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  • Metropolitan United Church 468 Wellington Street London, ON, N6A 3P8 Canada (map)


Metropolitan United Church

Wallace Halladay, Saxophone Soloist | Jennifer Enns-Modolo, Mezzo-soprano | 
Eric Paetkau, Conductor

Obsession is a powerful state of mind, one that takes control of and inspires great music. Prokofiev couldn’t stop thinking about perfection in his Symphony No. 1. The melody of Ravel’s Bolero haunted him every waking hour. Schubert’s Gretchen relentlessly spins the wheel waiting for her love. And, in Scott Good’s virtuosic saxophone concerto with soloist Wallace Halladay, Babbitt worries continuously about where he belongs.

Sergei Prokofiev, Symphony No. 1, Op. 25
Franz Schubert, Gretchen am Spinnrade, Op. 2, D118
Gustav Mahler, Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen
Maurice Ravel, Bolero
Scott Good, Babbitt (Saxophone Concerto)

Ticket prices: $60/$47/$17

PRE-CONCERT TALK: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines obsessions as “recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges or images that are experienced … as intrusive, unwanted, and … cause marked anxiety or distress.” Obsessions are typically not desirable things to have, especially in this clinical sense of the term, but they are also sometimes understood as an aesthetic ideal. An artist with an obsession is not debilitated, but inspired.

Interestingly, the histories of the clinical and artistic aspects of obsession are actually intertwined, and arguably, this intertwining has followed us to the present day. In this lecture, we’ll explore some of the history of the concept of obsession and its incorporation into Romantic aesthetics, as well as some related contemporary scientific research on “earworms” (music that gets stuck in your head) and the psychology of musical repetition. Following this, the composer Scott Good — whose saxophone concerto Babbitt will be performed by the Symphonia this evening — will join us for a discussion of obsession in his own work.

Beginning at 6:30 at Metropolitan United Church.


Gold Concert Sponsor

Earlier Event: April 13
Romantic Voyages
Later Event: September 27
Culture Days Open Rehearsal