KRAUS: Ballet Music
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Joseph Martin Kraus was one of the most gifted and unusual composers of the eighteenth century, whose talent for thematic development, colourful orchestration and theatrical flair caused Haydn to proclaim him one of only two 'geniuses' he knew (Mozart being the other one). Kraus's main interest was in music for the stage, a subject that occupied him from both a practical and theoretical standpoint for virtually his entire life. This disc couples Kraus's two earliest surviving ballets ('Pantomimes') and impromptu insertions for Gluck's opera 'Armide' for a production at the Stockholm Opera in 1787, with his most important work in this genre, 'Fiskarena'. This fast-paced ballet is notable for its dramatic and forward-looking stylistic devices as well as frequent allusions to foreign dances, from England to Hungary.