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Joseph Martin Kraus

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Joseph Martin Kraus was a composer in the classical era who is sometimes referred to as “the Swedish Mozart.” Kraus was born on June 20, 1756 in Miltenberg am Main, Germany. He moved to Sweden at age 22 and died at the age of 36 on December 15, 1792 in Stockholm.

Bertil van Boer divides Kraus’s sacred music into two periods. The first, from 1768 to 1777, comprises Kraus’s music written as a Roman Catholic for Catholic services. For the second, from 1778 to 1790, Kraus was still Catholic, but wrote music for Lutheran services. Aside from short hymns and chorales, there was not much use for sacred music in Sweden at that time. There was also a debate going on regarding the role music should play in the church, and Kraus participated in that debate by writing three articles on the subject in the Stockholm Post.

Two different catalogues exist of Kraus’s music, one by Karl Schreiber, Verzeichnis der Musikalischen Werke von Jos. Kraus, which gives each composition an A number, and Bertil van Boer’s Die Werke von Joseph Martin Kraus: Systematisch-thematisches Werkverzeichnis, which gives each composition a VB number. See the list of compositions by Joseph Martin Kraus.

Bertil van Boer also edited modern editions, on Artaria, of all Kraus’s symphonies recorded on Volume 4 of Naxos’s complete set of Kraus symphonies, and also wrote the programme notes for those discs as well as the article on Kraus in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

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