Martin Fröst Played ... and the Earth Moved!

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2017-04-12 01:51

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (the NZSO, hereinafter to be called TWBB: The World's Best Band) was in fabulous fettle last Friday night when its gig at the Michael Fowler Centre comprised Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major and Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony. It induced rapture.

Swedish clarinetist Martin Fröst did the honours in the Mozart. His performance was quite literally earth-shaking—Martin played ... and Wellington had one of its earthquakes. Or so it was reported. More likely, the earth was swooning—Fröst is musician, magician, gymnast and hunk all rolled into one. Drop-dead gorgeous at 47, he looks 27. He has TWSL (The World's Sexiest Legs), whose slim muscularity he flaunts outrageously beneath TWTT (The World's Tightest Trousers). He scampers, sways, swaggers and seduces as he plays, conducting the orchestra with his head—a head capped with a preposterously luxuriant crop of blond hair. Mr. Fröst probably should be declared a public health risk because of the catastrophic effect he and his instrument are likely to have en masse on the blood pressure of susceptible females (and males).

Oh, and did I mention his playing? That's quite good too. Though I am not TWGE (The World's Greatest Expert) on performances of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major, I venture to suggest it has seldom been better rendered. Evidently the males and females, susceptible or not, who packed the Fowler Centre thought so too. Mr. Fröst was recalled several times by an ecstatic audience, whom he obliged with an encore, Klezmer Dance No. 3 by his younger brother Göran. Martin's performance was eye-popping in its virtuosity. What with earthquakes and such thunderous cheering, the roof of the Fowler Centre did well to remain intact.

Edo De Waart did an exemplary job directing Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, and TWBB was faultless in executing it. This work was one of the definitive ways in which Beethoven steered Western Music from Classicism to its apogee, Romanticism. From tranquil to tempestuous and back again, the Pastorale is as much a landmark as the Master's 3rd, 5th and 9th Symphonies in the Ascent of Man.

Rapture is what the crowd craved, and rapture was what it got. There had been a jarring note (or was it three notes, for twenty-five minutes?) at the beginning of the evening when TWBB had to offer up an obligatory contemporary turd—testament to the Descent of Man—but memories of that horror were quickly erased when TWBB got back to the business of real music: TIOR (The Inducing Of Rapture).