Mozart: Clarinet Concerto, Clarinet Quintet - Fröst, Oundjian
Classical - Chamber
Mozart: Concerto in A major for Clarinet and Orchestra K.622, Clarinet Quintet in A major K.581
Martin Fröst (clarinet)
Vertavo String Quartet
Peter Oundjian (conductor)
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Review by John Broggio - March 17, 2007
This is simply fantastic playing, albeit a little closely miked in the final analysis.
The concerto is one of Mozart's most beautiful compositions - and that is saying something! The opening is sprightly, with a great lithe sound and sprung rhythms from the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Fröst plays a basset clarinet which pays dividends when the music wends its way beneath middle C and has the benefit of being the original instrument for which this music was written. Supplying his own cadenzas, Fröst is wonderfully imaginative and creative with his playing. The sublime joy that is the slow movement is given a tender, delicate yet assured performance; one can picture a glorious golden summers' sunset even in the depths of winter - this is music that will fill even the coldest heart with a glow. Unlike many accounts from the pre-HIP revolution, the finale is taken at a sprightly Allegro tempo which is almost dance like in this conception. Not that there are any clumping accents to beware of when sitting and enjoying the display of completely self-effacing virtuosity. An utter joy.
Compared to Mozart: Chamber Music for Winds and Strings - Boston Symphony Chamber Players, the quintet's first movement has much more forward momentum and fantasy; listening to this one cannot imagine it being played any other way and what could be a better compliment than that? The slow movement is, if anything, finer in the way that Fröst plays with the Vertavo String Quartet. The Menuetto is very much rendered as a dance and is wholly convincing in approach. The delicacy of interplay in the finale is a joy to behold - this is playing totally at the service of the music; the marvels are all of Mozart's composition which is a characteristic of very fine playing indeed.
The sound is too closely miked in the quintet for my liking, although the balance is well managed. Fortunately this is far less an issue in the concerto, where everything is as delightfully done as one could wish for in this repertoire.
Recommended with a caveat about the closeness of Fröst in the quintet.
Copyright © 2007 John Broggio and HRAudio.net