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Liudas Mock​ū​nas - Polylogues (CD1​)​: Works for solo saxophone and orchestra

by Liudas Mockūnas

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cellostuff Oh yeah - this is substantial. Get a wicked good player to totally throw down on some new orchestra stuff, and on the coolest instrument from the last 100 years. Bonus - do the thing that classical hasn't done in 300 years: open up the cadenza section for whatever the hell the musician wants to play - and keep it weird. Not to mention the offering of a variety of interesting compositional styles. So, yeah, let's keep this going.


With this double album I introduce myself as a performer of contemporary classical music, which, I believe, might come as a surprise for listeners who are familiar only with my work in the fields of improvised music and avant-garde jazz. However, various genres of music as diverse as classical and jazz, free improvisation and contemporary classical were always there along the way, playing a significant role in shaping my approach to musical performance as an improviser and a musician in general – an approach that blurs distinctions not only between different genres but also between improvised and composed music, improvisation and interpretation.

In addition to leading my own bands and working on my own projects, I consider myself very lucky to have had many fortunate opportunities to appear as a soloist and a section member with major symphony and chamber orchestras, both locally and further afield, as well as to collaborate with fantastic chamber ensembles and creative improv and jazz bands, which have notably included the Gaida Ensemble and the Lithuanian Ensemble Network, the Chordos and Čiurlionis string quartets, the Copenhagen Art Ensemble, the Barry Guy Ensemble, the Andrew Hill Jazzpar Octet, the Marc Ducret Ensemble for Lady M, the New Jungle Orchestra, the Konvoj Art Ensemble featuring Evan Parker and Sten Sandell, Vladimir Tarasov and the Lithuanian Art Orchestra, and the Improdimensija Orchestra. Some of these wonderful orchestras and musicians continue to keep me company in live concerts and on these two discs.

Over the years I’ve also had a chance to work with many talented composers who have written fascinating music specifically for me or who would ingeniously adapt to my abilities and inclinations as an improviser by giving me the freedom of self-expression in their otherwise strictly written compositions. Out of several dozen such works I have selected ten compositions by eight (mostly Lithuanian) composers and wrapped it all up under a title adopted from one of my all-time favourite Lithuanian concert pieces for solo saxophone, Polylogue by Osvaldas Balakauskas. All of the pieces were recorded – some live, some in the studio – over a period of fifteen years, from 2005 to 2020, which retraces a substantial chapter in my professional career as an improvising multi-reed player and composer.

CD 1 opens with the title track and features contemporary Lithuanian music for solo saxophone and orchestra. CD 2 sets off with the track Social, which marks the beginning of my ‘socializing’ with the Chordos Quartet. All works for solo saxophone and string quartet committed to this disc have been recorded with the same constellation of musicians (except for the closing piece where percussionist Arkady Gotesman and accordionist Raimondas Sviackevičius joined us), which may be called a band as we’ve been playing music by different composers and experimenting with my own music involving a lot of improvisation based on graphic scores and other alternative forms of notation for almost two decades now. I have also seized the opportunity to pay homage to my first clarinet teacher, the brilliant musician Algirdas Doveika, by including my take on a solo clarinet piece by Vykintas Baltakas, which Algirdas used to play beautifully himself.

Wishing you lots of exciting musical discoveries!

Liudas Mockūnas
January 13, 2021, Kernavė, Lithuania


POLYLOGUE for alto saxophone and string orchestra (1991) 17:30

UNDERWATER GEOMETRY for solo bass, soprano saxophones
and symphony orchestra (2016) 15:10

Concerto for alto saxophone and chamber orchestra (2002) 17:56
3. I. Lento misterioso. Allegro scherzando. Lento 03:34
4. II. Andante tranquillo 07:19
5. III. Allegro molto 07:03

6.–8. ARVYDAS MALCYS (*1957)
Concerto for soprano saxophone and symphony orchestra (2004) 23:37
6. I. Scherzo 09:22
7. II. Meditation 06:39
8. III. Allegro 07:36

TT: 74:38
Liudas Mockūnas – soprano (2, 6–8), alto (1, 3–5), bass (2) saxophones Modus Chamber Orchestra, conductor Robertas Bliškevičius (1)
Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (2, 6–8), conductors:
Jonathan Berman (2), Juozas Domarkas (6–8)
St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, conductor Modestas Pitrėnas (3–5)
NoBusiness Records NBCC 5


released June 30, 2021

Liudas Mockūnas – soprano (2, 6–8), alto (1, 3–5), bass (2) saxophones Modus Chamber Orchestra, conductor Robertas Bliškevičius (1)
Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra (2, 6–8), conductors:
Jonathan Berman (2), Juozas Domarkas (6–8)
St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra, conductor Modestas Pitrėnas (3–5)

Mixed by Arūnas Zujus and Liudas Mockūnas at MAMA Studios, Vilnius
Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMA Studios, Vilnius
Texts edited by Veronika Janatjeva
Design and layout by Neringa Žukauskaitė
Produced by Liudas Mockūnas
The photographs by Tomas Terekas have been used for inside covers.

Special thanks to composers, performers, audiences, Arūnas Zujus,
Veronika Janatjeva, Neringa Žukauskaitė, Robertas Bliškevičius,
Donatas Katkus, Vytautas Mockūnas, Petras Geniušas,
Petras Vyšniauskas and Danas Mikailionis.


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NoBusiness Records - CC Series Vilnius, Lithuania

We believe that Free Improvisation and Contemporary Classical Music are just two dialects of the same language. That is why we start this series within the NoBusinessRecords Label: to create more synergy between these musical circles and to create opportunities for fans in both aesthetics to discover one another’s treasures in music.

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