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Brahms: Clarinet Quintet; Clarinet Trio; 6 Songs / Martin Frost, clarinet; Janine Jansen, Boris Brovtsyn, Maxim Rysanov, Roland Pontinen

Album Summary

>Brahms, Johannes : Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B minor, Op.115
>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (4) for voice & piano, Op. 46
>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (5) for voice & piano, Op. 107
>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (5) for voice & piano, Op. 105
>Brahms, Johannes : Romances and Songs (5), Op. 84
>Brahms, Johannes : Feldeinsamkeit, Op. 86/2
>Brahms, Johannes : Trio for clarinet (or viola), cello & piano in A minor, Op. 114
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

American Record Guide, November/December 2014
The performances are convincing and moving. Frost and his colleagues play with great skill and devotion. The quintet has both clarity and power, even in the softest passages; the songs are as natural and logical on the clarinet as with the voice; and the trio boasts fire and lyricism. In fact, his tone in the trio, ten years earlier, comes across as the richest and fullest here. Pontinen is a superb pianist, rendering each selection with exquisite tone, touch, and technique, yet his intensity in the trio wavers between the breathtaking and the ordinary. Thedeen is inspiring in all his appearances. His leadership in the trio elevates the music-making, and the finale is one of the exciting and electric ever recorded.

Johannes Brahms's Clarinet Quintet is core repertoire, not just for clarinetists but also in the entire chamber music genre. As such, it has been on Martin Fröst's 'to-be-recorded list' for a long time, and when he gathered a dream-team of string players for a concert in Stockholm in February 2013, it was the perfect opportunity for BIS to organize a recording session. Brahms's Quintet was written in 1891 by a composer who only a year previously had renounced composing, but whose creative urge had been reawakened by his encounter with the leading clarinettist of the time, Richard Mühlfeld. Some 120 years later, Fröst - one of today's most highly regarded musicians and the recipient of the 2014 Sonning Prize - steps into Mühlfeld's shoes, in the company of Janine Jansen, Boris Brovtsyn, Maxim Rysanov and Torleif Thedéen. As a complement to this substantial work - with a duration of almost 35 minutes - Martin Fröst has transcribed six much-loved songs by Brahms, performing them with his chamber music partner of long standing, the eminent pianist Roland Pöntinen. The songs, composed between 1866-1886, range from high lyricism (Die Mainacht) to bitter-sweet nostalgia (Wie Melodien... ), via the humorous Vergebliches Ständchen. To these new recordings has been added a substantial 'bonus' - Martin Fröst's performance with Pöntinen and Thedéen of the Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, which Brahms composed for Mühlfeld in the same year as the quintet. Originally released in 2005, the recording of the Trio received a warm welcome, including an Editor's Choice in Gramophone, as well as a 'Disc of the Month' on website ClassicsToday.com.

Gramophone Magazine, July 2014
Sensuous beauty and taut sinew mingle for an interpretation whose fastidious attention to internal balance and every musical detail result in sovereign excellence, in a sovereign recording. Fröst's control instrumental colour is superfine, intensity of phrases shaped through swell and diminution of sound.

BBC Music Magazine, September 2014
Fröst revels in the deep-plush velvet of his chalumeau regions - and, indeed, sustains this timbre throughout the instrument's register...the ensemble creates cutting-edge rhythmic urgency, and a sense of real momentum.

The Guardian, 21st August 2014
The way the clarinet and strings listen to each other and tailor their phrasing accordingly is an object lesson in high-class ensemble playing, while the clarinet-and-piano arrangements of the songs, in which Fröst is partnered by Roland Pöntinen, complement the chamber works nicely.



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Works Details

>Brahms, Johannes : Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in B minor, Op.115
  • Performers: Boris Brovtsyn (Violin); Martin Frost (Clarinet); Janine Jansen (Violin); Roland Pöntinen (Piano); Maxim Rysanov (Viola); Torleif Thedeen (Cello)
  • Running Time: 37 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1891

>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (4) for voice & piano, Op. 46
  • Performers: Martin Frost (Clarinet); Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1866

>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (5) for voice & piano, Op. 107 :: Mädchenlied, Op. 107/5
  • Performers: Martin Frost (Clarinet); Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1886

>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (5) for voice & piano, Op. 105 :: Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer, Op. 105/2
  • Performers: Martin Frost (Clarinet); Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1886.
  • Running Time: 3 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1886

>Brahms, Johannes : Songs (5) for voice & piano, Op. 105 :: Wie Melodien zeiht es mir leise durch den Sinn, Op. 105/1
  • Performers: Martin Frost (Clarinet); Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1886.
  • Running Time: 2 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1886

>Brahms, Johannes : Romances and Songs (5), Op. 84
  • Performers: Martin Frost (Clarinet); Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1882.
  • Running Time: 1 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1882

>Brahms, Johannes : Feldeinsamkeit, Op. 86/2
  • Performers: Martin Frost (Clarinet); Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
  • Notes: Composition written: 1878.
  • Running Time: 3 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1878

>Brahms, Johannes : Trio for clarinet (or viola), cello & piano in A minor, Op. 114
  • Performers: Martin Frost (Clarinet); Roland Pöntinen (Piano); Torleif Thedeen (Cello)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1891