Clarinet soloist Anthony McGill, accompanied by the wickedly talented University of Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, put on a tremendous performance at the Hamel Music Center Tuesday night.
McGill is a part of the New York Philharmonic as Principal Clarinet. Conducted by Oriol Sans, the orchestra began their first piece of the night, “Clarinet Concerto No. 1” by C. Maria von Weber.
The Concerto contained three songs — “Allegro,” “Adagio ma non troppo and Rondo” and “Allegretto.” The first song felt like you were going on a journey with the music. The UW Symphony Orchestra, full of Mead Witter School of Music students, blended incredibly well together and with McGill’s clarinet.
Straight away, the crowd was captivated by McGill. Watching him move with the music and truly feeling what he was performing was engaging. McGill’s solos throughout the concerto were seamless. His breath control in his long solos was extremely impressive.
After “Clarinet Concerto No. 1,” McGill received a well-deserved standing ovation. Each song felt like it was from a movie. The music was so clear and clean that it felt as though it was recorded. The performance exceeded my expectations.
Following the concerto, the orchestra then played “Première Rhapsodie” by Claude Debussy. This was McGill’s last piece with the orchestra before he left. After the piece, McGill received another standing ovation.
After a brief intermission, the UW Symphony Orchestra returned to the stage with more players to perform “Symphony No. 1” by Gustav Mahler. The orchestra sounded beautiful, and the blend of wind and string instruments was incredibly pleasing.
The final song, “Stürmisch bewegt,” lasted 19 minutes. At the end of the mighty song, conductor Sans let out a sigh as if to say, “we did it.” You could see the relief on the orchestra members’ faces as they realized they completed the challenging and long piece.
The UW Symphony Orchestra’s next performance will be at 7:30 p.m. April 28 at the UW Hamel Music Center in Mead Witter Hall.