GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Brewski on November 12, 2007, 11:18:39 AM

Title: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on November 12, 2007, 11:18:39 AM
Via Alex Ross's blog, here's a nice article on Kurtág (http://www.therestisnoise.com/2007/11/kurtg-speaks.html).  On Friday I'm hearing Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic play Stele (1994), one of my favorite works.  I've only heard it live once, so I'm quite excited.  Here's an excerpt from Paul Griffiths's program notes:

"Nothing is conventional in the work’s sound or in the potency of its expressive gestures. A stele is a slab or pillar inscribed as a memorial: a gravestone. Kurtág’s work is a three-movement symphonie funèbre. The opening is in bold octave Gs, which through slow glissandos and vibratos weep away from confidence; the rest of the adagio—which could be regarded as a slow introduction—is made of frail offerings from different parts of the orchestra, with the lamenting image of a falling minor second ubiquitous.

"The second movement develops a fierce snarling into immense sonorities, and the finale—based on a piano piece of September 1993 written in memory of András Mihály, a composer and conductor who was a generous friend to Kurtág, as to many colleagues—recalls the music for the lake of tears in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. Through repetitions of a liquid musical event, the work steps slowly on while keeping its gaze, always and unremittingly, in one place."

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: MDL on November 14, 2007, 07:00:29 AM
Stele is fab. I heard this year's Proms performance - I had a ticket, but it clashed with a work do, so I taped it - and I've got Abbado's DG performance. I think there are two other recordings knocking about out there; one conducted by Michael Gielen as a filler for a Mahler symphony, and another one (forget who was playing) that was part of RCA's German music survey. I saw the RCA in a record shop in Newcastle last year and I can't think why I didn't buy it. Maybe I thought I'd be able to pick it up back in London, but I haven't seen it since.

So, Bruce, where are the BPO playing? What else is on the programme? Enjoy.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on November 14, 2007, 07:56:37 AM
Wow, great that you heard Stele at the Proms.  More details, please!  I have not yet heard Abbado's, but I did get Gielen's, which is excellent. 

Rattle and the BPO are at Carnegie Hall this week.  The program with Stele includes the Mahler 10.  (PS, I went to the Mahler 9 last night and it was pretty extraordinary, but I won't digress...will post something on it elsewhere.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: MDL on November 15, 2007, 02:49:39 AM
Wow, great that you heard Stele at the Proms.  More details, please!  I have not yet heard Abbado's, but I did get Gielen's, which is excellent. 

Rattle and the BPO are at Carnegie Hall this week.  The program with Stele includes the Mahler 10.  (PS, I went to the Mahler 9 last night and it was pretty extraordinary, but I won't digress...will post something on it elsewhere.)

--Bruce

That's an impressive concert. At the Proms, Stele was followed by Mahler 9. Ivan Volkov conducted the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. As far as I could tell, it was a good performance. The violent central section had a bit more bite than Abbado's recording and I heard some details that I hadn't noticed before, particularly in the final section. I wish I'd kept it so I could offer a more detailed analysis, but I had to delete a few items from my hard drive.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on July 09, 2008, 05:38:29 PM
Bumping up this topic, since several people have commented on the recording of Stele that comes with Gielen's Mahler Second, such as:

Ohww...that version of the Mahler [No. 2] is like wearing a hair shirt. Not my kind of approach. However, the Kurtag Stele paired with it is pretty stunning music and there are very few versions available.

Mike

The only other one I know of is this one with Abbado and Berlin, which I've heard once but not as often as the Gielen.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416J88NEX2L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Other favorite Kurtág works:

Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova (1976-80) for soprano and chamber ensemble - I've heard several singers do this; it requires someone who can become a bit unhinged and lose some inhibitions, as do the next two pieces below.

Scenes from a Novel (1981-82) for soprano, violin, double-bass and cimbalom

Kafka Fragments (1985-87) for soprano and violin - Dawn Upshaw and Geoff Nuttall have been performing this recently, with great success, in a version staged by Peter Sellars.

Hommage à R. Sch. (1990) for clarinet, viola and piano

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: some guy on July 09, 2008, 09:52:42 PM
I never said anything at the time, but this thread got me interested in Kurtág. I had had that two CD composer portrait (Portraitkonzert Salzburg) set for several years. Just never listened to it. Nice set, though. Has that superb Grabstein piece on it, plus ...quasi una fantasia... and Doppelkonzert and and and....

And hunting through my Musik in Deutschland CDs netted performances of Stele (the Gielen) and  Életút (Lebenslauf), and I found the ECM disc of Musik für Streichinstrumente at the store.

I can see that I have a lot of catching up to do.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Henk on July 10, 2008, 04:00:43 PM
I have this set, on ECM:

(http://www.ecmrecords.com/Images/cover/New_Series/1500/N1598g.jpg)

Nice set, having listened to it again yet.

Henk
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: some guy on December 01, 2008, 12:02:04 AM
Zwiegesprach..., and one of the few pieces I know where electronics and natural instruments are blended successfully.

