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Mixed Company®

Mixed Company is written by Saint Paul Sunday staff, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the show and the classical music they love. We welcome your online comments.

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July 6, 2005

Mixing it up

You'd think that after a while being a professional musician could make you jaded: another night, another Beethoven’s 5th. Of course that’s not true, but I’ve found that the most interesting musicians like to mix it up a bit and chamber music offers the perfect vehicle for that. One week it’s a Beethoven trio, the next it’s a quintet with a whole new ensemble. These four musicians have encountered each other in various ensembles along the way and decided it was too much fun playing together not to do it more often. As a result they bring a sense of fun and adventure to the studio that only long-time friends can risk.
OPUS ONE is a staff favorite and they are always on our “yes, of course” list when booking comes up for many reasons: they play with a fierce abandon that produces firework…or tears; they tell the best jokes of any visiting musicians and they believe that there is always more to discover about even the most familiar composers.
Pay particular attention to their performance of the Brahms quartet…and let us know what you think!

Posted by Mary Lee at July 6, 2005 3:15 PM



What a beautiful performance of the Brahms quartet...It was dazzling, I looked up from closed eyes and was dazzled by a single light bulb seen through the tears this performance evoked.
Thank you. Derek

By Derek J White at July 8, 2005 9:48 PM


This Opus One session was a keeper, for sure. The fun of the "Mozart Enroute" followed by the transcendent Brahms, which brought tears here, also.. Opus One's playing protected us for a little while from the toxic ugliness and hate of the current world. That can do us in, unless we remember that beauty is truth and truth beauty, as St. Paul Sunday helps us to do every week. Thanks, Bill McG. and all SPS artists.

By Charlton Price at July 10, 2005 10:26 AM


We in Tucson have been blessed with frequent performances by my now-favorite pianist, Anne-Marie McDermott (under the auspices of the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, and others). She is simply super.

But why isn't she listed in your discography section?

By Arthur Ross at July 10, 2005 6:43 PM


Sometimes the whole is less than the sum of its parts, and I think this is the case with Opus One. (Though, since this program seems to date from 2002, they may have improved since then.)

While they play admirably enough, they lack the technical and harmonic brilliance that is the mark of a first rate quartet.

I've heard all of these musicians live in various ensembles (and also solo in the case of Ms. McDermott), but never as Opus One. I've also heard the Mozart and Brahms pieces many times.
(The Mozart standard is the late '60s recording with three members of the Guarneri and Arthur Rubinstein. It's hard to compete with this one.)

Their problem: Peter Wiley is one of the world's great cellists. In my opinion the others are simply not in his class, and I don't expect they ever will be.

John Niesyn
Fairfield, CT

By John Niesyn at July 10, 2005 10:11 PM