Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo (1919) by Igor Stravinsky
Sonata for Clarinet & Piano (1941-1942) by Leonard Bernstein
A Set for Clarinet (1954, rev.1974) by Donald Martino
Sonata for Clarinet & Piano (1962) by Francis Poulenc
Gra (1993) by Elliott Carter
Tema con variazioni (1974) by Jean Francaix
with Jeanie Chung, piano
Max Christie probably should have played trombone. Or been a singer. Instead he chose the clarinet, or more likely it chose him, singling him out as the right size and shape. The instrument, it is said, chooses the player. The exploding cigar of the orchestra, the clarinet is only cool in the hands of people named Benny or Woody or PeeWee. It affords no cachet, yet it has inspired great composers to write great things for it, so that one can console one’s inner singer (or trombonist) with the knowledge that no other wind instrument is as blessed.
Max Christie is blessed as well with a beautiful family and a surprisingly full life, even for someone who manages an exploding cigar for a living. He has never lived far from Toronto, and likely never will, but you never know.