This is not to say that there aren't dozens of pieces where electronics and instruments are blended successfully. Because there totally are. I mean it. ;D

(Most pieces by Iancu Dumitrescu and Ana-Maria Avram. Several by Tim Hodgkinson. Same for Petru Teodorescu. And that stunner of a symphony (no. 3) by Catalan/British composer Roberto Gerhard. Michèle Bokanowski's Pour un pianiste. Just for starters...!)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on January 29, 2009, 11:58:50 AM
Looking forward to this weekend, when Kurtág and his wife, Márta, will be here for two concerts--apparently their first visit to the United States.  In the second concert, they are performing together on pianos.

Saturday, Jan. 31 at Zankel Hall
UMZE Ensemble
Peter Eötvös, Conductor
Amadinda Percussion Group
Natalia Zagorinskaya, Soprano
Katalin Károlyi, Mezzo-Soprano
Ildikó Vékony, Cimbalom
Miklós Perényi, Cello

GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Messages of the Late R.V. Troussova, Op. 17 
GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Splinters, Op. 6c 
GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Songs to Poems by Anna Akhmatova, Op. 41 (World Premiere
LIGETIMelodien 
LIGETI:  Cello Concerto 
LIGETISippal, dobbal, nádihegedűvel ("With Pipes, Drums, Fiddles") 

Sunday, Feb. 1 at Zankel Hall
György Kurtág, Upright Piano
Márta Kurtág, Upright Piano
Hiromi Kikuchi, Violin

GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Hipartita for Solo Violin, Op. 43 
GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Transcriptions and Selections from Játékok 

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Guido on January 29, 2009, 12:32:15 PM
Looks like a great event! Wonderful to be getting a world premiere too! The Ligeti cello concerto is another great work, one of his masterpieces I think.

Thanks for introducing me to Stele by the way, it's now probably my favourite Kurtag piece.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: MDL on January 29, 2009, 02:07:51 PM
Looking forward to this weekend, when Kurtág and his wife, Márta, will be here for two concerts--apparently their first visit to the United States.  In the second concert, they are performing together on pianos.

Saturday, Jan. 31 at Zankel Hall
UMZE Ensemble
Peter Eötvös, Conductor
Amadinda Percussion Group
Natalia Zagorinskaya, Soprano
Katalin Károlyi, Mezzo-Soprano
Ildikó Vékony, Cimbalom
Miklós Perényi, Cello

GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Messages of the Late R.V. Troussova, Op. 17 
GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Splinters, Op. 6c 
GYÖRGY KURTÁG: Songs to Poems by Anna Akhmatova, Op. 41 (World Premiere
LIGETIMelodien 
LIGETI:  Cello Concerto 
LIGETISippal, dobbal, nádihegedűvel ("With Pipes, Drums, Fiddles") 


--Bruce

Very jealous of this concert, albeit more for the Ligeti. That reminds me, I haven't played Sippal for yonks. I must dig out the CD.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on June 06, 2009, 09:17:13 AM
For some time now I have on my shelf Kurtág's Kafka Fragments, resting, looking at me accusingly: "Come on, try me again!", and refusing. I didn't know what to do with a piece of music, bouncing off me without impact whatsoever.

Today I read our member's Jens Laurson blog and his article about his interview with the violinist Carolin Widmann. She talks about this Kurtág, calling it painful, and something clicked. I just might get more out of my next hearing with her opinion on my mind. Anybody here familiar with the composition, willing to share thoughts?

Thank you, Jens, it's a great interview - and you are a talented cartoonist too!  8)

Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: snyprrr on June 06, 2009, 10:47:26 AM
Kafka is @40min. for voice and violin... and that's it, right?

I hear if you don't have Kurtag's favorite singer (Hungaroton), it doesn't matter anyway. I say, let the cd accuse away! There is other, more enjoyable Kurtag for sure.

Why some music makes us feel like we HAVE to like it in spite of its being unattractive is certainly a late 20th century conceit. I can just picture you trying to appreciate the "painful"ness, haha, as if it doesn't hurt enough already! oy!!

Kurtag has a few pieces like this, doesn't he?

btw- isn't there a Kurtag thread already?
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on June 09, 2009, 01:36:43 PM
Kafka is @40min. for voice and violin... and that's it, right?


Why some music makes us feel like we HAVE to like it

Neither music nor person can make me feel I HAVE to like it, I decide if any music is worth my time, if I want to learn more about it and then, if possible, understand it.

I tried his Kafka Fragments again and find the violin segments awesome, passionate and tender and intriguing and all kinds of emotions in between. If I were not so voreingenommen about sopranos, I might even like the whole work - but I don't.

So: Great violin, annoying vocal.  ::)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on June 09, 2009, 01:51:36 PM
I've seen Kafka Fragments several times.  IMHO it requires a very theatrical singer who can plunge into the piece without any inhibitions, and although Dawn Upshaw and violinist Geoff Nuttall have given it a pretty good shot, I have to say I didn't much care for Peter Sellars's direction.  (Review of California performance here (http://www.musicweb.uk.net/SandH/2008/Jul-Dec08/kafka2411.htm))

Lis, is this a CD or a DVD?

