Martin Fröst: Nordic Concertos

Author: 
Guy Rickards
BIS2123. Martin Fröst: Nordic ConcertosMartin Fröst: Nordic Concertos

Martin Fröst: Nordic Concertos

  • Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra (Peacock Tales)
  • Chamber Concerto No. 3 for Clarinet and Chamber Or
  • On a Distant Shore
  • Introduction, Theme and Variations on a Swedish Ai

Fröst is the star of the show here. Not that the four accompanying orchestras and conductors are anything but exemplary accompanists; in each work, soloist, orchestra and conductor prove models of co-operation in bringing the visions of four very disparate composers to life.

I had the pleasure of reviewing the recording of Peacock Tales (1998 – designed as a multimedia composition but working beautifully as absolute music) on its first appearance on an all-Hillborg disc from Ondine. I was immediately struck by its kaleidoscopic range of moods and expression, and time has not dulled its sense of exuberant excitement. Holmboe’s Concerto No 3 is a masterpiece of neo-classicism and one of the Dane’s finest utterances. Fröst shows a more restrained side to his character in his superlative account, with a beguiling fluidity of line outclassing his fine Dacapo rival, Niels Thomsen.

A different kind of restraint is needed in Karin Rehnqvist’s atmospheric suite On a Distant Shore (2002), again previously issued on a fascinating all-Rehnqvist album. Here, filigree delicacy is essential, yet with a spine of steel. As on BIS’s ‘Hekas!’ disc (1/98), these modern works have Crusell’s delightful Introduction and Variations on a Swedish Air (Op 12, not Op 124 as the disc cover lists it) as makeweight. Fröst shows how adept he is at the older style of writing in a performance as fluent and virtuoso as King’s or Thompson’s. Crusellians, though, may prefer Rosengren, with the ever-cultured Okko Kamu for Musica Sveciae on – for once – an all-Crusell disc.

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