After Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen in Paris on Tuesday, we bid a very fond farewell to one of the stalwarts of the LSO, Principal Clarinet Andrew Marriner. We sat down with Andrew to hear some of the highlights from his 34-year-long membership of the Orchestra.
Which piece made you fall in love with the clarinet?
I remember falling for the Brahms' Clarinet Quintet, recorded by Gervaise de Peyer with the Melos Ensemble, and the Mozart Clarinet Quintet with Jack Brymer and the Allegri Quartet. Both players were early heroes of mine.
What are your stand-out memories from your first season as a member of the LSO?
I joined the LSO in 1985/6, but first played with the Orchestra in 1978: Brahms’ Fourth Symphony conducted by one of my great heroes, Sergiu Celibidache. I had been attending all the rehearsals as a listener and Celi wanted to double the number of clarinets playing, so I was conveniently present to accept the invitation of the personnel manager to join in, albeit discreetly. It was a dream come true. I must have played brilliantly because they invited me back five years later!
Which concerts have you most enjoyed this current season?
Playing Bruckner symphonies has always been at the top of my list, so this season has been particularly good for me, touring the Sixth with Sir Simon Rattle and celebrating Bernard Haitink’s 90th birthday with the Fourth – heaven.
Can you tell us about any of your personal highlights of your time with the LSO?
Among the highlights of my 41-year association with the Orchestra have been the 1983 world tour, forming and being part of a wonderful collaborative wind section and enjoying listening to some of the greatest orchestral playing over the years. It would be invidious to pick out particular concerts: suffice to say that the LSO has always given its all on the concert platform and this has resulted in some of the most inspired music-making you could ever wish to be a part of.
Who are the most inspirational conductors you have worked with over your career with the LSO?
All the principal conductors of the LSO have been magnificent (it would be hard to survive their tenure if it didn’t click), so Claudio Abbado, Michael Tilson Thomas, Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev and Sir Simon Rattle have all been major contributors to the pleasure I’ve had playing with, and for them, in the Orchestra. Add to that list the great associated conductors: Haitink, Previn, Bernstein, Rostropovich et al, and I can look back with enormous gratitude to countless richly satisfying musical experiences.
What one piece of advice would you give to young clarinettists studying at music college?
If you want to pursue an orchestral career, learn the repertoire inside out before you audition and make sure you’ve got the basic technique sorted out, because there won’t be time to catch up later!
What is your favourite piece of orchestral repertoire featuring the clarinet?
Berlioz: ‘Pantomime’ from The Trojans.
Any works that you consider to be the clarinettist’s ‘nemesis’?
I’m only too happy that Smetana’s Overture to The Bartered Bride only turned up once in my time!
What's your favourite thing about London?
What are you favourite tour destinations?
Mumbai, Lisbon and Aix-en-Provence.