Being away from the DC area for the holidays, I didn't find out until
after the New Year the sad news that Mr. McLellan, music critic Emeritus
for the Washington Post, had passed away on December 26th.
Mr. McLellan was an institution here, being a longtime reviewer of
classical concerts and recordings for the Post. In addition to his
writings in the newspaper, he also appeared regularly on radio station
WETA-FM to discuss musical happenings until his retirement from regular
newspaper duties 10 years ago (he still appeared on occasion in the paper
until quite recently). His rather gravelly voice on the radio was
instantly familiar, and I always enjoyed reading or listening to him.
Perhaps the word "critic", with its often negative connotation, wasn't
really applicable to Mr. McLellan. He was noted for the gentility of
his reviews, even when it was clear that the performance in question
wasn't up to snuff. The use of more diplomatic means to convey his
opinions was a characteristic of his (and perhaps one sorely needed these
days in Washington), and it's to this city's loss that he is now gone.
In case members of the List aren't familiar with him and wish to seek
out examples of his reviews, Mr. McLellan did have a web presence as the
"Grace Notes" columnist at the classical music site Redludwig.com. If
you go to that site, an archive of his recent reviews and Grace Notes
columns are still available.