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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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February 15, 2006

Green & White

It's fitting that Seattle's nickname is the "Emerald City"—it's always felt foreign, even a little magical to me. When my father first took me there as a kid on a business trip, I remember even then being charmed by its sea air and the lime-green moss along every crevice and rooftop. Years later I grew to associate Seattle with coffee (of course) and Nirvana (whose music still moves and unsettles me), but it never lost the charisma of that first impression. So when after months of planning we brought Saint Paul Sunday to Seattle for a live event co-hosted by KING-FM, I hoped I'd rediscover the city I loved from childhood and my college years.

Happily, I did, and working with the Seattle Chamber Players and Seattle Pro Musica only deepened my ties to their hometown and its people. It's quite rare for us to mount any live event with an audience for later national broadcast. Given our recording standards for both music and conversation, doing so introduces vastly more variables into an already demanding process. And somehow, the Seattle Chamber Players convinced us to let them perform an all-Baltic program of four separate set-ups, the last which included a 40-voiced choir! Then too, the morning of the performance I looked out my window to see white—the first snow Seattle had seen in several years. Would anyone show up?

As you can hear, not only did they show up in capacity numbers, but they responded to the musicians' beautiful performances and to Bill with sincere warmth and engagement. And the Seattle Chamber Players and their friends—in perfect synch with the cosmopolitanism of the port city whose name they bear—took all of us through new musical landscapes. How was the journey for you?

Posted by Vaughn Ormseth at February 15, 2006 2:23 PM



I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy and appreciate Saint Paul Sunday each Sunday at Noon EST on Dayton Public Radio, WDPR-FM, Dayton Ohio. I'll keep listening! THANKS...

By William Surber at February 15, 2006 11:43 PM


I am a music teacher and i catch your program when I can. I absolutely love the surprise of being captured by music I have never heard before. I always teach my students that music can take you to another place, and that's what P?teris Vasks' Plainscapes did to me. THANKS!

I listen to SPSM on KFSK in Petersburg, Alaska.

By Matt Lenhard at February 19, 2006 1:00 PM


Bravo! The program was brilliant in every respect; both in the choice of all the music and it's execution!! I was even happy with just how enthusiastically appreciative the audience was. But the music was stunning. I genuinely liked it all except "Architectonics 7". I can see why both "A Tre" and " Plainscapes" were reserved for the end of the concert because they were just so very gorgeous and stunning I was moved to tears! I was surprised I actually recognized both pieces. I'm not sure where I'd heard "A Tre" before, but quite sure I'd heard "Plainscapes" once before in a filmscore. However, THIS time it moved me to tears. Vinca K. Renner

By vinca k renner at February 19, 2006 1:11 PM


I listened to the program on 2/19 on Chicago WFMT. I am not too familiar with "Baltic country" music and must say I thoroughly enjoyed all selections....especially the playing of Laura DeLuca. As a clarinet player myself I am always searching for new sounds and this program certainly fulfilled that.

By Bob Draznik at February 19, 2006 4:55 PM


I now understand why music from the Baltics has largely remained there. Musical attempts this unimaginative, dull, and insipid at least serve to make us appreciate the greater music in our midst. There is a word coined for this type of stuff: muzak.

John Niesyn

By John Niesyn at February 19, 2006 9:42 PM


Thank you for all of these wonderful comments. I think it's a testament to great music that it can elicit such passionate, polarized responses. When I first heard these pieces, I felt much the same way as Matt, I loved the surprise of "being captured by music I had never heard before." I think that the whole program was challenging music. Would I listen to, say, "A Tre" on constant repeat on an iPod? Probably not. But did "A Tre" feel like a breath of fresh air and did I appreciate it both viscerally and academically? Absolutely.

By Suzanne Schaffer at February 21, 2006 3:54 PM


Fantastic!! This show was the opposite of what John Neisyn above calls muzak - ie the endless Baroque elevator music our station usually plays. It proved how beautiful music of the present can be when so well played and well chosen. As I looked out through icicles at the mountains near our home, A Tre gave me warm chills. I appreciated the Seattle memories also, they jogged free some recollections of my first trip to that part of the world a decade ago when I was into grunge (and a lot of other things I won't mention here). :-) THANK YOU for one of the best ever. The best?

By Ethan at February 22, 2006 6:43 PM


As it did on its first broadcast, this program clearly touched a chord for people around the country, which is deeply gratifying. And to John Niesyn's point, which I think is valid: I do think the music performed on this program requires a different kind of listening, a re-tuning or suspension of our usual expectations for classical music.

By Vaughn Ormseth at February 23, 2006 9:42 AM


I've been listening to your program for some years now, and this past Sunday's show was absolutely one of the most fantastic. At the end of the last piece, by PÁteris Vasks, I was positively transported.

Right now I am seeking a recording of it, if such a thing exists. I can't thank you enough for this particular program, it was cathartic.

Bravo to St.Paul Sunday!


By Lynn Bayley at February 23, 2006 11:01 AM


Dear Lynn (and others interested in a recording of Pēteris Vasks's Plainscapes): Thanks for your warm comments! I've heard from Paul Taub of the Seattle Chamber Players that the ensemble plans to record Plainscapes on their next CD. For more information, or to contact either the Seattle Chamber Players or Seattle Pro Musica, follow the links above.

By Vaughn Ormseth at February 23, 2006 12:13 PM


Ecstatic music. More programs like this please!!

By DOwnie at March 18, 2006 2:35 PM