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Josquin des Prez on June 09, 2009, 02:09:51 PM
Don't like him. Much of his music is supposed to be inspired by Webern, except it doesn't appear Kurtág actually understood Webern at all.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on June 09, 2009, 05:44:08 PM
Thank you, Bruce, for the link to the California performance. Sellars either hits, or he misses. With this one, even though I have not seen it, he misses by a wide margin. It would be interesting to know what Kurtág had to say about it.

I have the Bridge DVD, neutral setting with something like a book case in the background and simple stands for the violinist and the singer. As I said in my previous post, I concentrated on the music, which is carried prominently by the violin; maybe someone who is familiar with this performance can say something laudatory about the soprano.

Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Guido on June 09, 2009, 11:46:16 PM
Don't like him. Much of his music is supposed to be inspired by Webern, except it doesn't appear Kurtág actually understood Webern at all.

Well he has other influences too (obviously). He's always quoted as saying "Bartok is my mother tongue" - he is much more tonal than Webern, but shares with Webern that propensity for the miniature, the small and infinitely detailed gesture, highly concentrated emotions and often  pointilistic colourings. He is also one of the finest setters of words of the 20th century - what he does in this realm is often just magical.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on June 10, 2009, 04:59:53 AM
I have the Bridge DVD, neutral setting with something like a book case in the background and simple stands for the violinist and the singer. As I said in my previous post, I concentrated on the music, which is carried prominently by the violin; maybe someone who is familiar with this performance can say something laudatory about the soprano.

Oh Lis, I'll have to get this soon!  Although I've not heard the performance, I have heard the soprano, Tony Arnold, a number of times.  She is fantastic, does a ton of new music, and is affiliated with the International Contemporary Ensemble (a.k.a., ICE, and bio here (http://www.iceorg.org/about/artist/arnold.html)).

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brünnhilde ewig on June 10, 2009, 05:08:41 AM
See, I knew someone would come up with laudits for the soprano, thank you, Bruce!

The booklet in the DVD gives her c.v. and it is very impressive, but you know by now my prejudice concerning female jodelers!  ::)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on June 10, 2009, 05:21:02 AM
See, I knew someone would come up with laudits for the soprano, thank you, Bruce!

The booklet in the DVD gives her c.v. and it is very impressive, but you know by now my prejudice concerning female jodelers!  ::)

 ;D

Well, she may not be well-matched with this piece, who knows?  Just because a singer can do a specific work, doesn't mean she should do it.  But I'll reserve comment until I've seen it.  And thanks again for letting me know about this. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: karlhenning on June 12, 2009, 02:43:35 AM
Just because a singer can do a specific work, doesn't mean she should do it.

Quoted for truth.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on October 19, 2010, 07:23:12 AM
This November 2nd, Palais Garnier in Paris:

Transcriptions and selection of Játékok,
    Marta & György Kurtag, Piano
Colinda-Balada for chorus and nine instruments, op. 46 (first performance in France)
Four poems by Akhmatova for soprano and instrumental ensemble, op. 41 (first performance in France)
    Natalia Zagorinskaia.  Soprano
    Chorus of the Cluj Philharmonia
      Ensemble Musikfabrik
    Cornel Groza,  Conductor
    Olivier Cuendet, Conductor
 
Can't comment on the Colinda-Balada and the Four Poems op 41 as I have never heard them. This should be the first tie I see the Kurtags live, looking forward to it.



I wil be there too! First time I will hear György and Marta Kurtag live...  Colinda Balada seems to be a great peice. He wrote it for his hometown located in Romania nowadays.


I agree with you about Stele. This is really something special.

According to an interview published this year in a Swiss newspaper, Kurtag is writing an opera after Beckett's "Fin de Partie" (Endgame).
The preimère should be in Salzburg not before 2013.

Joaquim
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on December 07, 2010, 04:24:49 AM
This November 2nd, Palais Garnier in Paris:

Transcriptions and selection of Játékok,
    Marta & György Kurtag, Piano
Colinda-Balada for chorus and nine instruments, op. 46 (first performance in France)
Four poems by Akhmatova for soprano and instrumental ensemble, op. 41 (first performance in France)
    Natalia Zagorinskaia.  Soprano
    Chorus of the Cluj Philharmonia
      Ensemble Musikfabrik
    Cornel Groza,  Conductor
    Olivier Cuendet, Conductor
 
Can't comment on the Colinda-Balada and the Four Poems op 41 as I have never heard them. This should be the first tie I see the Kurtags live, looking forward to it.

____________________




You  can listen to this wonderful concert here: http://sites.radiofrance.fr/francemusique/prog/diff/liste_concert.php?alecoute=1
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on December 07, 2010, 10:21:50 AM
Joaquim, thank you so much for posting that!  I don't recall ever hearing the last two pieces.

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on December 08, 2010, 01:45:09 AM
Joaquim, thank you so much for posting that!  I don't recall ever hearing the last two pieces.

