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Fanfare 5 Stars

July 24, 2023

Kim Meltzer

Five stars: A brilliant solo recital by Danish clarinetist Jonas Frølund

SOLO ALONE AND MORE  Jonas Frølund (cl) (pc1)  OUR RECORDINGS 6.220681 (73:40)

NIELSEN Clarinet Concerto: Cadenza. STRAVINSKY Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo. BRENT SØRENBSEN Lontanamente, Fragments of a Waltz. METTE NIELSEN Alone for basset clarinet. MESSIAEN Quatour pour la Fin du Temps: Abîme des oiseaux. GUNNAR BERG Pour clarinette seule I. RUDERS Tattoo for One. WAGNER Tristan und Isolde: Act III English horn solo. SIMON STEEN-ANDERSEN 1De Profundis

Solo Alone and More is a recital by the young Danish clarinetist Jonas Frølund (b. 1996, Himmelev, near Roskilde). Principal clarinet of the Danish Chamber Orchestra, and co-founder of the V Coloris wind quintet, Frølund’s performances encompass orchestral, concerto, solo, and chamber repertoire. Solo Alone and More consists entirely of unaccompanied repertoire, encompassing music composed over the past century, with Wagner’s pathbreaking Tristan und Isolde thrown in for good measure. During the course of the recital, Frølund plays soprano clarinets in B-flat and A, a basset clarinet in A, and bass clarinet in B-flat. There are five world premiere recordings. Bent Sørensen’s Lontanamente Fragments of a Waltz, Mette Nielsen’s Alone for basset clarinet, and Gunnar Berg’s Pour clarinette seule I receive their initial recordings. The English horn solo from the opening of Act III of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, as played on bass clarinet, is recorded for the first time. Frølund also performs Simon Steen-Andersen’s De Profundis, originally scored for soprano saxophone (and percussion), in its version for bass clarinet. The featured works span various styles; traditional and more avant-garde techniques, virtuoso passagework, lyrical episodes, etc. In short, Solo Alone and More is a showcase for the gamut of Frølund’s technique and artistry. And he shines throughout. Frølund is a complete artist, and a virtuoso in every positive sense of that word; one who combines technical mastery with a gorgeous tone, remarkable breath control, and brilliant musicianship. I also must mention Frølund’s exploration of the softest of dynamics, which he plays with rapt beauty, drawing the listener ever closer. Regardless of the work and its attendant style and demands (including playing various percussion instruments in the Steen-Andersen), Frølund plays with extraordinary facility, and keen attention to the composer’s voice. He is every bit as at home in the mournful song of the Act III Tristan solo as in Poul Ruders’s virtuoso tour-de-force, Tattoo for One. And whether the music is more traditional in conception, or avant-garde, Frølund plays with the utmost commitment. Solo Alone and More is the work of an inspired, complete artist. Gorgeous, lifelike recorded sound graces this project. Enthusiastically recommended. Fanfare Ken Meltzer July 24 2023

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