Kraus: Symphony in E flat; Symphony in C; Symphony in C minor; Olympie Overture

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COMPOSERS: Kraus
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Symphony in E flat; Symphony in C; Symphony in C minor; Olympie Overture
PERFORMER: Swedish CO/Petter Sundkvist
CATALOGUE NO: 8.553734
Many regard Joseph Martin Kraus as one of Mozart’s finest contemporaries, and Haydn said of the C minor symphony here that it ‘will be regarded as a masterpiece for centuries to come; believe me, there are few people who can compose something like that’. Haydn conducted the first performance at Eszterháza in 1783.

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On this new CD we are given excellent performances and a lucid recording of three superb symphonies (of which that in C minor is hauntingly beautiful) and a fiercely dramatic overture. Petter Sundkvist has obviously rehearsed the Swedish CO thoroughly – it plays with genuine fire and finesse. There is a rival recording of four symphonies (two identical with those on this CD) by Concerto Köln on Capriccio which is starkly dramatic and well-recorded. But the new Naxos CD is extremely good and your choice will probably depend on your preference for period or modern instruments. HC Robbins Landon