I am confident saying that Sunday's concert with the Pacifica Quartet and clarinetist Anthony McGill was the most soulful and satisfying performance of Mozart and Brahms that I have ever heard. So often, the promise of all-star combinations falls short of expectations, but the Pacifica and McGill make music as if they have been performing together as a quintet for 20 years. Their collaboration is natural, and the music flows with depth and clarity. The concert also celebrated the quintet's forthcoming release of the same program - Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in A Major and Brahms' Clarinet Quintet in B minor - on Cedille Records in May.
Not only was I able to hear this exquisite music from behind a camera, but the artists were kind enough to let me hang out with them in the green room during intermission. I was thrilled to finally meet the Pacifica, an ensemble I've long admired as a reviewer and music lover; and McGill - a Chicago native - may be best known for his performance at President Obama's first Inauguration.
And to top it all off, my photo of the concert ran in the Sun-Times with Andrew Patner's glowing concert review. My first photo in a newspaper! Many thanks to Cedille Records' Jim Ginsburg and University of Chicago Presents' Amy Iwano for a wonderful afternoon.