When John Adams decided to write a saxophone concerto, he first listened to some that previous composers had written, but he found that they didn't speak to him. Instead, he decided he'd get out his favorite jazz records for inspiration - from Charlie Parker and Eric Dophy to Wayne Shorter. The result was a concerto that was influenced more by jazz than classical music. Steve plays Adams' work and some others that have prominent rhythmic elements or "dance" themes in this week's episode (beginning the program with a piece by Andre Previn, who died this week at the age of 89).
Steve Seel showcases the play between light and shadow, with contemporary classical works on those themes. Nocturnes and night travels contrast with works like "The Light" by Philip Glass, and he's even got a piece called "Shadow Light" by Elena Rhuer that touches on both ideas. Plus, does the phrase "desert island" conjure up images of sunlight and palm trees in your imagination? Well, what does it feel like to be stranded on a desert island ... at night? Erkki-Sven Tuur's "Insula Deserta" suggests what it might be like to be shipwrecked after the sun goes down.
Oftentimes, when the air is chilly, the sky is clear. And so it can be possible to enjoy some good star-gazing ... as long as your skin can take the cold. On this episode, Steve Seel features modern classical works on themes of stars and heavenly observation ... from "Polaris" by Thomas Ades to Joel Pucket's "The Shadow of Sirius" to the gorgeous "Musica Celestis" by Aaron Jay Kernis and more. In the second hour, Steve explores new classical works on the subject of love, in honor of Valentine's Day.
Ever listened to the music in a restaurant and wondered, 'Who picked this?' Musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto certainly has. Read more about the history and concept of what makes for good 'dinner music.'
Brian Eno made his primary fame in rock music, but to consider him simply a "rock producer" is one of the biggest mistakes you could make. His influence on subsequent generations of musical free-thinkers in classical, jazz, electronic, and avant-garde music has been incalculable.
Cellist Maya Beiser's passion for staking out new territory in classical music is peerless in the equal respect she gives all the musical genres she brings into her fold. Classical host Steve Seel talked with Beiser about her new CD, 'TranceClassical,' which includes some adventurous interpretations of Bach, rock and more.
'For me, a kid who was into the disparate and non-converging worlds of rock and classical music, Steve Reich represented a merging of practically everything that I loved,' writes classical host Steve Seel. As Steve Reich turns 80, Seel writes about Reich's influence on himself and ' legions upon legions of musical grandchildren.'
Steven Mackey was a virtuosic electric guitarist who couldn't read music -- until he was transformed on hearing a Beethoven string quartet. Now hailed as one of modern classical's most exciting composers, Mackey spoke to Steve Seel ahead of the world premiere of Mackey's 'Orpheus Unsung'.
Composer Derek Bermel boasts an impressive list of musical inspirations, making him one of today's most celebrated modern composers. Bermel spoke to Classical MPR's Steve Seel ahead of their Music in the Making conversation at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul on Wednesday, Jan. 20.