Extracultural is the first symphony by the Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas. It is scored for a symphony orchestra and an ensemble (voice, piano, electronics and strings). The piece consists of four main movements: Higher Energy, Sacred Unreligious Soul, Transitory, Sanctifaction and eight smaller episodes: Introduction, Contemporary Music, Modulation 1, Modulation 2, Pre–Sanctifaction, Bridge X, Cadenza. The duration of the piece is approximately 42 minutes.
The birth of the Extracultural was initiated by a conductor and Gediminas' friend Kristjan Järvi who programs and performs his music regularly. The piece was commissioned by MDR orchestra and Vilnius Festival. Extracultural is also not the first time Järvi has had a significant impact on the appearance of new music by Gelgotas, including Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean for a symphony orchestra (2012) and Mountains. Waters. (Freedom) for a symphony orchestra (2015).
The world premiere of Extracultural took place at the prestigious Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig, on the 17th of January 2015 and has culminated with standing ovations and great reviews. The first performance in Lithuania was during the opening gala of the XIXth International Vilnius Festival. Both of the premieres were conducted by Kristjan Järvi. They were performed by the MDR Radio Orchestra in Leipzig, where Järvi is the artistic director and chief conductor, and by the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra in Vilnius. Gelgotas' ensemble NICO performed in both premieres with the composer himself on stage.
Extracultural is inspired by a multi-cultural mixture of influences. It is possible to hear intonations of the old cultures, western classical music tradition and new music or so called avant-garde composing techniques. Meanwhile there is a strong presence of the modern culture and a feel of influences from genres especially popular today, such as rap, RnB or others, creating surprising extremes. Very different timbers are used to confront. For example baroque cembalo and twenty first century electronic samples are confronted there in the piece, creating a fresh, modern and unheard sound and musical style, the composer explains.
This provoking mixture of influences expresses the composers vision to create a tone in the piece, that would be difficult to be described in any other one word or framed genre description then Extracultural.
‘Extracultural is about things and processes which rest outside the perception or acknowledgement of given culture’, says Gelgotas. This is expressed throughout lyrics of the piece also written by the composer. The lyric are rapped by a member of the ensemble and go as following: ‘Please do not judge what You are hearing, there is a feeling now Your appetite for culture grows. So appreciated logic now keeps poisoning the earth, but people love the form, now people love the form’. The other lyrics ‘homophonic, polyphonic, out of perception, extracultural’ are repeated a couple of times throughout the piece and are used as an artistic way to describe the musical material that forms the symphony.Gelgotas – Järvi artistic collaboration began in 2011. Then Gelgotas was requested to arrange his piece Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean for symphony orchestra. The arrangement was to become a part of the repertoire of the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic Orchestra lead by Järvi. Since its premiere in August 2012 at the Berlin Konzerthaus (Young Euro Classics Festival) Järvi has conducted the piece sixteen times in many prestigious concert halls and festivals all over the Europe, including Schlewig – Holstein, Beethovefest and others. Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic Orchestra has performed the piece for fourteen times making Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean its signature piece. BSYP Orchestra's recording of the work was released by Naive Classique label and is available for download on iTunes since the 6th of April 2015. Never Ignore the Cosmic Ocean has also been recorded for Mezzo TV broadcasting and on the 1st of September 2014 broadcasted by eight classical music radio stations all throughout Germany. On the 12th of September 2015 Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is premiering a brand new piece by Gelgotas. The new commission was initiated by Järvi and commissioned by the prestigious Swiss company The Orpheum Foundation. The premiere is taking place at the world-renowned Leipzig Tonhalle concert hall.