CD Kritiken

Zurück 02.02.2007   American Record Guide


5 Quartets
Salagon Quartet — Carus 83194 — 70 minutes
Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-92) was an almost exact contemporary of Mozart. He studied law at Göttingen but also developed an interest in music and writing. He made music his choice after meeting a Swede in Göttingen who described to him the force that music was at the Swedish Court. He moved to Sweden and became that country's foremost composer. He was the court composer and served King Gustav III. It is ironic that the two works he wrote to memorialize the King after his assassination were also his last works: he died of tuberculosis a few months later. We are finally developing a greater appreciation for Kraus's musical genius. All ten surviving quartets were written by 1784, when the last six were published as a group as his Opus 1. Only one of these is in four movements, and at least one of his earlier quartets has only two movements. (That is one of the two listed here as first recordings.) The notes compare this set of quartets with Haydn's Opus 33, generally considered to be the first set of mature quartets. The writing is indeed magical. In Op. 1:3 the finale uses the opening bars played in reverse to close the movement. In this same quartet the same movement has a short section reminiscent of Schubert's style of writing.
In short, with half of Kraus's string quartets, this gives a good cross section of his works in this form, and they are well worth knowing.
The Performances are finely polished and very well recorded. The Salagon Quartet, which was established by four experienced Chamber musicians two years ago, uses the appropriate period Instruments brilliantly. Excellent notes are supplied.