpin, VB 19: Overture
00:07:09

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

11
Begravningskantata for Gustavus III, VB 42, Pt. 2: Introduction
00:06:39

Joseph Martin Kraus, Composer - Claudio Astronio, Conductor, MainArtist - Theresia Orchestra, Orchestra, MainArtist

2023 CPO 2023 CPO

Album review

Joseph Martin Kraus was an almost exact contemporary of Mozart, and his orchestral works sometimes show up in Classical-period collections. He went to law school in Germany and not only disliked the place but wrote a satire about it. He then moved to Sweden and, after several tough years, landed a position as court kapellmeister. A big part of his duties there would have been opera composition. Veteran conductor Claudio Astronio and his youth ensemble Theresia (or THERESIA -- however it is styled, the group is very strong considering the musicians' ages) here offer a way into this largely unknown repertory with a collection of Kraus opera overtures. They are peppy, enjoyable works that resemble not so much Mozart as Gluck, which is in no way a bad thing. Without having heard the operas to which they were attached, it is hard to know for sure, but they seem to carry evocations of dramatic action to come. Sample the slow introduction to the overture of Äfventyraren, which sounds for all the world like a character entering and moving across the stage in an ominous way. There are also introductions to two sections of a funeral cantata for King Gustav III of Sweden (whom Kraus outlived by just six months, dying of tuberculosis); these are like slow introductions that never resolve into an Allegro, and they are unique pieces that again make one want to hear the whole thing. CPO errs with murky sound from the Sala Filarmonica in Rovereto, Italy, but this is an album that will find a place on many Classical shelves and hard drives; despite the little-known performers and repertory, it landed on classical best-seller charts in early 2024.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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