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Missa \ BBC SO \ Storgards \ Tiensuu \ Kriikku

April 5, 2009

A cracking concert on Friday 3 April 2009 given by the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Hall.

The brass section of the BBC Symphony Orchestra made light work of Magnus Lindberg‘s fiendish writing in the UK premiere of his work Ottoni. But it was a performance swiftly eclipsed by the surprisingly fresh rendition of Benjamin Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge.  The success of the performance was in no small part to the obvious mastery the string section has attained for bringing the demanding Barbican acoustic alive. Of particular note was sweet sound of the firsts during the fourth variation. Repetition of standard repertoire needn’t be a by-word for dullness, as the string section proved on Friday night.

The real revelation however, was Finnish clarinettist Kari Kriikku‘s London premiere of Jukka Tiensuu‘s clarinet concerto Missa.

Was it Tiensuu’s concerto or the brilliant Kriikku’s? Sometimes it was difficult to tell for sure. Kriikku’s mastery of the instrument was awe-inspiring, especially a seemingly long sequence in which he effortlessly demonstrated circular breathing and apparent ease delivering all manner of harmonics at the top of the instrument. This was a jaw-droppingly brilliant performance.

But the real orchestral highlight was hearing the puddles of sound created between clarinet soloist and the woodwind section behind him which acoustically transformed the interior of the Barbican into a cathedral like structure by way of the echo effect the orchestration had.

Hear the concert in Performance on 3 on Wednesday 8 April 2009 at 7.00pm and for seven days after broadcast.

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