Apartment House are performing at the Borealis Festival
in Bergen next week, with performances of music by Kunsu Shim, Helmut Oehring/Iris ter Schiphorst and a multitude of short pieces by many different composers, should be fun!
Finally, I have got my hands on the score and parts of String Quartet No. 1 by Charles Mingus. The quartet has a part for female voice, the text is a poem by Frank O’Hara and I am very excited at the prospect of working on this piece. It was written in about 1970 and is a rarity!
And so.. been some time, but new projects loom and a tasty one being Apartment House performing my new Robert Schumann project in Dusseldorf in June. Entitled Schumann: Entropic Song Meditations I am very excited at the prospect of de-constructing his music, which I love.
Here is a daguerreotype of Bob looking happy.
Recently, I have been continuing my Lithuanian folk music studies and in one of my books came across a marvellous foto of a Lithuanian lady recording a folk song.
A few months ago I received my kanklės
, a Lithuanian instrument. Mine is a simple 5 string one for playing Sutartinės, and originates from Northeastern Aukštaitija.
I had it made specially low, must be the cello in me..., about 1 octave below middle C, with a simple pentatonic tuning. The joy is I can tune it microtonally. Here is a clip of me playing an original transcription of a sutartine entitled 2 green birches
The original recording was made by Jonas Plepas
Well, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival came and went, we played our Braxton programme (and in Holland at November Music).
I love playing Braxton and Frank’s new work 2TLG (work that title out?), was beautiful. Christian Wolff’s music also fitted really well in the context. The joy of playing Braxton is that one plays the notes but you also have to improvise around those notes and with the pianist (Philip Thomas) also inserting a completely different Braxton piece, things can get complicated! But, the ‘ghost trance’ language works, and creates very good music.
The Great Gratkowski
Pianist Philip Thomas proves that 70’s fashion is still alive and well..........
In March 2010 we are performing at the Borealis Festival in Bergen.
The main work is by Helmut Oehring
and Iris ter Schiphorst
entitled Rumgammeln + Warten (loosely translated as “bumming around and hanging about” I believe. I got to know both of them about 10 years and Apartment House made some of the first performances of their music in the UK. They used to collaborate, but have since gone their separate ways. Individually their work is striking, visceral and quite unique.
© Hagen Klennert
A splendid photo of the Apartment House XXX Live_Nude_Girls!!! crew after our performance at the Ultima Festival.
I am not the one in the pink dress, that is Jennifer Walshe, the composer/performer.
Terribly pleasant review of our Peter Garland String Quartet CD on Cold Blue.Peter Garland Review
Frank (Gratkowski) just sent me a link to a youtube video of Braxton talking about his ‘ghost trance
’ music. Very interesting, as we are playing some in November.
Here’s a foto by Vytautas Balcytis, one of my favourite fotografers, who also just happens to be Lithuanian.......
Composer Laurence Crane
during the filming of Arc
by Jayne Parker. Laurence composed Raimondas Rumsas
which is the work for cello I play in the film. I stole this foto from John Lely
, who did the sound recording. Laurence has composed several pieces for Apartment House, as has John Lely.
A recent review of our Peter Garland CD out on Cold Blue Records
."So, Henry Cowell begat Lou Harrison and Harrison begat Peter Garland, in a manner of speaking. Each of them has been influenced by the culture, and in particular the musics, of the Pacific region, but to differing degrees. Garland's inheritance is so rich that he treats it selectively and, like Harrison and Cowell, with respect though not with undue reverence, in that the aim is to make something new of 'found' musical material as its brought into new cultural contexts. 'New' is the keyword in the previous sentence. Garland is a restless, nomadic and often (one senses) lonely individual whose work makes reference to the musics of the distant and sometimes not-so-distant lands he's visited, but his compositions exist entirely on their own terms and without a hint of pastiche or the uncomfortable feeling that cultural plunder is afoot. The high point of his career so far, The Days Run Away (Tzadik), a CD of minimalist solo piano compositions is almost heartbreakingly beautiful without being pretty or sentimental, and the String Quartets run a close second to it. Played by members of the celebrated English new music ensemble Apartment House, under the direction of cellist Anton Lukoszevieze, the two quartets, composed in New Mexico (1986) and Japan (1994), are elegantly constructed but with an occasional anxious or querulous edge, as though Garland found the harmonies curdling under his pen." —Brian Marley, Signal to Noise
Apartment House Barbie opera performance at Ultima Festival in Oslo was a big success. The audience seemed very intrigued and taken with it. I think it was one of our best performances
and the dolls were good too...........
