Martin Fröst’s pioneer project Dollhouse where he appears as soloist, conductor, dancer and master of ceremony was an instant success with three sold out halls in the Stockholm Concert House with enthusiastic reviews. Fröst’s ambition to investigate the nature of communication between conductor and orchestra resulted in a breathtaking production including specially composed works, choreography, light design and a pedagogical project involving two clarinet students and the Stockholm audiences were enchanted and gave the performances standing ovations .
Johanna Paulsson wrote the following review for swedish news paper Dagens Nyheter:
”The magician Martin Fröst redefines the framework of orchestral performance.”
“To make klezmer dance connect to an Andalusian lullaby, Stravinsky´s neo classical ballet suite and masked peacock music, you either have to be a magician or Martin Fröst. Maybe it is actually the same thing. If anyone can conjure a choreographed concert performance like “Dollhouse”, it has to be a bearer of traditions and trendsetting world soloist like him. “Are we the ones tied to the threads or do we pull them” he philosophizes from stage and jokes about pulling off a few encores in the beginning of the concert. Some of the speech can be recognized from the 12th Nights concert and the music functions as an illustration. But brother Göran Fröst´s new piece “DTangled” resembles nothing else when the chorography of Birgitta Egerbladh ingeniously transforms the soloist into a dangling marionette. Eventually he dives down for his clarinet in a suggestively merged “conductography” where he leads the orchestra with tap dance steps and gestures through a warmly lyrical music with underlying threats and a solo cello which has moved to the organ balcony.
The quietly growing fragility in de Falla´s “Nana” becomes the introduction to the Danish composer Bent Sörensen´s specially composed “Doll steps in Venice” with a pulse of pizzicato marching doll steps, slightly jazz tinted harmonies and a game between hearing and sight impressions. Like when clarinet pupil Magnus Holmander lets his clarinet dissolve in glittering dust.
This magical achievement of course leads on to Paul Dukas’ symphonic poème (and later Disney hit) The Sourcerer’s Apprentice. Maybe the details become a little too explicit, should each interpretations sound like this one would become a little faint. But on the conducting podium Fröst at the same time has the ability to make the music exciting. Like the classical music’s own Lord Woldemort, he urges the orchestra on in an underworld dance while the light design of Linus Fellbom sets both organ pipes and Wagner hearts alight.
Stravinsky´s Pulcinella Suite is elegantly served with Sörensen´s Doll Step Echoes interwoven as sensual clarinet silhouettes between the movements and as an overall concept Dollhouse is a complete success. The Millenium version of Ander´s Hillborg´s Peacock tales – smartened up with two additional clarienet parts – ties the programme well together with its demonically masked movement choreography. Fröst´s can take special credit for breaking the frames of what an orchestra is and can be, with his investigations of roles, dynamics and power balance, wanting something more.”