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It's pathetic, I know, but when my offhand liveblogging critique of yesterday's inaugural John Williams composition lines up with Alex Ross's criticism, I feel a little better about my belated and meager attempts to understand classical music. Writes Ross: "[I liked t]he quiet, almost bittersweet ending — a welcome change from the grimly bombastic Williams film music that marred Obama's victory speech in November." I liked the surprisingly atypical conclusion too, though I didn't express it very well. Don't blame me, I've yet to win a National Book Award. Or teach myself out of tone-deafness.
Fun fact that Ross touches on: the clarinetist, Anthony McGill, is a Whitney Young grad from Chatham (would love to hear his Quartet for the End of Time with Yo-Yo Ma). He's now principal clarinetist for the Met Opera; you can hear him play Poulenc, Debussy, and Brahms here.