Christof Perick was supposed to lead his goodbye performances as the Charlotte Symphony's music director last May. But a volcano in Iceland had other priorities. Perick couldn't fly out of Europe to get here, so another conductor took over.
Now, sporting his new title of conductor laureate, Perick is back with the orchestra. Tonight and Saturday, the German-born and -trained Perick leads works by Richard Wagner and Anton Bruckner - part of the Germanic musical heritage he championed as the orchestra's leader from 2001 to 2010.
The music: The concerts will start with a contrasting pair of Wagner works. The rousing "Rienzi" Overture comes from a rarely performed opera by the young Wagner. The "Siegfried Idyll" is a lyrical gem - a serenade that was premiered in Wagner's home on a Christmas morning as a gift to his wife. Listeners may hear echoes of Wagner in the Symphony No.3 by his admirer Bruckner. After Bruckner showed him the score, Wagner let Bruckner dedicate it to him. Nevertheless, with its spacious architecture and massive sonorities, the hourlong symphony has Bruckner's stamp all over it. The orchestra's brass section should have a field day.
To go: The concerts are tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St. Tickets are $21.50-$80.50. Details: 704-972-2000; www.charlottesymphony.org.