Four Pianos (1979-80) It is recognized today that these tutelary pieces for four pianos are among the most powerful in contemporary music, their impact is almost unparalleled. After the historical version recorded forty years ago, this one, featuring four of the greatest European performers, is now regaining its full power. High level recordings too.
There was some for John Cage, then came Christian Wolff, and finally Morton Feldman, from this school in New York. Only Julius Eastman remained outside the game, the last figure, the most solitary and enigmatic – undoubtedly also one of the most powerful, and it is this power that is revealed through these recordings.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Eastman was one of the very few African-Americans to gain recognition in the New York avant-garde music scene. He was politically committed, a figure of queer culture and a solar and solitary poet whose melancholy influenced his genius as well as his tragic destiny: suffering from various addictions, declared missing, actually homeless. During Winter of 1981-82, he got deported from his apartment by the police, who destroyed most of what he owned – including scores and recordings. He was found dead in 1990, on the streets of Buffalo, after years of vagrancy.