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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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December 21, 2005

New Life

It's the child in us, I think, who responds to holiday music. After all, this is is a holiday which celebrates birth—new life in the dark days of the winter solstice. And Lord knows, we can use a little boost for our spirits along about now.

Our ancestors must have watched the sun sinking lower and lower on the horizon in those months after the harvest, wondering if maybe this time the sun wouldn’t return. Festivals at this time of year are ancient. Every culture seems to have developed its own way of turning winter on its ear. Some of these affairs are peculiar to the area of their practice. Ice-fishing comes to mind, as does the Carnival of Venice.

In North America, we have the "Holiday Season." This can sometimes strike the jaundiced eye as an enormous commercial binge. But beyond the crowded malls and the assault of advertising which takes over the airways at this time of year, we can hear a quiet sound, hardly more than a whisper at times.

Follow that sound. Cherish it. Its message is simple—new life. Love one another. Rejoice.

Find that song and join the chorus. That's what the Empire Brass are doing in this show.

Posted by Bill McGlaughlin at 4:59 PM | Comments (5)


December 8, 2005

Lasting friendships

The Endellion String Quartet is a premier ensemble and their ability to read each other's subtle, musical expressions is a marvel of nature. But equally wondrous is the fact that, after 25 years, they still have fun together. After long plane flights, late night rehearsals, concerts and recording sessions, these four are clearly good friends and collaborators.

They're lucky. Not every ensemble get along so well--one member of a well-known string quartet recently sued the other members over a disagreement. The Endellion seems to thrive on a terrific sense of humor. The quartet recently did an interview with the Guardian Unlimited in the UK and revealed the secret to staying in business and staying friends. It's fascinating reading so I hope you enjoy.

Posted by Suzanne Schaffer at 10:31 AM | Comments (5)