Extra Eclectic

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Composer Peteris Vasks.

Extra Eclectic: Peteris Vasks' "Distant Light"

"For most people today, the spiritual dimension has been lost. My intention is to provide food for the soul, and this is what I preach in my works," says Latvian composer Peteris Vasks. His Violin Concerto, "Distant Light," provides ample food for the soul on this week's program. Steve Seel also features spiritual-themed works from Terry Riley ("Sun Rings: One Earth, One People, One Love") and James Wilson ("The Green Fuse"), and music by Evan Ziporyn, Daniel Wohl, and Sarah Kirkland Snider.

Composer and guitarist Bryce Dessner.

Extra Eclectic: Bryce Dessner's Double Piano Concerto

From the classic 20th-century minimalism of Steve Reich's "Pulse" and the electronica-tinged "Scale of Volitility" by Emilie Levianaise-Farrouch, to Bryce Dessner's dramatic, sweeping "Concerto for Two Pianos" written for Katia and Marielle Labeque, Steve Seel has the gamut of sounds from minimalism to "maximal-ism" mapped out on this week's program. Steve also features works by Keith Jarrett, John Cage, Lou Harrison, Terry Riley, and more.

Bela Fleck in Nashville

Extra Eclectic: Bela Fleck's "Juno Concerto"

If you think that a banjo can't play with a symphony orchestra, don't tell banjo great Bela Fleck. In fact, Fleck's "Juno Concerto" is the second time he's written a concerto for banjo and orchestra. Steve Seel plays Fleck's amazing work on this week's program. In the second hour, it's an array of contemplative modern works, from Arvo Part, Georgs Pelecis, and an award winning composer who hails from the Canadian Northwest Territories, Carmen Braden.

Estonian composer Arvo Part

Extra Eclectic: Arvo Part's "Blank Slate"

In 1968, Arvo Part essentially went dark. He stopped composing for several years as he entered a period of, as he called it, "artistic reorientation." When he re-emerged, he had a completely new style. One of the major works he created during this time was one that had a particularly appropriate title for him -- Tabula Rasa, or "blank slate." Steve Seel shares it on this week's program, in addition to some other works from the Baltic region, including Estonia's Erkki-Sven Tuur and Latvia's Peteris Vasks.

Eric Whitacre Singers perform in St. Paul

Extra Eclectic: All Is Quiet

This week's edition of Extra Eclectic falls on Christmas night, and Steve Seel has an all Christmas-themed two hours of 20th and 21st century music in store for us -- in a program that promises plenty of musical discovery while keeping with the perfect atmosphere you're looking for to wind down the holiday. Tune in for selections on yuletide themes by Alan Hovhaness, Ola Gjelo, Chilly Gonzalez, Stephen Paulus, Eric Whitacre, and much much more.

Gaelynn Lea

Extra Eclectic: The Winter Solstice

As we approach the winter solstice this week, Steve Seel has music in a chilly mood this time ... or is it a warm one? Bundle up and enjoy 20th and 21st century classical music on wintry themes from Johann Johannssen, Alan Hovhanness and Ola Gjelo, as well as cellist Maya Beiser's ethereal rendering of the largo from Vivaldi's Winter concerto and Minnesota violinist Gaelynn Lea's duet with her looping pedal in a beautiful rendition of "O Come O Come Emmanuel."


Extra Eclectic: Strings and Seasons

Modern music for strings is the first order of business on this week's program: Steve Seel brings us an hour of 20th and 21st century works for string ensembles big and small -- from Steve Reich's "Duet" for two violins to Michael Tippett's "Concerto for Double String Orchestra," a piece from the 1930s which sounds like it could have been written yesterday. For the second hour, Steve plays a selection of works loosely inspired by the shorter days and cooler temperatures this time of year.

Candles burning in the dark.

Extra Eclectic: Sounds of the Spirit

There's a spiritual dimension to the works Steve Seel has for us on this edition of Extra Eclectic. Arvo Part's "Fur Alina," Jennifer Higdon's "Blue Cathedral," and John Luther Adams' "Canticles of the Holy Wind" are among the compositions that create an atmosphere of reverence among the contemporary sounds on the first hour of the program. In the second hour, Steve features David Kirkland Garner's "Dark Holler," a work exploring the sounds and atmospheres of the rural American south.

Danny Elfman

Extra Eclectic: Danny Elfman Writes a Violin Concerto

Danny Elfman has written over 100 film and TV scores, from Tim Burton's Batman to the theme from The Simpsons. He says that from time to time, however, he finds that he has to write orchestral music totally free from the influence of film, in order to "keep my sanity" -- a process he says he finds "incredibly liberating and relieving." His latest is his Violin Concerto, "Eleven Eleven," and it's featured on this week's show. Ward Jacobsen guest hosts.

Mandolinist Avi Avital.

Extra Eclectic: Avi Avital et. al.

Avi Avital is an Israeli mandolinist, best known for his renditions of well-known Baroque and folk music, much of which was originally written for other instruments. Just about all those things are defied however in the work Steve features this week - a new work by David Bruce, called "Cymbeline," in which the composer says the mandolin conveys "the warmth of the sun." Steve also features two works by Steve Reich, as well as pieces by Missy Mazzoli, Colin Stetson, and more.

Composer Christopher Rouse.

Extra Eclectic: Honoring Christopher Rouse

Composer Christopher Rouse died on Saturday at the age of 70 after a battle with cancer. Rouse once said, "I don't think it matters whether a piece is complex or simple, whether it's tonal or atonal or whatever ... That's not nearly as significant as whether it communicates something meaningful to a listener." Steve honors his life and career with an airing of his work, "Supplica." That plus music of John Adams, Toru Takamitsu, and more on this week's program.