--Bruce

They are very recent. Colinda Balada has been first performed last year in Romania. Kurtag wrote it for his birthplace, Lugos and it was also a tribute to the Romanian language he learnt when he was young.
Strange and wonderful piece.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on August 12, 2011, 09:48:32 AM
Just found out that this CD (http://info.bmc.hu/hirek/171) has been released of a live concert at Carnegie Hall (actually Zankel Hall, one of the smaller ones) of Kurtág and Ligeti, with Peter Eötvös and the UMZE Ensemble. I was at the concert, and it was exceptionally good, with a searing performance of Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova - a very happy surprise to find that it's now available.

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: some guy on October 06, 2011, 05:01:11 PM
I'm on a buying moratorium, sadly.

But when I go off it, there are two CDs I will want to get right away. (1 and 3 on toucan's list. I already have 2 and 4.)

Thanks for posting this--and especially for posting pictures of the covers.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: snyprrr on October 06, 2011, 08:48:50 PM
I took that DG in the car the other day and couldn't hear jack for most of the piece no matter how loud I turned it. I realize it's not meant perhaps for das auto, so I'll recheck. I also have the Sony disc and the Keller disc (and was going to get the 'trio' ECM disc), but I don't know how far Kurtag is sticking with me. Perhaps I'll have to set aside some time here...
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: snyprrr on October 06, 2011, 08:54:01 PM
btw- my dyslexia reads your ThreadTitle as 'Kurt Cobain'! ;D
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on October 07, 2011, 06:08:07 AM
Abbado's recording of Grabstein seems too faint to follow, even in the peace & quiet of one's library.  Zoltan Pesko's recording might be more audible:

(http://i335.photobucket.com/albums/m465/Phil1_05/Kurtag001.jpg)
I rather liked the rawness of the Peter Eötvös-led performance on Col Legno's 2CD 70th birthday portrait, probably my favourite Kurtag collection. (Lots of good stuff on it--Zoltan Kocsis and Miklos Perenyi in the Double Concerto; Adrienne Csengery in the two short song cycles Requiem po drugu and Drei alte Inschriften; a alternative Samuel Beckett: What is the Word from the one issued on DG, and Kocsis again in the mini-concerto ...quasi una fantasia.... The only downer is that the Keller Quartet only contribute excerpts from the 12 Microludes.)

(http://www.col-legno.com/pics_db/31870_Kurtag.jpg)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: snyprrr on October 24, 2011, 09:07:48 AM
I went through an intensive Kurtag-a-thon of the three above mentioned orchestral works, and the Sony/Eotvos, and the Keller/ECM discs. I'm sorry, but I'm getting a slightly annoyed feeling towards this Composer. Perhaps it is he, and not the likes of Gorecki, who has been overestimated for so long, becoming a darling without, what appears to me, to be any scrutiny.

Perhaps I'm just feeling dismissive, but, Kurtag was supposed to be a Composer I should love. As I listened with as objective an ear as I could find, I found Kurtag continually falling flat on my Interest-Meter. Perhaps I enjoyed his Op.1 SQ the most, and the orchestral pieces the least. Perhaps he seemed like a combination of Schnittke and Webern to me, which, I suppose, is something I didn't need?

I would still be interested in hearing the 'Signs' cd on ECM, but it is not cheap at the moment. However, this recent listening party didn't make me want to immediately get this one, so, it seems as if I've made up my mind here. I'm just not hearing the  'devastating' aspects of the climaxes, and the 'chiseled' aspects of his music I prefer in others (Webern for one).

I do get the impression that some (Manfred Eischer(?)... the ECM guy) love Kurtag and will wave his flag till the end. Other than him being alive, I fail to hear the fuss. Could Kurtag be an example of Affirmative Action in the music biz?

Sign me, Perplexed.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on October 24, 2011, 09:17:15 AM
Have you heard Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova? I only mention it because IMHO it's one of his best.

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: CRCulver on October 24, 2011, 02:11:21 PM
I do get the impression that some (Manfred Eischer(?)... the ECM guy) love Kurtag and will wave his flag till the end. Other than him being alive, I fail to hear the fuss. Could Kurtag be an example of Affirmative Action in the music biz?

No, there's plenty of people who really love him. For example, as a speaker of Hungarian, I've witnessed a pretty good level of support for him in Hungary and parts of Transylvania even among listeners who don't care so much for modernism. Kurtág's music provides insightful commentary on some key Hungarian poets, and some key Hungarian poets have been influenced by his work. In fact, as I read more of the poets that Kurtág has set, it is that response to poetry that is becoming what I focus on in his work.

It may be that the "combination of Schnittke and Webern" doesn't work for you (I'd say "Webern and Bartok", though), but the fact that Kurtág's music is a unique synthesis of variant traditions, and the fact that his music relates to wider culture, is attractive to a certain demographic.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on October 24, 2011, 04:03:15 PM
(I'd say "Webern and Bartok", though)
Most strongly seconded.

I tend to blow hot and cold on Kurtag--some works I really don't enjoy, some I think are tremendous. Which probably says more about me than about him. :)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: snyprrr on October 24, 2011, 07:02:37 PM
This seems well-observed - who made the observation? At his best (STELE, Troussova) Kurtag seems on a par with free-atonality Webern and Schoenberg - but at times (Quasi una Fantasia) he is tending toward something comparable to Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina - overcoming modernism, while remaining modern, somehow.

haha... that was me

Have you heard Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova? I only mention it because IMHO it's one of his best.

