As part of our Call to Mind initiative, classical host Steve Seel shares how music is one of the greatest resources we have in sustaining -- or mending -- our personal mental health. In Part 2, we need music more than ever, he says, to help us deal with today's news cycle.
The electric violin has come a long way since its days as a staple of progressive rock and jazz fusion, when it very much <i>sounded</i> electric. This week on Extra Eclectic, you'll hear an electric violin as the featured solo instrument in a new work by Nico Muhly, and you just might mistake it for a real acoustic instrument. Steve Seel also features music by Jennifer Higdon, Gabriel Yared, Steve Reich, and much more.
As part of our Call to Mind initiative, classical host Steve Seel shares how music is one of the greatest resources we have in sustaining -- or mending -- our personal mental health. Because he's surrounded by amazing and profound music on a daily basis, he's in a unique position to understand how classical music is a lifeline to mental health.
When you hear some of the selections on this week's show, you won't be surprised that their composers have received so much praise for their work. Jennifer Higdon has a devoted following and avid fanbase, and her work "blue cathedral" is always a gorgeous show stopper. We'll also hear a bouncy and infectious chamber music piece by Kenneth Fuchs, who's music has received four Grammy nominations and one Grammy award so far, as well as Jonny Greenwood's score to the film "There Will Be Blood," plus music by Sarah Kirkland Snider, Caleb Burhans, and more.
John Adams' early work "Shaker Loops" helped put him on the map - a piece referencing both the "shaking and trembling" of the worship practices of this American religious sect and the act of "looping" a musical phrase (usually by mechanical means, such as with a tape recorder) to create a repeating motif. Steve features Adams' seminal work as the centerpiece of an hour of works inspired by American folk traditions and musical idioms, such as Bryce Dessner's "Murder Ballads" and Carl Schimmel's "Roadshow for Otto." In the second hour, it's a roundup of contemplative pieces from Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Julia Kent, Michael Kurth and others.
This week Steve Seel features artists who whose careers are unique enough to make classification pretty tricky. Jazz pianists Keith Jarrett and Vijay Iyer show off some of their compositions for classical strings, Steve Tibbetts plays his impressionistic solo guitar music, and we'll also hear genre-hopping works by Claude Bolling, Terry Riley, and Caleb Burhans.
Composer Michael Kurth took up the bass in the fourth grade. One of his early inspirations was Donald "Duck" Dunn of Booker T. & The MGs, the Stax Records studio band that backed up Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Sam and Dave. Today, he's not only a double bassist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, but a composer as well -- and Steve plays one of his compositions whose title was inspired by a piece of graffiti art he spied on the way to work. In the second hour, it's a survey of composers from non-Western countries, such as Syria (Kinan Azmeh and Dia Succari) and Georgia (Giya Kancheli).
The language and instruments of rock increasingly play a part in new classical music, to the point where some classically-trained musicians are making music that wouldn't be out of place at all on a rock record. And yet, the experience of such music lends itself not to the rock club, but to more classically-oriented spaces like theaters or concert halls. This week Steve plays some examples - from Caleb Burhans' achingly gorgeous "A Moment for Jason Molina" to music by Aidan O'Rourke, Wim Mertens, Howard Skempton and more.