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Luiz Henrique Yudo & Apartment House: Chamber Works

John Eyles By

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Founded in 1994, Apartment House soon became the leading ensemble playing experimental music in the UK. Chamber Works, featuring the ensemble playing compositions by the Brazilian-born Amsterdam-resident Luiz Henrique Yudo, was released in March 2020 (just as the 2020 global pandemic was gathering momentum). A concert to celebrate Apartment House's twenty-fifth anniversary was scheduled for April 24th, in London, hosted by Another Timbre and the Music We'd Like To Hear (MWLTH) concert series; at it, Apartment House were to perform the world premiere of Yudo's "The Donald Judd Harmonies (2016)" and the UK premiere of his "A Quartet for Palladio (1998)," as well as pieces by Ryoko Akama, Eleanor Cully and Adrian Demoč. However, by the scheduled date, London was in lockdown, so the concert had to be cancelled. Consequently, Chamber Works alone had to mark Apartment House's anniversary.

Recorded at the University of Huddersfield, In May 2017, and at Goldsmiths College, London, in December 2019, the album credits nine members of the ensemble, but most tracks only feature four musicians, with just the final, thirty-five-minute track having six. So, the soundscape never sounds crowded or cluttered; everyone can be heard clearly throughout.

Yudo trained as an architect and worked in various creative fields before turning to music, with no background in it. Having never been taught by anyone, he has developed his own personal way of composing; he says that most of his compositions are strongly inspired by visual associations, and many of his scores are transcriptions into sound of artworks by painters, sculptors or architects whose work he likes; for instance, the score of "A Quartet for Palladio (1998)" is based on Yudo's vibrantly-coloured artwork which features on the album's front cover, while "The Donald Judd Harmonies" were inspired by multicoloured works of the late American artist of the title.

Yudo's scores usually have a definite structure, but he leaves details open for the musicians to choose, so that they influence how the music will actually sound, meaning that each performance of a composition is subtly different. Although Yudo is not alone is using such a method, it is inspired as it prevents his music from ever sounding formulaic or predictable. Instead, as well as melodic, it comes across as edgy and vibrant—something for which Apartment House deserve credit. So sure-footed is their playing that it is nigh on impossible to tell which notes were scored by Yudo and which were left to their discretion; everything flows and exudes confidence, sounding as if the players were enjoying the experience. Altogether, this music sounds better the more it is heard; the credit for that goes equally to Yudo and Apartment House.

Track Listing

A Quartet for Francois Morellet (2012); A Quartet for Chris Beekman (2017); A Quartet for Palladio (1998); Five Palindromes (1997); The Donald Judd Harmonies I-XXIII (2016).

Personnel

Anton Lukoszevieze: cello (1, 3-9); Mira Benjamin: violin (2, 4-9); Gordon Mackay: violin (1-2, 9); Hilary Sturt: violin (1); Bridget Carey: viola (1, 3, 9); Kerry Yong: keyboard (2, 3, 9); Simon Limbrick: vibraphone & percussion (2, 3, 9); Heather Roche: bass clarinet (4-8); Philip Thomas: piano (4-8).

Album information

Title: Chamber Works | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Another Timbre

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