--Bruce

Yes, it's on the Sony/Eotvos disc (along with Scenes from a Novel). I'll have to return later.

No, there's plenty of people who really love him. For example, as a speaker of Hungarian, I've witnessed a pretty good level of support for him in Hungary and parts of Transylvania even among listeners who don't care so much for modernism. Kurtág's music provides insightful commentary on some key Hungarian poets, and some key Hungarian poets have been influenced by his work. In fact, as I read more of the poets that Kurtág has set, it is that response to poetry that is becoming what I focus on in his work.

It may be that the "combination of Schnittke and Webern" doesn't work for you (I'd say "Webern and Bartok", though), but the fact that Kurtág's music is a unique synthesis of variant traditions, and the fact that his music relates to wider culture, is attractive to a certain demographic.

I can appreciate that. I'll try again later.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on November 15, 2011, 01:40:02 AM
You can listen to Kurtag's latest work, "brefs messages op.47" for 9 instruments on Swiss radio: http://www.rsr.ch/audio/espace-2/musique-d-avenir/3550947-autour-de-kurtag-13-11-2011.html

Starts at 1.16

It was premiered a few weeks ago in Geneva by the Ensemble Contrechamps.

In this progral (in French) music director Olivier Cuendet speaks about Kurtag's current work and says he's working on an opera based on Samuel Becket for the Salzburg festival.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: BobsterLobster on November 15, 2011, 09:49:24 AM
When I was studying music at University, I was the 'go-to' man for contemporary piano playing... probably because my technique and sight-reading were pretty good. I actually wasn't that keen on contemporary music, I prefered playing Rachmaninov, Liszt, Ravel, etc.
Anyway, my University organises one of the most important contemporary festivals in the world, and Kurtag was one of the featured composers... I was asked to play some pieces from his 'Játékok' series, with some coaching from Kurtag and his wife beforehand. I will always remember almost a full hour of frustration.... playing his piece which was based on the opening chords of the Tchaik Piano Concerto... but done by slamming one's fist down on the piano instead of playing chords. The point of these pieces is to help teach young children how to play and appreciate contemporary music. Well, I couldn't seem to slam my fist down in quite the right way for them, the whole thing seemed absolutely ridiculous to me. From then on, I don't have much respect for Kurtag!
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Lethevich on April 07, 2012, 01:54:53 PM
Can anyone suggest recordings of his core works - either the most known or ones that represent his style the best? There don't seem to be the obvious stand-out 'classic' recordings as you would find with, say, Berio, Carter, Boulez, etc.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: snyprrr on April 07, 2012, 02:08:53 PM
Can anyone suggest recordings of his core works - either the most known or ones that represent his style the best? There don't seem to be the obvious stand-out 'classic' recordings as you would find with, say, Berio, Carter, Boulez, etc.

Eegad!! :o You're listening to Ballif? ??? Medic!! :-*

haha... it's springtime!! listen to Mozart!! ;) ;D

I'm not in the mood for recommending Kurtag,... I'd start with the Keller SQs on ECM. 8)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on April 07, 2012, 02:34:48 PM
Offhand, the two Hungaroton collections are essential coverage of his first 25 years or so:

The one of earlier works is:



The slightly more recent one (no image): http://www.amazon.com/Works-Soprano-Adrienne-Csengery/dp/B0000030A7/

For the quartets, I prefer the Kellers to the Ardittis:



The col legno portrait concert disc is essential for works from the 1980s in particular:



After that, maybe one of the recordings of Kafka-Fragments; and some selections from Jatekok or Signs, Games and Messages. That still arguably leaves you a bit light on recent works, I suppose, but I've not been so great at keeping up with Kurtag's last 20 years or so.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Lethevich on April 07, 2012, 03:21:53 PM
Thank you! I know the Kafka Fragments and solo piano works, but the rest was a mystery to me.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: eyeresist on April 07, 2012, 08:53:13 PM
I don't suppose there's a big bargain box I can buy?
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on May 31, 2012, 07:27:03 AM
I've been spending some time with the early concerto for soprano and piano, The Sayings of Peter Bornemisza.



I find it a truly impressive piece that acts as a massive (for a miniaturist like Kurtag, 40 minutes is massive) summing up of his early atonal period; a Webernian concentration and focus allied to an idiom that also owes something to Bartok and (I think) to late Liszt. Remarkable stuff which never lets up in intensity (whisper it, but I think I may actually like it more than I do the Kafka-Fragmente).