I bumped into my good friend Sven Lyder-Kahrs
and his wonderful artist wife Elisabeth Norseng
. Sven is a composer of exquisite, sensitive and poetic compositions. I have played and recorded his cello solo work and a cello duo that he composed for myself and Pierre Strauch. I have commissioned him for a new ensemble work for Apartment House which will be premiered some time in the future. Both he and Elisabeth are Norwegian giants, and make small fragile works. I like this.
Well, here we go again, we play Jennifer Walshe’s doll opera at the Ultima Festival
, Oslo, 14th September.
We have played this work many times all over Europe and now a new DVD
is on release.
It is a great piece, at the beginning the audience giggles (especially Japanese people for some reason?),
but gradually, as the action unfolds they go quiet as the subtle deconstruction of Barbie dolls begins....
On a different note, here is a scan of an image from an old 1930’s manual of physical education that I have in my possession.
It reminds me of Yves Klein’s fake foto of himself diving out of a window. My diver is also blue, like a cyanotype and also Klein’s
favourite colour was blue, as in International Klein Blue. Klein was an amazing artist, shame he died young. A black belt at judo he also
composed a Monotone Symphony in 1949, which is beautiful, and something I would like to play one day. Cheaper than La Monte Young anyway.......
’s 3 films of me playing compositions by Sylvano Bussotti, Laurence Crane and Georges Aperghis are currently showing at Kettle’s Yard Gallery
, Cambridge until 27th September.
Check them out (there are 2 clips on this site on my page) and the exhibition is wonderful too. Jayne is an amazing film maker and I have had the privilege to collaborate with her on 7 films now.
Here is a clip of an improvisation the Apartment House ‘Braxton’ quartet did recently in Norwich, with Frank Gratkowski, Philip Thomas, Alan Thomas and Anton.Improv-Norwich
Here is a fotogram from 2005 by Anton, also an improvisation.
I just received a box of new dvds featuring XXX Live_Nude_Girls!!! an experimental Barbie doll opera by the Irish composer Jennifer Walshe
, played by Apartment House. You can see images from it on other pages on this site and it is available from Mere Records
Jennifer is a multi-talented artist and very much a renaissance lady. Her art works are amazing and she is a very fine vocal performer too. What I like about her is that she is always questing and seeking to evolve her work into different areas of experience. There is humour, intricacy and also a savage sense of tragedy, underlining the fragility of the human condition. One of my favourite pieces is entitled Here we are now
for voice, cello, trombone and percussion. I did it with her a few years ago in Donaueschingen. It has a claustrophobic domestic feel, redolent of gray afternoons, a flickering tv and people arguing next door. Marvellous.here we are now
More Braxton, today a score page example. In this version by Apartment House the quartet plays as a unison, clef choice is free. Note the graphic elements and the curious geometric anotations. This piece we combine with another composition by Braxton and re-structure according to available parts from other points in the piece.
Sounds cool too.Anthony Braxton
Composition #322 example
Today, studying scores and recordings by enigmatic Lithuanian composer Antanas Rekašius,
I am filled with nascent joy. I am discovering what a wonderful composer he was. His compositions
are totally honest and filled with bold, direct and sonically arresting gestures. It is very gestural music and
Rekašius takes no prisoners, sounds can bludgeon each other through jagged landscapes of sonic
juxtapositions. Irony can seem an overwhelmingly prevalent sensation and then the music clears and wonderful
As an adult he lived through 50 years of a Soviet controlled Lithuania, and on to see liberation and a newly independent Lithuania.
Tragically, he committed suicide, at the age of 75, scraping an existence in dire poverty, according to all accounts.
But, he left a large corpus of compositions, stunning in their vision and clarity. We will perform his music in Apartment House
and I am looking forward to it immensely. AntonAntanas Rekašius Rekašius - Autocollage No. 2
Apartment house began preparing a new project with Frank Gratkowski
, featuring music by Frank, Braxton and Christian Wolff.
Braxton’s music is very good, it’s challenging, complex and like a very good dynamic painting,
in fact there is something very painterly about it, for me.
I am enjoying music again.
I am reminded of one of my favourite painter’s work, Bradley Walker Tomlin.
Number 15, Bradley Walker Tomlin, 1946
For me this could also serve as a score.
We play Braxton
Compositions 50, 139 and 322 Gratkowski
We will perform this programme in Holland November Music
, 15th November
and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
, 22nd November.
On board are Anton on cello, Philip Thomas
and Alan Thomas
e-guitar (no relation) and of course Frank on sax/clarinet.
More on this and Braxtonian things soon, Anton.
A younger Anthony Braxton. © Tamara Glawischnig
A current Gratkowski