I’ve said it before, I’m not a huge fan of Antonio Vivaldi in general. OK, I put Rachel Podger’s fantastic Four Seasons into my Top 5 Classical Albums of 2018, but beyond this I typically much rather listen to Bach, Beethoven, or Brahms to just name a few.
That said, one thing that Vivaldi really is good at is improving my mood. One good example of this is this Amandine Beyer album, that I also reviewed in April, pretty much exactly two years ago. Seems like spring time really is my Vivaldi time.
Obviously this is one of the weirdest Spring times most of us have lived through. Don’t worry, you won’t be reading about Covid here, it is sufficient that every other website on this planet talks about it. But especially in not so easy times, music can really play a role in bringing us back some of the cheerfulness that we all could be using more of right now.
Martin Fröst – Vivaldi – Concerto Köln (Sony Classical 2020)
When I saw this cover among the very recent new releases, I had high hopes. Martin Fröst is one of the best clarinet players of our times (his recording of Mozart’s clarinet concerto is mentioned in My Must Have Mozart Albums), and Concerto Köln hardly ever disappoints in the baroque repertoire.
I’m glad to report I wasn’t disappointed, this album is a little gem.
The Concerto Köln do what they always do, bringing the music to life with passion, nuance, and precision, and Martin Fröst’s beautiful tone is singing more than ever (check out the Adagio of the first clarinet concerto).
Check out this video trailer to get a first impression, and hear some of Fröst’s thinking about why he did this album in the first place:
One thing to note is that there wasn’t any clarinet at the time of Vivaldi, so this is a bit of an adaptation. But nothing wrong with this, and the end result is very convincing.
So, if you need some music that doesn’t require you to think too much, but just live in the moment and enjoy, this is the album to get.
My rating: 4 stars (to be clear, the playing is absolutely 5 star worthy, but this still is Vivaldi after all, and not an absolute must have for me).
You can find it here (Qobuz)