Lasting over 35 minutes ajapajapam for 12 voices, string quartet and electronics by Rytis Mažulis awaits its British premiere at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival on November 23. The piece will be performed by the vocal music ensemble 'Exaudi', and one of the most exciting British contemporary music groups 'Apartment House'. About this single note composition, one of the most radical Mažulis' works, LML talks to the leader of 'Apartment House', cellist Anton Lukoszevieze.
How did you come across Rytis' music and why did you decide to perform this particular piece?
Sometime ago I was looking at the LMIPC website (perhaps 2-3 years ago) and I was reading about different composers and their work and became very interested in the descriptions of Rytis' music, the score excerpts, etc. I then asked to send me some recordings of Mažulis’ music and other composers and I became very much in love with his music.
Was it a challenge or a suitable experimental addition to some 'old and new' music programme planned beforehand for the Huddersfield festival?
I do not see my work/performing as being any corporate or mainstream function, but rather to explore what is fresh, new and quizzical in the world of art/music and to take that and enjoy and expose it to the world. If it is challenging, great, but if simple and interesting, also great. James Weeks, the director of 'Exaudi' is a friend of mine, we share similar concerns, and we had wanted to collaborate together for some time, and then I showed him the Mažulis' work and he was very excited by it.
You and your ensemble 'Apartment House' are renowned for explorations of experimental music. How does Rytis’ piece fit in the context of your repertoire?
Rytis' piece fits well because it extends the listeners' perceptions of time and what constitutes music, as a real experience, as opposed to the often quaint formality of many new music concerts. I feel the work gets to the very core of what it can mean to 'listen' as opposed to just hearing music. I don't really think of having a repertoire, this is necessary for websites, etc. but I just want to explore and make the music I love or am intrigued by, either through my solo cello performances or through collaborations or with my group.
How would you describe this kind of musical asceticism? How do you feel about Mažulis' alleged 'unconcern' for the performers' convenience and need for self-expression?
Some music needs a more traditional approach of performer as interpreter/use of self-expression, and other types utilising repetition, stasis. Sometimes one just has to get on with the job! I have played one note for one hour before, or noisy loud music for an exhausting length of time, so this is not a problem.
Will the piece be performed in a traditional concert setting, or do you plan to include other media as well, such as video projection, movement, and the like? What are the other pieces in the same programme?
I believe just in a normal setting, with perhaps some attention to lighting, but this has to be decided. The other work is by Cornelius Cardew, the Ode Machines from Paragraph 5 of a work entitled The Great Learning.
Last but not least: do you have any roots in the Baltics? Just because your name sounds so Lithuanian...
My father's family all came from Lithuania to the UK (and the USA) in the 1890's. One family remained in Lithuania and were deported and murdered by the NKVD/Stalin in Siberia in the early 1940's. There is a prison photo of my great uncle taken by the NKVD(KGB) in the genocide museum in Vilnius. I have a copy. His name was Jonas Lukoševičius. My grandfather was called Antanas Lukoszevieze. I am very proud of my Lithuanian ancestry, though I have never visited Lithuania, and had a great time growing up knowing my grandparents and aunts who were all Lithuanian.