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MOZART. W.A.: Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581 / BRAHMS, J.: Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115 (McGill, Pacifica Quartet)

Cedille CDR90000-147

   Audiophilia, January 2017, September 2016
   Gramophone, December 2015
   MusicWeb International, November 2015
   Fanfare, January 2015
   American Record Guide, November 2014
   Baker & Taylor CD Hotlist, October 2014, October 2014
   The WholeNote, September 2014
   Audio Video Club of Atlanta, August 2014
   The WSCL Blog, July 2014
   Audiophile Audition, July 2014
   The New York Times, July 2014
   Positive Feedback Online, July 2014
   San Francisco Chronicle, June 2014
   Audiophilia, June 2014, June 2014
   WQXR (New York), June 2014

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Anthony Kershaw
Audiophilia, January 2017

McGill is a fabulous clarinet player. …He has a limpid tone, flawless intonation and that liquidity and legato that seemingly is only the domain of the clarinet. His interplay with the Pacifica Quartet is second to none and they combine in superb ensemble playing.

McGill is OCD regarding dynamics. They are exactly what Mozart and Brahms indicate. No other player comes close to matching them. McGill takes a few breaths where others do not (although he does manage the opening of the Brahms Adagio beautifully in one long breath). They are musical breaths and perfectly acceptable, but others eschew them. © 2017 Audiophilia Read complete review, September 2016

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MOZART. W.A.: Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581 / BRAHMS, J.: Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115 (McGill, Pacifica Quartet) CDR90000-147

The acclaimed Pacifica Quartet give impressive and emotional performances of this technically demanding yet compelling music. © 2016 Read complete review

Donald Rosenberg
Gramophone, December 2015

McGill’s poetic fluidity and the Pacifica’s supple precision assure that the score emerges with sensitive freshness.

These interpretations are such meetings of inspired equals… © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Michael Cookson
MusicWeb International, November 2015

Striking throughout is the impeccable ensemble and unblemished intonation of the players who could have been breathing as a single entity. They find a combination of warmth and grace which is completely convincing. This is accomplished musicianship indeed. The warm sound of these recordings is pleasingly clear, well balanced between clarinet and strings, and not too resonant. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, January 2015

…the most appealing quality of these performances is the absolute sense of rightness regarding tempo and phrasing. There is no sense of exaggeration; no doctrinaire interpretive points are being made. Clarity of texture and precision of execution are givens as well, but take nothing from the remarkable heart of either performance—heart achieved by all five of the ensemble, but especially by McGill, who seems particularly sensitive to the special emotive role of the clarinet in both of these works. These are performances of the highest order, ones that I might, while in their thrall, be inclined to call best. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Patrick Hanudel
American Record Guide, November 2014

McGill plays with exceptional beauty and feeling, often subverting expectations with unusual yet elegant color changes and taking care of the occasional technical flurry with ease and grace. Pacifica, meanwhile, greets the soloist with excellent clarity and sweetness of tone, complementing his vocal nuance with warm cantabile. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Rick Anderson
Baker & Taylor CD Hotlist, October 2014

All I can say is that I keep being drawn back to it, and that I’m not sure whether it’s because of McGill’s superb ability to communicate both works’ bittersweet gorgeousness, or because the Pacificas accompany him with such lush sensitivity. © 2014 Baker & Taylor CD Hotlist Read complete review

David Hurwitz, October 2014

Balances are so sensitively judged, especially in the more thickly scored Brahms Quintet, that you can always hear the woodwind solo without any suggestion of spotlighting.

In the Mozart Quintet, these players pace the work perfectly…It’s delightful to hear how McGill manages those intermittent outbursts of virtuosity without that cartoonish squeakiness that mars so many other versions…there’s muscle to this music that the players feel keenly, and which underlies everything that they do even though the playing never turns rough or unpleasantly edgy.

