Carl Nielsen’s Clarinet Concerto Op. 57 can be a daunting endeavor to learn, and even listen to! Despite several listenings and attempts to learn the piece myself, the music just never seemed to make any sense and I lost interest in the midst of my frustrations. My disdain for this piece of music was changed to utter delight and satisfaction the night I had the pleasure of hearing it performed at a concert by Anthony McGill, the principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic (2016). For the first time, the Nielsen Concerto made sense. It was clear that Mr. McGill understood this music to its fullest and was able to communicate clearly with his audience. It was so refreshing to finally understand the complexity of this music, all because the complex phrases were formed into a cohesive message by this fine performer.
Phrasing music is so important to master! Without clearly defined phrases and ideas, the music loses its essence and reason for being and is little more than noise. Without clearly defined phrases, music is like a poorly delivered speech in which you hear the words and sentences, but the message is unclear and confusing. The audience is lost and your efforts have become fruitless. Continue reading “Phrasing: Making sense of the music”