Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra No. 1 in B-Flat Major "Sant' Angelo": I. Allegro
III. Molto Allegro
Sinfonia for Strings and Basso Continuo in C Major / Allegro
Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra No. 2 in D Minor "La Fenice": / I. Allegro molto
III. Allegro vivace
Sinfonia for Strings and Basso Continuo in C Major / I. Allegro
Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra No. 3 in F Major / I. Adagio
Air for Chalumeau "La Tortora"
Martin Frost :
Martin Fröst has pushed the boundaries of the clarinet repertoire on every front and reinvented the role of the instrumental soloist. A Gramophone Award-nominated artist, the Swede uses every recording as an opportunity to look at repertoire and performance through fresh eyes.
His latest release for Sony Classical is no different, as Fröst goes back to basics while also enacting his boldest transformation of all. With Concerto Köln, the clarinet virtuoso presents an all-Vivaldi album including premiere recordings of ‘new' clarinet concertos drawn from Vivaldi's catalogue of opera and oratorio arias.
Vivaldi only just lived to see the emergence of the clarinet, using it in five pieces. The Italian composer was well aware of the brilliant, virtuosic capabilities of the instrument with its roots in the trumpet-like ‘clarino', and of the mellow soulfulness of that instrument's predecessor, the ‘chalumeau'.
On this album, Fröst imagines what Vivaldi might have done had he lived long enough to know the clarinet better. Fröst uses a specially built boxwood instrument to get as close as possible to the sound of the best 18th-century clarinets Vivaldi knew without forgoing the technical capabilities of its modern descendants.
Like Bach and Handel, Vivaldi was proud to re-use his own music in new contexts. In the spirit of up-cycling that abounded in the Baroque era, the composer and arranger Andreas N Tarkmann has fashioned with Martin Fröst three new concertos from Vivaldi's existing works. In the process, some of the composer's finest arias get a new lease of life, courtesy of the wind instrument that sits closest to the human voice.
The results are three concertos of individual mood and gait, drawing upon music from Juditha triumphans, Ottone in villa, L'Olympiade, La fida ninfa and Giustino. In addition, the aria ‘Veni, Veni, me sequere fida' from Juditha triumphans – which includes an authentic part obligatto chalumeau – is heard in a straight transcription with the vocal line played on a cello. Fröst also reveals Vivaldi's response to the sound of the solo chalumeau with Vivaldi's air for the instrument ‘La Tortora'.
Completing the tracklist are two favourite Sinfonias for strings and Overtures from Il Giustino and L'Olimpiade – among Vivaldi's finest examples of opera overtures in the Italian style and music that the baroque specialist of Concerto Köln have made their own (the latter includes Vivaldi's own ‘borrowings' from his Violin Concerto RV177).
Fröst's new release on Sony Classical promises a unique symbiosis of the old and new, and a major extension of the clarinet concerto repertoire in an unexpected direction.