LARS KARLSSON (b.1953): Clarinet Concerto, 7 Songs to Texts by Pär Lagerqvist for Baritone and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 02T060
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Karlsson is a Finnish composer who studied with Heininen and Rautavaara, among others. He composes in a readily accessible tonal, neo-romantic idiom. The Clarinet Concerto, in traditional three-movement form, has a certain neoclassical elegance and a distinct lack of portentousness or bombast, though it is by no means without its dramatic episodes. The composer tells us that his early conception of the work involved references to Nordic mythology, but that it subsequently became a more conventional, abstract virtuoso vehicle. Nonetheless, this original concept may account to some extent for the moments of high drama that punctuate the otherwise genial and easy-going nature of most of the work after the imposing introduction. The bulk of the first movement is a sprightly allegretto, with a melodic 'second subject'; the slow movement is calm, with an almost Satie-esque coolness and detachment at the start. It too develops a powerful climax which fails to dominate the movement, which soon returns to its lyrical musings. The finale is a lively romp with something of the puppet-show or cartoon about it. The Songs set texts by Pär Lagerkvist (1891-1974), chosen to represent a kind of life cycle, beginning with youthful anguish, progressing through passion and maturity to the spirituality of old age. This very Romantic 'programme' is matched by eloquent, sumptuously orchestrated music of high late-Romanticism. Swedish-English texts. Gabriel Suovanen (baritone), Christoffer Sundqvist (clarinet), Lapland Chamber Orchestra; John Storgårds.