A familiar face on the Australian concert scene, Martin Fröstis one of the world’s few wind players with an international career, who performs with all the major orchestras, as well as in chamber music and solo recitals.
On this disc is music Mozart specifically wrote for one of the great clarinetists of the time, Anton Stadler, whose playing was said to perfectly imitate the human voice. Fröst easily emulates this characteristic.
Directing The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Fröst shows not only exquisite skill in executing the ethereal solo lines of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A (K 622), but also in his leadership of this fine ensemble. His lyricism and phrasing is just extraordinary, with a tonal quality that is heavenly. On this recording, Fröst plays a modern reconstruction of a basset clarinet.
In the first performance of the “Kegelstatt” Piano Trio No 2in E flat (K 498), Stadler played clarinet, Mozart played viola and one of Mozart’s pupils played the piano. His trio perfectly captures the intimacy of the Viennese salon of the day. Whilst not a particularly virtuosic piece, this trio does some have some moments of technical challenge. With Antoine Tamestit (viola) and Leif Ove Andsnes (piano), and Martin Fröst (clarinet), the trio’s communication sees wondrous interplay of lines.
The Allegro for Clarinet and String Quartet in B flat (K 516c) completes the disc. As a stand-alone piece (completed by Robert Levin from a fragment), this work makes for a beautiful addition to the chamber repertory.
(This review first appeared in Fine Music magazine – June 2014.)