The disc also, handily, has Zoltan Kocsis' superb performance of the op 3 piano pieces, and the op 4 violin/cimbalom duets, both of which provided some (though not a lot of) material for the main work here, and which illuminate the path Kurtag took on the way to his first truly large-scale work. (The op 11 Pilinszky songs are also here, though I think they'd fit better on a disc with later work.)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Mirror Image on June 05, 2012, 05:43:41 AM
This movement from Stele haunts me...

http://www.youtube.com/v/4oNl7HDUC-8
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on June 09, 2012, 09:41:17 AM
Thanks for that link, and note that in the related entries in that blog you can also find recordings of the Ardittis playing Kurtag's most recent work for string quartet, Moments musicaux, Cambreling conducting Messages for orchestra, and the opus 14e violin/piano pieces (as far as I know, none of these works have been commercially recorded).
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: petrarch on June 09, 2012, 10:49:55 AM
Thanks for that link, and note that in the related entries in that blog you can also find recordings of the Ardittis playing Kurtag's most recent work for string quartet, Moments musicaux, Cambreling conducting Messages for orchestra, and the opus 14e violin/piano pieces (as far as I know, none of these works have been commercially recorded).

I recently got Moments musicaux in a release on Neos:
https://neos-music.com/?language=english&page=output.php%3Ftemplate%3Denglish-album-details.php%26content%3DAlben/11033.php
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: North Star on May 07, 2014, 10:14:30 AM
I'm bumping this thread since, it's been almost two years since the last post, and this week I've been reading some about Kurtag, a composer whose music I've liked but not really focused much attention on so far.  Judging from what I've read, his music features many qualities I usually find interesting.  I've also learned a bit about Friedrich Hölderlin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_H%C3%B6lderlin), whose poetry Kurtag has set, as well as several other 20th century composers - who was a very interesting writer.

Any special Kurtag favorites?


The only Kurtág I own (Gielen, with magnificent fillers: Mahler 2nd & Schönberg Kol Nidre :D)  is a favourite. I've read this topic many times lately (last time: this morning), there reeeeally ought to be more pages in this thread.

https://www.youtube.com/v/GXDyfW-l0Go
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: torut on May 07, 2014, 11:10:31 AM
The string quartet disc on Neos is very good. I like the delicate texture of his music.

Have you heard Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova? I only mention it because IMHO it's one of his best.

Yes, it's on the Sony/Eotvos disc (along with Scenes from a Novel). I'll have to return later.

Is this good? Eotvos disc seems out of stock.

György Kurtág: Botschaften des verstorbenen Fräuleins R.V. Trussowa / Jörg Widmann: ...umdüstert...

Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: North Star on May 07, 2014, 11:13:39 AM
The string quartet disc on Neos is very good. I like the delicate texture of his music.
What about Kellers on ECM? I see edward prefers that one over Ardittis, but has anyone heard the ECM & Neos?
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: CRCulver on May 07, 2014, 11:41:27 AM
The best performance of Troussova is on a Hungaroton disc (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000030A7?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B0000030A7&linkCode=xm2&tag=3636363-20). Csengery and other musicians there worked closely with Kurtág for many years.

In general, with Kurtág’s music, one has to look for recordings made in close collaboration with the composer, because Kurtág has very specific demands for his pieces that can only be communicated through coaching, not just the score. (He is a harsh taskmaster and does have a reputation of reducing many performers to tears.)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on May 07, 2014, 02:42:31 PM
The best performance of Troussova is on a Hungaroton disc (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000030A7?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B0000030A7&linkCode=xm2&tag=3636363-20). Csengery and other musicians there worked closely with Kurtág for many years.

In general, with Kurtág’s music, one has to look for recordings made in close collaboration with the composer, because Kurtág has very specific demands for his pieces that can only be communicated through coaching, not just the score. (He is a harsh taskmaster and does have a reputation of reducing many performers to tears.)
This Csengery disc is a no-brainer, as far as I'm concerned, with three important song cycles on it.

The quartets are also essential Kurtag IMO; the Ardittis and Kellers have the major disadvantage of not containing the Six Moments Musicaux (aka Kurtag's 4th quartet), which does appear on the Neos disc.

I've not heard some of the more recent Kurtag discs (something I need to rectify), but I can think of two other recommendations:



The Sayings of Peter Bornemisza, described as a concerto for soprano and piano, is an absolutely astonishingly intense work, lasting about 40 minutes, that never lets up and demonstrates, perhaps better than anything else in Kurtag's output, the cumulative power of many very short pieces. (The rest of the disc, though less heavyweight, gives a good overview of Kurtag's earlier style.)



This live recording from the early 1990s has a variety of works on it and is a fine overview of Kurtag's music from the mid-70s to early 90s.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on May 07, 2014, 02:52:04 PM
Both of those are in my stack, as well as Signs and Holderlin songs, which looks very interesting.


This is one of the few Kurtag discs that simply did nothing for me. I suspect the fault is mine, though.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: torut on May 07, 2014, 04:28:21 PM
What about Kellers on ECM? I see edward prefers that one over Ardittis, but has anyone heard the ECM & Neos?
I only have Athena quartet disc on Neos. I chose it because it was "complete." :) Also, Neos albums usually do not disappoint me.

The best performance of Troussova is on a Hungaroton disc (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000030A7?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B0000030A7&linkCode=xm2&tag=3636363-20). Csengery and other musicians there worked closely with Kurtág for many years.
Thank you, I will check it.

