The spiritual energy of light, the earth and sun, and natural flora are explored in this week's program. Steve Seel features works ranging from Terry Riley's "Sun Rings: One Earth, One People, One Love," and Johann Johannson's magnificent "A Pile of Dust" to John Cage's "In a Landscape" and not one but two live recordings from the 2019 BBC Proms, including Alexia Stone's "Earthward," featuring the choral group Voces8.
We hear from a host of classical mavericks and innovators this time out, including Harry Partch, a firebrand free-thinker who devised and built his own instruments to play his microtonal music. Steve also features Meredith Monk, Terry Riley, and both Colin McPhee and Steve Reich, two composers who were influenced by the sound of Balinese Gamelan in developing their own unique styles.
We travel to the top, and the bottom, of the other side of the world on this week's show, with new classical music from a couple of exciting Australian composers in the first hour of the program, and then for hour two, we're off to Finland, with music by Lorri Porra -- the great grandson of Jean Sibelius -- and then Estonia, with sounds from Arvo Part and Erkki-Sven Tuur. Bill Morelock guest hosts.
The term "outsider art" usually refers to artists and performers who exist outside the mainstream of their chosen fields, sometimes self-taught, but always unapologetically independent. Steve Seel showcases composers who fit the term, but who also represent today's classical environment in general, where fewer rules apply than ever. You'll hear the vocal music of Meredith Monk, as well as the orchestral movie scoring of rocker and Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, and a "mini symphony" by the man who called himself Moondog.
Somber and meditative music makes for a contemplative edition of Extra Eclectic this week. Steve Seel features bracing music by Bryce Dessner, whose <i>Aheym</i> (a Yiddish word meaning "homeword") describes his memories of learning about his Jewish ancestry in his youth. Steve also features powerful works by New York classical innovator Michael Gordon, maverick composer/improviser Ingram Marshall, and much, much more.
A century ago, Debussy showed us that the sea was a subject with infinite possibilities for musical exploration. While in some ways <i>La Mer</i> is still the quintessential piece of music about water, it actually laid the groundwork for many composers to go exploring above and below the waves (and along its shores) in the years since. In conjunction with MPR's observation of Water Month, Steve features water-themed works by John Luther Adams, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Kate Moore, and many others.
On this eve of Independence Day, contemporary American composers are the focus - with some nods to uniquely American subject matter, too. We'll hear selections including John Adams' opera "Doctor Atomic" about the scientists who worked at Los Alamos on the first atomic bomb, and Stanley Grill's "American Landscapes," which the composer describes as being about the "idealized" America we hold in our imaginations. Plus, works from Missy Mazzoli, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and many others. Valerie Kahler guest hosts.
It's been a staple of classical music for centuries: writing a set of variations on a theme by <i>another</i> composer. We'll hear some contemporary examples, including Thomas Canning's "Variations on a Hymn Tune by Justin Morgan," Noam Sivan's "Improvisations on Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring," and even a "Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno" by Timo Andres - a timely inclusion given this week's announcement that Eno has had an asteroid named in his honor.