… this quite fabulously engineered disc certainly stands among [the best]…it’s very satisfying to see a no-nonsense, serious coupling of two chamber music masterpieces, and to hear them done so well. © 2014 Read complete review

Max Christie
The WholeNote, September 2014

McGill and company keep [Mozart's K581] tempi brisk, eschew vibrato, remain in tune; they even affect a Viennese waltz in the second trio. The clarinet tone is clear and yet warm: crystal velvet. The string playing is assured, all gut strings and clear understatement.

Brahms’ longer and darker work is more daunting for performer and listener alike…[and] a totally ravishing performance is given on this disc. The pacing is vital and flexible. Inner voices sing, hemiolas rock. The finale leads to ineluctable tragedy, beautifully. Buy this recording. © 2014 The WholeNote Read complete review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, August 2014

The Pacifica String Quartet…celebrate their 20th anniversary, in collaboration with the eloquent clarinet artistry of Anthony McGill, in smoothly articulated accounts of the Mozart and Brahms quintets that often belie the intense preparation that went into these performances.

As is usual with perfect-sounding performances, a lot of dedicated application went into this one. © 2014 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

Kara Dahl Russell
The WSCL Blog, July 2014

Both Mozart and Brahms had a particular genius for the blending of the clarinet with strings, and these solid, traditional works are the perfect way for Pacifica to reach out—for the first time—to include a soloist of McGill’s talent. © 2014 The WSCL Blog Read complete review

Daniel Coombs
Audiophile Audition, July 2014

These monumental clarinet war horses get a vibrant new treatment!

This [Pacifica Quartet] is a wonderful quartet in a sea of quartets. I have heard them but once before…and they remain incredibly impressive.

I enjoyed this disc a great deal. I do think that Anthony McGill is a master clarinetist that all players but especially young, aspiring performers ought to emulate. For anyone wishing to have a recording of these amazing works, I know there are so many out there to choose from but this is very good and highly recommended. © 2014 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Vivien Schweitzer
The New York Times, July 2014

The pure, gorgeous tone and expressive musicianship of the clarinetist Anthony McGill meshes with the talents of the excellent Pacifica Quartet for thoroughly enjoyable readings… © 2014 The New York Times

Bob Neill
Positive Feedback Online, July 2014

McGill’s clear, rich tone, no surprise, takes center stage as it should. I haven’t heard a great many clarinetists over the years but he’s easily the best I’ve heard. The Pacifica musicians clearly knew whom they wanted for this outing. Their characteristically crisp style complements his harmonic richness perfectly. On the Brahms, McGill’s musicianship is absolutely mesmerizing. This is some of the most exciting playing I’ve heard this year. © 2014 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review

Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle, June 2014

…the playing is so suave, so gleamingly elegant and so full of textural riches that you can almost imagine yourself hearing these pieces for the first time. McGill especially is a joy, bringing a combination of vivacity and soulfulness to the Mozart and then deepening those qualities to reflect the autumnal qualities in Brahms’ writing. The Pacifica Quartet makes a worthy collaborator, providing plush yet translucent accompaniment when the clarinet comes to the fore and stepping up when necessary with close-knit ensemble playing. In all, this is a keeper. © 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Read complete review

Anthony Kershaw
Audiophilia, June 2014

The recorded standards for this pairing have been very high.

If you are in need of this particular pairing in the very best modern sound, enjoy the US style sound, and like your classical composers played in ‘urtext edition’, then McGill’s your man. Recommended. © 2014 Audiophilia Read complete review

Marcus Karl Maroney, June 2014

…the players act as a collective vessel for the melodic, harmonic and structural ingenuity that course through the pieces. Their collective abilities—exquisite tone through all registers, perfect intonation, rhythmic acuity—are used first and foremost to serve the music.

In sum, this is a superlative entry in a very crowded field, and fans of this music need not hesitate. © 2014 Read complete review

WQXR (New York), June 2014

…illuminating in many ways. © 2014 WQXR (New York) Read complete version

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