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Apartment House record Julius Eastman's Femenine

Led by Anton Lukoszevieze, this new ensemble performance is out now on Another Timbre

Apartment House have just released a new live recording of the late composer Julius Eastman’s 1974 composition Femenine. “I first performed Eastman's music in 2016, which was a revelation for me, as the extant scores are rather fragmentary and incomplete,” says the ensemble’s cellist and leader Anton Lukoszevieze. “Some are even just transcriptions from archive recordings.”

On the recording, which has been issued by Another Timbre, Lukoszevieze is joined by Simon Limbrick on vibraphone, Kerry Yong on piano, Mark Knoop on keyboard, Mira Benjamin on violin, and Gavin Morrison and Emma Williams on flute.

“What is relevant about Femenine now, in 2019?” asks Lukoszevieze, responding to a question posed to him by Another Timbre. “I am not sure, but there is an acknowledgment that this is very good music, that it is music that comes alive when performed with care and commitment, a lot of pieces are only as good as what the musicians put into them.

“Julius's music is also quite ecstatic and to my ears gives audiences and performers alike pleasure, whether from some kind of organic groove or a totally passionate immersive experience,” he continues. “Femenine grows from a simple two note rhythmic cell in the vibraphone, which is repeated for the full duration of the piece, and in the background we have an asynchronous aural 'curtain' of sleigh bells.

“There are moments of strangeness, instability, joy, melancholy and an aural fascination with heterophonic intricacy and intimacy. Lastly, Femenine is communal music, it instills a sense of community within the listening experience, it is honest and unselfish, it is something we aspire to, it is great music.”

There has been a wider re-engagement with Eastman’s music in recent years. His peer, the composer Mary Jane Leach, has been instrumental in preserving and archiving much of his work. Femenine remained unreleased until 2016, when Frozen Reeds published a CD of a 1974 live performance by SEM Ensemble featuring Eastman on piano.

You can read the full interview with Lukoszevieze and Another Timbre here, and hear an extract of the performance below.