In general, with Kurtág’s music, one has to look for recordings made in close collaboration with the composer, because Kurtág has very specific demands for his pieces that can only be communicated through coaching, not just the score. (He is a harsh taskmaster and does have a reputation of reducing many performers to tears.)
In that sense, which string quartet group collaborated with Kurtág closely?
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: torut on May 07, 2014, 05:23:37 PM
The best performance of Troussova is on a Hungaroton disc (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000030A7?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B0000030A7&linkCode=xm2&tag=3636363-20). Csengery and other musicians there worked closely with Kurtág for many years.

Is this the same one?



The one you linked is this. (The conductor and the ensemble on the cover are different.)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81pxhwIBApL.jpg)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: CRCulver on May 07, 2014, 06:10:23 PM
Torut, those discs are essentially the same, but one is a reissue of the other and may have added material. It's not clear which version you get if you order from the Amazon listing I linked to, because the two images are "customer images", something that someone just uploaded. I myself own the version where the front cover shows "Budapest Chamber Ensemble", but the version of Troussova on it is indeed by the EIC/Boulez.

Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: torut on May 07, 2014, 06:48:30 PM
Torut, those discs are essentially the same, but one is a reissue of the other and may have added material. It's not clear which version you get if you order from the Amazon listing I linked to, because the two images are "customer images", something that someone just uploaded. I myself own the version where the front cover shows "Budapest Chamber Ensemble", but the version of Troussova on it is indeed by the EIC/Boulez.
Thank you, CRCulver. I found it on classicsonline (http://www.classicsonline.com/catalogue/product.aspx?pid=225050). According to the site, the following works are contained, and Troussova is performed by Budapest Chamber Ensemble / Mihaly. There is no Boulez's name. Maybe it's a mistake of the site? Confusing... Anyway, I will try this, since either CD on Amazon seems difficult to get.

Attila Jozsef - Fragments, Op. 20
S.K. - Remembrance Noise, Op. 12
Messages of the Late R.V. Trussova, Op. 17
Scenes from a Novel, Op. 19
Requiem for the Beloved, Op. 26: No. 4. Farewell (Hommage a Hugo Wolf)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: CRCulver on May 07, 2014, 07:16:13 PM
Geez, I might be wrong after all: it looks like the rip I have on my computer (I am presently far from my CD collection) is from the Erato recording, which is by the EIC cond. Boulez. So, the Hungaroton recording I have must be with the Budapest Chamber Ensemble after all, though I seem to have forgotten to rip that. Very confusing. But if you like Kurtág, get the Hungaroton CD with "Budapest Chamber Ensemble", because I do own it and remember getting a lot of pleasure from it.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: torut on May 08, 2014, 06:52:45 AM
Geez, I might be wrong after all: it looks like the rip I have on my computer (I am presently far from my CD collection) is from the Erato recording, which is by the EIC cond. Boulez. So, the Hungaroton recording I have must be with the Budapest Chamber Ensemble after all, though I seem to have forgotten to rip that. Very confusing. But if you like Kurtág, get the Hungaroton CD with "Budapest Chamber Ensemble", because I do own it and remember getting a lot of pleasure from it.
I found the EIC/Boulez disc on Erato on the web. Thank you for the clarification. I purchased the Budapest Chamber Ensemble album on Hungaroton and will listen to it some time today.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: torut on May 08, 2014, 06:58:56 AM
Since I am interested in Beckett and now Holderlin, from what I've read, and I am enjoying it right now as I type.  I would not be surprised if Salvatore Sciarinno has gotten some ideas from it.
Could you explain this a little more? Sciarrino has gotten musical/compositional ideas from the Kurtág's work Signs, Games And Messages? I like Sciarrino, and I am interested in if there is an influence.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: CRCulver on May 08, 2014, 02:36:20 PM
The quartets are also essential Kurtag IMO; the Ardittis and Kellers have the major disadvantage of not containing the Six Moments Musicaux (aka Kurtag's 4th quartet), which does appear on the Neos disc.

The Keller Quartet actually did go on to record Six Moments Musicaux. You can hear it on a Stradivarius disc (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005EVV5X6?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B005EVV5X6&linkCode=xm2&tag=3636363-20) with performances from the Milano Musica Festival.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: torut on May 08, 2014, 04:15:09 PM
Not to pull a James on you, but just listen to the Holderlin songs and let me know if you agree that it calls to mind some of Sciarrino's vocal music.  My post might have been confusing since I did not specify I meant the songs and not the string trio.
Oh, I see. Thank you. :) I'll listen to it once I get it.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on June 06, 2014, 03:40:26 AM
I've been revisiting Adrienne Csengery's recordings of the works for soprano... and I've been incredibly impressed by the consistently high standard of these pieces (not to mention the interpretations). As much as I like his instrumental works, I think his writing for soprano is on an even higher level.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Mandryka on October 07, 2014, 09:07:59 PM
The program of Perer Sellars's London production of Kafka Fragments. I find the essays interesting. For me, it's really essential to follow the texts.

http://www.barbican.org.uk/media/events/10292kafkafragmentsforweb.pdf

I've been revisiting Adrienne Csengery's recordings of the works for soprano... and I've been incredibly impressed by the consistently high standard of these pieces (not to mention the interpretations). As much as I like his instrumental works, I think his writing for soprano is on an even higher level.

