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!
January 13, 2021, Kernavė, Lithuania
CD 2: WORKS FOR SOLO SAXOPHONE, CLARINET AND STRING QUARTET
1. LIUDAS MOCKŪNAS (*1976)
SOCIAL for baritone saxophone and string quartet (2002) 06:04
2. ANATOLIJUS ŠENDEROVAS (1945–2019)
DAVID’S SONG for tenor saxophone and string quartet (2006) 15:13
3. DIETRICH EICHMANN (*1966)
FLIGHT FOR LIUDAS for soprano saxophone and string
quartet (2004) 15:18
4. ARVYDAS MALCYS (*1957)
SAXCHORD for tenor saxophone and string quartet (2007) 19:05
5. VYKINTAS BALTAKAS (*1972)
NO. 2 for solo clarinet (2000) 05:02
6. ANATOLIJUS ŠENDEROVAS (1945–2019)
EXODUS for clarinet, soprano saxophone, accordion,
percussion and string quartet (2004) 15:23
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.
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.
supported by 6 fans who also own “Liudas Mockūnas - Polylogues (CD2): Works for solo saxophone, Clarinet and string quartet”
Joelle Leandre's large ensemble work Can You Hear Me? is an exercise in the 21st century understanding of musical form. It is one of those pieces that is difficult to describe - you just have to hear it for yourself... if you can? Christopher Moklebust