Archive for the ‘Hidden Gem of the Week’ Category

Another hidden gem. This time, I rather explore with you an unknown work from a famous composer: The Paris Quartets by Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767).

Actually, the name was falsely attributed since they were not edited in Paris or intended for this market at first (The edition name was Quadri a Violino, Flauto traversiere, Viola di gamba o Violoncello, e Fondamento […], not very french). However, they quickly reached Paris and became very popular there. In 1737, Telemann went in the french capital for a 8 months trip and published there a new series of quartets, usually refered to the Paris Quartets no 7 to 12.

For this entry, I will offer you a few samples of a nice CD including the (false) Paris Quartets (nos 1 to 6) played by the Freiburger BarockConsort, on Harmonia Mundi label. Really lovely little jewels.

Concerto Primo in G major: Grave-allegro

Concerto Primo in G major: Allegro

Sonata Prima in A major: Soave

For more information

Harmonia Mundi


Sources for this post

Andreas Friesenhagen, notes from the Quatuors Parisiens CD



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I am back with the hidden gem of the week. This time, I want you to meet Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792).

Kraus, born in Miltenberg, in Franconia, studied both music and the law (parental wish). He left for Stockholm in 1778 to apply for a job  at the court of King Gustav III. After unsuccessful attempts, he became vice-Kapellmeister of the Royal Swedish Opera and director of the Royal Academy of Music in 1781. Then, for about 6 years, he traveled Europe, at the king’s expense, to learn about the theatre. It is during this long journey he met, in Vienna, Christoph Willibald Gluck and Joseph Haydn. He also attended the George Frideric Handel Festival in 1785 in London. In 1787, he came back to Stockholm and became Kapellmeister of the Royal Swedish Opera. His protector, the king, was assassinated in 1792. The same year, Kraus died of tuberculosis.

Kraus was a man of theatre, drama and effects. So I thought to give samples from his operatic production.  Aeneas in Carthage was originally composed in 1781 for the inauguration of  the new opera house in Stockholm (it is a retelling of the Dido and Aeneas story but Kraus took some liberties). However the production paused. During 10 years, he worked on this immense opera (a prologue and 5 acts). It was only first performed in 1799, after Kraus’ death.

As for the samples, they have the mp3 format so you can listen directly to them on box.net (no need to download). I present you the overture and 2 other pieces (Tempest and a march)

Aeneas in Carthage: Overture

Aeneas in Carthage: March of the Numidians

Aeneas in Carthage: Tempest

Aeneas in Carthage, Opera Overtures, Ballet Music and Marches

Patrick Gallois/Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä/ Naxos

For more information



Online Reviews

Classics Today

MusicWeb International

Sources for this post


Mozart – Kraus


From Soliman II, performed in 1788 in Stockholm, the overture. An interesting use of turkish instruments.

From Proserpin, composed in 1780, the overture and the first chorus.

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Friday. It means it is the time for the hidden gem of the week.

For the first entry of that thematic series, I had in mind to put on spotlight Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704). Born in Bohemia, he worked

at the court of the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg (the same employer of Leopold and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Michael Haydn) from 1670 to his death. He became Kapellmeister in 1684 and was knighted by the Emperor Leopold I in 1690 (his name changed then for Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber von Bibern). He is known for his contributions to the violin technique and the art of scordatura (mis-tuning of strings).

A great example of scordatura is the Mystery Sonatas set, created around 1676 (but not all were composed at the same time).  The mysteries, or mediations on the life of the Christ and the Virgin Mary are divided into three cycles of five (joyful, sorrowful, glorious). I selected the sonata no 11: The Resurrection, which is part of the “glorious” cycle, is the greatest example of scordatura in the  sonatas series.


WalterReiter, violin/Ensemble Cordaria/Brilliant Classics

(The CD was first released on SIGNUM CD).

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I selected too a sample from Biber’s requiem in F Minor, composed around 1692 in Salzburg. Youtube offers a good performance of the Sequence part of the Requiem. The latin text with its english translation is available on Wikipedia:

Paul McCreesh/Gabrieli Consort and Players/Archiv

Sources for this post




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