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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 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 December 8, 2005 10:31 AM



Nice enough (if a bit underwhelming) program this week.

To address Suzzane's question from last week, (i.e., "how do today's musicians invigorate music..."): I think one of the ways is to play music past over or rarely played live. My experience has been that audiences respond favorably--most of the time.

Today I heard chamber music played by musicians of the NY Philharmonic (FYI: they do this nine times per season) and, cut loose from upper management so they can choose the program, they make some memorable choices. Among five pieces was Martinu's sextet for piano, flute, oboe, two bassoons, and clarinet. Five brisk movements of quirky and unexpected pleasure. A real treat.

Also, they played Schumann's WoO #10 which is orchestrated for two pianos, two cellos, and horn. (How's that for a lineup?) What an odd piece, but I'll be damned if it didn't have the audience's attention from the getgo. And we loved it.

To innovate groups don't always have to choose a contemporary piece. They can play pieces relegated to the obscurity of the cannon's dustbin and, since most audiences haven't heard these before, they're new and invigorating.

John Niesyn

By John Niesyn at December 11, 2005 10:30 PM


Your webpage changed recently, and I wonder if it is possible to place previous programs from 2004, 2003, 2002, etc. on the web? In that way a person could select a year and a performance that they want to hear again. I also liked the way the website opened with Bill's picture and in a timed sequence, all of the programs with photos of each group next to the listing. There was a warmth and familiarity about it.

By Maurice Zeldman at December 12, 2005 4:26 PM


Hi Maurice and John,

Thanks for your comments; please continue to let us know what you think about our website and program. Maurice, all of our programs from previous years are still available online. We have not, however, organized our show by years but instead by artist. You can't then search for programs by the year that they were broadcast, but if you type in the name of a favorite ensemble in the 'search' field, all of their performances (including those from the older website) will turn up. You can also click on 'Guests' and browse by alphabetical listing. We redesigned the website to make it more user-friendly and to give it a cleaner organization so if you think of anything else that would help, please let us know!

Thanks for writing,

By Suzanne Schaffer at December 13, 2005 11:34 AM


Actually, you can find the programs by date by clicking on the "Programs" menu. 2005 is the default, but if you look there are selections for pages from other years.

For example, you can find 2004 here:


And 2003 here:

Not all shows have been converted to the new format yet but we are working on it.

By Preston Wright at December 14, 2005 8:58 AM


I'm afraid I can't disagree more with John Nelson. I found this group one of the most brilliant and certainly the wittiest you've had on in a long time. Quite amazing. I didn't want the program to end. I just wish your show was longer -- when I was a young girl my family and I would listen to the two hour version each Sunday morning reading the paper, our only time in one place all week. THank you for this stunning string quartet. I hope they come back.

By Erika at December 17, 2005 9:00 AM