This selection is a Hybrid Super Audio CD. The Stereo Hybrid SACD program can be played on any standard compact disc player. The DSD Surround and Stereo programs require an SACD player for playback.
In the liner notes to this disc, Swedish clarinetist Martin Fröst is described as a "daring performer" who has "stretched the limits of musical expression", likely owing to his frequent collaborations with several contemporary composers including Anders Hillborg and Krzysztof Penderecki. "Daring" does not leap to mind when describing Mozart, and happily Fröst himself does not flaunt his presumed reputation when tackling these popular works. WhileRead more some may find Fröst's readings on the "cool" side, it is largely because they are just so perfectly executed and pristine that you are left hopelessly grasping for something that might be missing. After all, what ultimately determines Mozartian performance standards but the expectation of technical perfection? In no small part aided by the redoubtable Amsterdam Sinfonietta and Vertavo String Quartet, Fröst steals the show with his sultry tone, sensitive phrasing, and utterly beguiling pianissimos, momentarily making us forget that several other great performances of the Concerto have graced the catalog for decades.
Fröst's tasteful choice of the basset clarinet in the Concerto (for which the work was originally conceived) provides an added bonus, thanks to the instrument's rich, dark-hued sonority. Fröst is truly at his best in the slow movements of these works where his uncanny dynamic control is on ample display, particularly in the short cadenza of the Concerto and in the scale passages in the Quintet that connect the main themes of the Larghetto (kudos to the fine Vertavos for providing just the right amount of intimacy to the ensemble balance). The outer movements are equally satisfying, played with appropriate jauntiness, flair, and expert technique by all concerned.
Of course, the sonics bear some attention as these works receive their debut here in the new multi-channel SACD medium. In this 5.0 DSD recording the engineers were quite careful not to overexpose the surround channels, which are unobtrusive beyond adding minimal ambience to the overall soundstage. Balances are uniformly excellent, with the soloist never sounding boomy or overbearing. Otherwise, this recording boasts the natural sound for which BIS is famous, and its inherent qualities are heard to similarly pleasing effect in stereo (CD and SACD alike). This is a first-rate and welcome entrant in a decidedly crowded field, as close to perfection as we have any right to expect.
--Michael Liebowitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Clarinet in A major, K 622by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Performer:
Martin Fröst (Clarinet),
Martin Fröst (Basset Clarinet)
Period: Classical Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria Length: 27 Minutes 35 Secs. Notes: Martin Fröst performs his own cadenzas on this selection.
Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A major, K 581by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Performer:
Martin Fröst (Clarinet),
Martin Fröst (Basset Clarinet)
Vertavo String Quartet
Period: Classical Written: 1789; Vienna, Austria Length: 32 Minutes 55 Secs.
Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622: I. Allegro
Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622: II. Adagio
Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622: III. Rondo: Allegro
Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581: I. Allegro
Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581: II. Larghetto
Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581: III. Menuetto - Trio I - Trio II
Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581: IV. Allegretto con Variazioni
Average Customer Review: ( 9 Customer Reviews )
Disappointing MozartJanuary 21, 2014By Allan Kohrman (Newton, MA)See All My Reviews"This is a recording by a virtuoso soloist, one who wants to show off everything he can do on the clarinet. But these works are not virtuoso show off pieces, they are some of the most sublime works Mozart wrote. They require the soloist to be part of the ensemble. The Marcellus/Szell recording remains unrivaled; it's a desert island recording, in which Szell very nearly achieves the perfection he was striving for. For the quintet, I recommend Harold Wright's first recording with Marlboro string players."Report Abuse
Wonderful Clarinetist-Wonderful Mozart!January 21, 2014By Wendy B. (New York, NY)See All My Reviews"I heard Martin Frost recently when he played with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra a CArnegie Hall He was remarkable, so when I saw this recording Ihad to have it for my son. Of course, I listened to it first and was thoroughly enchanted with Frost, once again. I will not give a long analysis, as I only listened to it once before gifting it to my son, but I would gladly listen to this remarkable young man play anything on the clarinet."Report Abuse
Wonderful music, beautifully played and MP3 tooJanuary 19, 2014By Philip T. (Charlestown, NH)See All My Reviews"I bought this title partly because it is offered as an MP3... I no longer will purchase CD's because they are a pain to store and access. Mozart's love of the sonorous clarinet shines through these two pieces and they are beautifully articulated in this recording."Report Abuse
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