Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

 

Joseph Martin KRAUS (1756-1792)
Amphitryon - Schauspielmusik · Incidental Music (1787)
Chantal Santon (soprano)
Georg Poplutz (tenor)
Bonner Kammerchor
l’arte del mondo/Werner Ehrhardt
rec. live, Tage alter Musik in Herne, Kulturzentrum, 8-9 November 2007 
PHOENIX EDITION PHCD111 [77:49]
Experience Classicsonline

The play Amphitryon is based on the myth surrounding the conception and birth of the Greek hero Heracles. In the play, Zeus descends from the heavens to consort with Queen Alcmene of Thebes, to this end adopting the guise of her husband Amphitryon, who at the time is returning, victorious from battle against the Thaphians. Molière adapted the classical comedic version of this tale, complete with mistaken identities and the common subject of matrimonial faithfulness, and further elaborating the piece with secondary characters and making it more relevant for satire against the court of Louis XIV. King Gustav III was responsible for prolonging the revival of such works in Sweden in the 18th century, and as court composer, Joseph Martin Kraus was duly set to work creating a comédie-ballet. The first performance was at the Swedish court in 1787, over 100 years after the play itself was written.
 
Kraus’s music consists of four interludes and a divertimento for ballet. The opening of the first interlude is one of those insinuating, strangely electric and mystery laden passages, the mood of which put me in mind of the opening of Franz Berwald’s much later Sinfonie sérieuse. The mood is that of the ‘Calme de la nuit’, after which things start to warm up quite quickly. A student of Kraus, Per Frigel, wrote at the time: “(his work) is where everything playful, naïve, fiery and pleasing is to be found that can be composed. One marvelled to see that Kraus’ genius was not limited to the tragic and chromatic but was also a master of the joyful and the brilliant.”
 
There are indeed a great number of ‘brilliant’ set pieces, admirably performed by the soloists and orchestra on this fine recording. With the exception of one chorus, Chantal Santon carries the first interlude entirely alone, with as a highlight the aria Alcmène, jouis du Bonheur. Only the lowest extremes of range of this provide one or two understandable problems: I for one had the feeling Kraus might have been having some fun at his soprano’s expense in this aria. Georg Poplutz finally has a look-in with Géneral des Thebains halfway through the third interlude. His is a suitably eloquent tenor voice, matching well with the feel of the ensemble and eschewing any kind of over-dramatised approach. The chorus is dainty and superbly transparent throughout, with fine phrasing and dynamics, heard to good effect but all too briefly in Que ce jour est heureux pour nous, but making its mark at plenty of moments elsewhere. 
 
Fans of Kraus will delight in having such a feast of new material, but my feeling is that the constraints of writing for a court theatre piece led him to tread carefully, going for quality and integrity over anything from which too much originality might baffle a court audience. There are some nice harmonic ‘hooks’ which make one sit up and take notice, such as the rising sequence in the Entrée du Héraut, but it is in the final set of eight Divertissement ballet numbers that some of the more original effects are reserved. These come in the form of some unusual orchestration and some opportunities for Kraus to show off some breathtaking compositional virtuosity in terms of melodic wit and surprising turns of phrase and cadence. The second of these rivals Beethoven in its portrayal of a storm, the third swings like a true dance number for any age, and some of the slower numbers such as the Andante grazioso have some of those lovely harmonic progressions which gives us more of the Kraus who keeps bringing us back for more.     
 
L’arte del mondo was formed by Werner Ehrhardt in 2004, and has rapidly made its mark on the historically informed performing scene, presenting work from the Baroque through to early Romanticism. They certainly make a grand showing on this release, and I have little criticism to make of any aspect of this recording. As a live release there is nothing to be feared in terms of intrusive audience noise, but if I am to be really picky then I would have to say that this recording is in some ways almost ‘too nice’. I would have expected perhaps a little more raunchiness in the playing, perhaps some greater sense of danger or rough-edgedness. Perhaps this is a side-effect of the live recording, or is maybe something rather more alien to the Swiss idiom of Kraus than I might have anticipated, considering the French influences which crop up in some of the dance forms. In any case, the playing and singing on this disc is of the utmost refinement, and the production deserving of every accolade. Conductor and players draw out all of the elegant quality inherent in this music, and have provided us with what Bertil van Boer describes in the excellent booklet notes, “a grand Gustavian entertainment.”
 
Dominy Clements
 

 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.