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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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August 19, 2005

Not quite camera shy

When Antares arrived at the studio for this recording, I thought, 'here's a fun, fairly new quartet.' They seemed laid-back, chatted with the engineers a bit, sipped some coffee and then one of them said—I don’t remember if this was the exact quote, but it's the idea—"Let's get down to business."

When the quartet sat down to play, their intensity and concentration were amazing. The musicians were keenly perceptive of one another's smallest gestures, an eyebrow raise or slight rubato over one note. It was as though they were the only four in the studio.

That turned out to be the actual case, not just figurative. Saint Paul Sunday had just gotten a new digital camera. While Antares was rehearsing I was going around the studio taking pictures and experimenting with different focuses, flashes and all the other gadgets on the camera. At one point, they had stopped at a dramatic pause and the camera flashed and clicked, completely ruining the moment. I apologized and I believe it was Rebecca who said, "Don't worry. I didn't notice that you were here taking pictures."

Eric Huebner and Rebecca Patterson listen for subtle performance cues.Pianist Eric Huebner practices his solo line. Violinist Vesselin Gellev signals an entrance in the music. Before recording, Senior Producer Vaughn Ormseth and Executive Producer Mary Lee discuss the rundown of the show with the quartet.

In that way, the contrasts of this group are stunning. They play with fierce concentration, but their repertoire is fresh, engaging and charismatic which makes me believe that they are also great observers of the world around them. What did you enjoy in Antares's performance?

Posted by Suzanne Schaffer at August 19, 2005 12:04 PM