Mozart’s Clarinet

Thursday 4 November 2010 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

John Storgårds  conductor
Kari Kriikku  clarinet

Beethoven: Overture: Coriolan 8′
Mozart: Clarinet Concerto 28′
Sibelius: Lemminkäinen Suite 50′

“A mighty hero / in his veins the blood of ages / head erect and form commanding…but, alas! he had his failings.” In all Finnish legend, there’s no-one to match the hero Lemminkäinen. Seducing the girls, battling his enemies, and cheating death itself (with a bit of help from his mum), it’s an extraordinary story, and Sibelius puts it all into even more extraordinary music. His Lemminkäinen Suite tells the tale in unforgettable style – including the haunting Swan of Tuonela. It all adds up to the greatest symphony Sibelius never wrote, and the perfect challenge for the superb Finnish conductor John Storgårds. But first, after his breathtaking performance last season, we’re thrilled to welcome back another Finnish legend – virtuoso clarinettist Kari Kriikku, in Mozart’s chart-topping concerto.

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

…”There was some wonderful playing here, not least from Jill Crowther’s cor anglais in the lugubrious Swan of Tuonela, full-throated strings, and Cliff Pick’s ubiquitous but so eloquent bass drum.” … 4/5

(The Sibelius was my favourite piece of the night, “doodlings” et al!)

Nelsons Conducts Bruckner’s Third

Wednesday 25 November 2009 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Kari Kriikku  clarinet

Wagner: Parsifal – Prelude 14′
Lindberg: Clarinet Concerto 28′
Bruckner: Symphony No. 3 54′

Bruckner dedicated his Third Symphony to Richard Wagner – and there’s more than a hint of the Ride of the Valkyries about this stirring, powerfully romantic symphony. Vast musical landscapes, hymns of triumph and moments of heart-breaking poetry – if you heard Andris Nelsons conducting Wagner and Strauss last season, you won’t want to miss his Bruckner. But the evening begins with the serene beauty of Wagner’s Parsifal prelude – while Magnus Lindberg’s sparky Clarinet Concerto (played by the artist who inspired it) is like a dazzling firework display amidst all this teutonic grandeur.

Review by Christoper Morley, Birmingham Post:

“Everyone take note: Andris Nelsons is destined to become one of the greatest Wagnerian conductors of the 21st – or indeed any – century” …

Review by Rian Evans, Guardian:

“…Yet it is hard to imagine Kriikku giving a more gripping performance than this one with Andris Nelsons and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The Symphony Hall acoustic allowed the whole fabric of the piece to emerge with unflagging clarity and vibrancy.” …

Review by Geoff Brown, The Times:

…”Never before have I heard such warm, veiled, ethereal beauties from these players, or indeed from Symphony Hall. In his second season as the CBSO’s chief, Nelsons continues to be a complete magician, conjuring passionate yet elegant performances through solid musicianship, delicate hand gestures, flexible knees, and a star’s charisma.”…