I was enchanted to meet you: Listeso String Quartet impresses with Taylor Swift music



The symphony played Swift’s long-loved hits, like “Shake it Off,” and also more recent fan favorites such as “Invisible String.”

Candles scattered on the stage illuminate the dark Temple. The concave ceiling carries the slight echo of a violin string plucking. During the day this sacred space is used for prayer; for the next hour only the most loyal Taylor Swift fans will occupy it.

The Listeso String Quartet performed “Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift” on Feb. 24 at Temple Ohabei Shalom. They played 13 songs from many of Swift’s albums on two violins, a viola and a cello.

It’s difficult to describe the moment I realized the symphony was not merely “playing” Swift’s music, but rather living through it. They perfectly encapsulated the feeling someone gets when they first listen to a song they know they will play on repeat for a very long time.

I am proud to say I have listened to Swift’s music frequently, if not daily, over the past several years. I never expected to relive hearing my favorite songs for the first time, as that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. With each gesture of the violin bow, I relearned the songs I truly love, not from an Apple Music streamer’s perspective, but as an active listener in the orchestration of the song itself. It felt like a rare opportunity to absorb and solely focus on the music.

The songs were performed on two violins, a viola and a cello. (AUDREY GARON/SAGAMORE STAFF)

The symphony played Swift’s long-loved hits, like “Shake it Off,” and also more recent fan favorites such as “Invisible String.” The elegance of the symphony’s harmonies fostered a vivid image of Swift’s voice whispering, “And isn’t it so pretty to think all along there was some invisible string tying you to me?”

My other favorite performances were “Cardigan” and “Enchanted.” I did not recognize “Cardigan” until the powerful chorus hit. The first part of the song usually emphasizes Swift’s lyrics, but with this instrumental performance, I could appreciate the many pieces and layers in the music itself. Honestly, if the entire concert had just been covers of “folklore” I would have been delighted.

In reality, the voices of those sitting around me hindered my peace and, above all else, my ability to hear the performance. To be fair, the symphony encouraged members of the audience to sing along and dance. At times this eagerness made me feel like I was truly part of something, but some people took it too far. For example, someone sitting in the row behind me decided to ruin “I Knew You Were Trouble” by making “baaa” sheep noises every few seconds while snapping.

Initially, audience members were instructed not to take any photos or videos. They changed this rule half-way through the set list and allowed pictures. Constant flashes from phone cameras and people fumbling to dim their brightness frustrated me. While these memories will be immortalized in their camera rolls forever, they lost a valuable opportunity to witness an expert performance.

Although audience members’ singing sometimes diverted attention away from the concert, their enthusiasm along with the masterful string players ensured I will remember this night all too well.

See the Listeso String Quartet perform again on March 24.