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From Baroque music to Latin tango

Obsessions String Quartet plays popular music through the centuries
0911 Music - Obsessions String Quartet - ©Delbert+Kostura-2019+copy
Obsessions String Quartet will share their artistry at St. Albert Centre on Sunday, Nov. 10. Clockwise from left to right they are St. Albert's Ronda Metszies, Joanna Ciapka-Sangster, Leanne Maitland and Yue Deng. SUPPLIED/Photo


Take 10, Classical Music at Noon

Obsessions String Quartet

St. Albert Chamber Music Society

Sunday, Nov. 10, at 12 p.m.

St. Albert Centre Mall

375 St. Albert Trail

Admission: Free


Are you a music lover who cringes at the idea of attending a chamber music concert?

"Oh no, not classical music," you say.

It so happens Ronda Metszies, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra cellist, advances a theory that upends our stereotypical belief of classical music.

“I generally think classical music shot itself in the foot during the '30s, '40s and '50s. It made going to a concert akin to going to church. It was very formal and it alienated a lot of people,” said Metszies.

“The thing about classical music is that it is the ultimate popular music. We keep playing and re-orchestrating music played 250 years ago. To me, that shows the popularity of music – music that originally got people grooving.”

The St. Albert cellist makes a compelling case. She notes sweeping orchestral scores that once filled palaces, churches and salons are nowadays universally incorporated as background music in film scores, television shows, animation and commercials.

As a member of the combustible Obsessions String Quartet, Metszies gives chamber music a fiery flow and brings it to the front lines in all its glorious moods and reflections.

In a special treat for local audiences, the all-women ensemble closes St. Albert Chamber Music Society’s three-part pop-up series. Take 10, Classical Music at Noon is a free recital on Sunday, Nov. 10, at St. Albert Centre Mall that promises to break barriers associated with chamber music.

Joining Metszies are three internationally renowned classical musicians – violist Leanne Maitland as well as violinists Joanna Ciapka-Sangster and Yue Deng.

Given the abundance of chamber music options, both grand and grassroots, Obsessions defines itself as a classical-jazz fusion playing accessible music.

“Our repertoire is pretty broad in that it will appeal to a broad range of people. We’re going to start with classical and then jump to opera excerpts. We will play some tango which is our happy place, and if we have time, we’ll pop in some jazz,” Metszies said.

The quartet starts in the Baroque period with Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, an easily recognizable kaleidoscopic range of colours and shades, followed by Italian composer Pietro Mascagni’s soaring Cavalleria Rusticana.

After a performance of Bizet’s famous Carmen song Habanera, the ensemble plays Astor Piazzolla’s sultry tangos.

“Some will be soulful and slow, others are fast and full of beans. The most well known is Libertango. We’d also like to venture into some of Gershwin’s preludes and we may pop in some pop music.”

“We’ll start early and go through time.”

The one-hour recital starts at 12 p.m. and listeners are welcome to come, listen and leave at their pleasure.

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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