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Classical - Released July 1, 2014 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
Swedish clarinetist Martin Fröst released a fine recording of Brahms' late clarinet sonatas and clarinet trio, and the intention was apparently to capitalize on that with this version of the Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115. Oddly, the trio from the earlier disc is simply reprised, with the result that the album consists of three performances separated from each other in time (and in two cases space); the six song transcriptions that serve as a very subtle entr'acte were recorded separately from the quintet. Given how well Fröst interacts with his ensembles and accompanist here, one might have wished to hear the music recorded in a single creative act, not to mention avoiding duplication in a recording that's top-of-the-line pricewise. When listeners get to the main attraction, however, all is well. Fröst is not the most expressive of clarinetists, but the Clarinet Quintet fares just fine without the "late" autumnal flavoring it is sometimes given; Brahms wasn't planning on dying. The work is one of the most intricate ever composed by Brahms or anyone else, with the ability to make listeners feel that once they've entered, they may never emerge. It is this complexity of motivic interplay that Fröst, with a very fine set of collaborators that includes the celebrated Janine Jansen on first violin, captures. His approach is quiet, making the clarinet an almost spectral presence at times, but never without a reason to do that. This is the kind of recording that can be put on at 1 a.m., after everyone else has gone to bed, and find deep revelations in. BIS engineers do well at reconciling the varying sonic environments.
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Classical - Released November 3, 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released October 1, 2013 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Swedish clarinetist Martin Fröst is one of the world's top players, with a creamy, utterly consistent tone that is the envy of many a young player. It may be a surprise to see him take up Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622, once again; he recorded it in the early 2000s with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, along with its usual partner on disc, the Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581. But there are several new things this time around. First of all, the orchestra, in this case the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, is conducted by Fröst himself, and the concerto has a really startling lightness and grace (although picking between the two is a matter of personal preference). Second, the rest of the program is different. You get not the Clarinet Quintet (for which the earlier recording would really be hard to beat) but the Trio in E flat major for clarinet, viola, and piano, K. 498 ("Kegelstatt"), an underrated and quite intricate work that looks forward to the rarefied chamber music world of Schubert. To bring the curtain down there's the Allegro for clarinet quintet in B flat major, K. Anh 91, an incomplete work for which a completion was suggested by Robert Levin some years ago. Enough actual Mozart survives to show that the work was planned out on a large scale, and it's intriguing if not compelling. The chief attraction in the last two works is the presence of a variety of northern European all-stars, including violinist Janine Jansen in the Allegro and pianist Leif Ove Andsnes in the Trio. These show that the Fröst magic extends even to chamber music situations that have thrown many a great virtuoso off track. The whole album is as good as you would expect it to be, and that's saying a lot.
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Classical - Released February 3, 2015 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released December 4, 2015 | Sony Classical

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Concertos - Released September 1, 2003 | BIS

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Concertos - Released November 1, 2006 | BIS

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Classical - Released December 6, 2011 | BIS

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | BIS

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Classical - Released July 27, 2010 | BIS

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Classical - Released January 1, 2009 | BIS

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Classical - Released January 31, 2003 | BIS

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Classical - Released May 31, 1994 | BIS

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Concertos - Released February 1, 2007 | BIS

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Classical - Released December 4, 2015 | Sony Classical

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The clarinetist Martin Fröst, after a series of recordings of modern-ish Nordic and Germanic clarinet repertory on the Swedish label BIS, gets a larger mouthpiece here with a release on the major Sony Classical label. Fröst's playing has never been better: he excels in both tough, angular lines and slow cantabile, and both are applied here to a wide variety of material. Three of Schumann's Five Pieces in Folk Style, Op. 102, are made into a little sonata here, and sampling any one of them (tracks 7-9) will show you how compelling Fröst can make only moderately interesting music. Like those pieces, most of the music is arranged from music in media other than clarinet and orchestra. It circles around the theme of folk "roots" in classical music, with some very colorful treatments of traditional music as well as Bartók and a range of other pieces from Telemann to Piazzolla (an especially successful arrangement that sticks close to the original La muerte del Angel) and contemporary music. The range is very wide, and Fröst holds it together impressively. A couple of traditional pieces are given a gauzy choral backing; Fröst may have felt that such a crossover gesture was necessary in a major-label environment, but in this cast it detracts from a tightly constructed musical argument that could have stood better on its own. On balance, however, this will be a fine introduction for many listeners to one of the great instrumentalists of the present day.
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Classical - Released June 30, 1997 | BIS

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Classical - Released November 3, 2017 | Sony Classical

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