Anthony McGill, March 9, 2021
I watched a concert online by Anthony McGill, the principal clarinetist of the NY Philharmonic. The concert was called *Cadence: The Sounds of Justice, the Sounds of a Movement.* It was premiered online on March 9, 2021 - - I watched it on April 1, 2021. The concert is on YouTube:
McGill performed with the Catalyst Quartet: Karla Donehew Perez and Abi Fayette on violin, Paul Laraia on viola, and Karlos Rodriguez on cello. The concert was part of the Metropolitan Museum “Met Live Arts” series and was done in a gallery at the Metropolitan Museum.
They opened with a piece by Richard Danielpour, “Four Angels.” The mood was lyrical and mournful with moments of conflict. It was a great way to set the tone for the concert, it was a very stimulating, though-provoking piece of music. McGill had an engaging physicality to his playing, I got the feeling he was liberated from sitting in his chair surrounded by the Phil.
McGill moved to another gallery and played a piece for solo clarinet, “Three Smiles for Tracey” by Adolphus Hailstork. This was a nice contrast to the piece before, both because it was a big change in texture (solo clarinet vs clarinet and string quartet) and because the music had a completely different character, it was filled with light. You could hear the smiles.
The next piece was for the full ensemble again, “Quintet in F-sharp minor, op. 10” by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The previous pieces were a bit abstract in their use of harmony, so it was a nice change to hear a piece that was solidly grounded in 19th century tonality. I liked it a lot, it was beautiful and well made. I think it was French composer and composition teacher who said, “I prefer well made music to beautiful music.” This piece was both. McGill’s playing was particularly beautiful in the slow movement and the quartet really captured the ache in the music.