Three years ago, Vilnus (Lithuania) composer Julius Aglinskas was commissioned by Anton Lukoszevieze, the director of Apartment House, to write a piece for the chamber ensemble’s twenty-fifth anniversary. On their 28th, this tribute is made available on vinyl.
Apartment House is described as “two trios,” although here they play as one: a string section of violins, viola and cello, with piano and guitar. The music unwraps patiently, tenderly, gently. Topically, the symphony resides in the same arena as Yann Novak’s Blue Hour; blue dusk captures the incremental changes in light at the close of the day. The strings set the stage, with each variation on the theme like a gradation of light. The pace is slow, because one can’t hurry sunset; one wishes to drink in the final touches of color as they fade. Those who watch intently can see the colors longer than those who look outside every few minutes. The same holds true for the music. At first, the piano and guitar punctuate the strings, but soon they begin to cut through like flashes of red and orange. Midway through “Blue Dusk I,” they tiptoe to center stage; then a hush falls over the world. Strings reemerge from this newly-created space, imitating the moment when the sun falls completely below the horizon.
Triplets of notes follow “Blue Dusk I” nearly to the end, reminiscent of Max Richter’s Sleep. But the final minute implies yet another shift, the piano left to bear the burden alone. As the piece appears on vinyl, “Blue Dusk I” has a definitive ending; but “Blue Dusk II” also has a definitive beginning, so listeners will not feel the flow has been interrupted. Again a silence descends, an eight-note motif ceding space to smudges and swirls. The notes are farther apart, as one by one the brightest colors disappear, revealing a deep indigo. As the symphony winds down, the tempo and density retract, leaving behind a residue of peace. (Richard Allen)