Classical Album of the Week: Swedish Clarinetist Martin Fröst Reimagines Vivaldi

Nov 3, 2020

November 3, 2020. Knowing how much you love the music of Antonio Vivaldi, an all-Vivaldi Classical Album of the Week would seem a natural! And since the gifted Swedish clarinetist Martin Fröst’s new disc, Vivaldi, from Sony Classical has him playing a handful of Vivaldi “clarinet concertos,” my interest was piqued.

No, Vivaldi didn’t compose any clarinet concertos.

But the lovely execution of these newly composed works makes us wonder what Vivaldi might have written for the clarinet if it had been more fully developed. What we have here instead are three new clarinet concertos, created with the assistance of composer and arranger Andreas Tarkmann, and drawn from some of Vivaldi’s most beautiful opera and oratorio arias.

This is a very challenging adventure that has Fröst performing at an unusual pitch, and working with the period-instrument ensemble Concerto Köln.

Fröst’s sound can turn on a dime from mellow to agitated, from lyrical to passionate, and always with perfect control of tone and dynamics. The whole experiment results in a pleasing amalgam of the old and the new, a kind of “Vivaldi Reimagined.”