Especially the Trusovoy Messages, I think.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: GioCar on August 25, 2016, 06:37:17 AM
Bumping this because I have a question.

Does anyone know what's happened to his first (and very likely only) opera Fin de Partie?
It should have been premiered in 2015, then the premiere was postponed to November 2016, then in January 2016 a new press release by La Scala informed that, although the whole opera was completed (in draft) and 40 minutes orchestrated, Kurtág could not complete the orchestration in time for the premiere and so it was cancelled.
Any further news? I fear that, being the composer over 90 years old, we might have a new unfinished masterpiece shortly  :-[
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: GioCar on October 08, 2016, 06:06:03 AM
I guess nobody knows an answer to my question in my previous post  :(
Ok nevermind, we'll see...

In the meantime I listened several times to his String Quartets, from this new recording



and I can easily say it's one of my best purchases in 2016  :)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on October 08, 2016, 07:20:46 AM
Thanks for posting that Quatuor Molinari recording, which looks great -- hadn't heard of it.

And I haven't heard a thing about the progress of the opera. My hunch is that you are probably right in your assumption, which makes me slightly sad.

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on October 09, 2016, 10:34:17 PM
Bumping this because I have a question.

Does anyone know what's happened to his first (and very likely only) opera Fin de Partie?
It should have been premiered in 2015, then the premiere was postponed to November 2016, then in January 2016 a new press release by La Scala informed that, although the whole opera was completed (in draft) and 40 minutes orchestrated, Kurtág could not complete the orchestration in time for the premiere and so it was cancelled.
Any further news? I fear that, being the composer over 90 years old, we might have a new unfinished masterpiece shortly  :-[

No recent news, but here you can hear a few seconds of the prologue of Fin de partie:  http://www.euronews.com/2016/02/22/budapest-celebrates-90-years-of-gyorgy-kurtag

Concerning the cancelled première, don't forget it was supposed to be staged by Swiss director Luc Bondy.... who died a few months ago... It explains perhaps why it has still not been staged.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: GioCar on October 10, 2016, 12:49:17 AM
No recent news, but here you can hear a few seconds of the prologue of Fin de partie:  http://www.euronews.com/2016/02/22/budapest-celebrates-90-years-of-gyorgy-kurtag

Concerning the cancelled première, don't forget it was supposed to be staged by Swiss director Luc Bondy.... who died a few months ago... It explains perhaps why it has still not been staged.

Thanks for the link.
Yes, that could explain why it hasn't been staged yet. Just wondering whether the composer has completed it or is still working on it or, because of his age and of Bondy's death, the project has been abandoned...
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 10, 2016, 07:47:50 AM
Totally random post, but I think the ECM recording his Music For String Instruments (w/ the Keller Quartet) is absolutely first-rate stuff. Anyone else feel the same way?
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: nathanb on October 10, 2016, 08:44:14 AM
Totally random post, but I think the ECM recording his Music For String Instruments (w/ the Keller Quartet) is absolutely first-rate stuff. Anyone else feel the same way?

All kurtag is first rate bro
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on October 10, 2016, 05:42:51 PM
Totally random post, but I think the ECM recording his Music For String Instruments (w/ the Keller Quartet) is absolutely first-rate stuff. Anyone else feel the same way?
I think the interpretations on this recording are particularly fine; I don't think I've heard better readings of the three main pieces on the disc than these.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Mirror Image on October 10, 2016, 05:51:13 PM
All kurtag is first rate bro

I've certainly enjoyed all that I've heard so far (which isn't much mind you).

I think the interpretations on this recording are particularly fine; I don't think I've heard better readings of the three main pieces on the disc than these.

These are the only performances of the works I know. What do you think of the ECM recording titled Signs, Games, and Messages?
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: nathanb on October 10, 2016, 07:38:09 PM
I think the interpretations on this recording are particularly fine; I don't think I've heard better readings of the three main pieces on the disc than these.

What do you think of the NEOS recordings?
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on October 11, 2016, 07:50:19 AM
What do you think of the NEOS recordings?
I'm perfectly happy with them as a complete set (haven't heard the Molinaris yet), but I think the Kellers dig deeper into the music.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: nathanb on October 11, 2016, 07:45:14 PM
I'm perfectly happy with them as a complete set (haven't heard the Molinaris yet), but I think the Kellers dig deeper into the music.

I think I tend to agree, but I've also spent a lot more time with the Keller quartet recording, so we shall see.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Turbot nouveaux on October 18, 2016, 02:31:19 PM
I have really only brushed the surface with Kurtág thus far. I have the Athena Quartet disc of his works for string quartet, the Maurizio Barbetti / Gianpiero Ruggeri disc of Signs, Games and Messages and the Kashkashian / Levin / Brunner ECm disk with Jelek, Hommage a R. Sch. and Neun Stücke für Viola solo.

All of these strike me as very finely wrought - Webern is another favourite, so clearly I find a lot to my taste in Kurtág's brevity and concision too.

Reading over the past few pages and seeing recommendations for his vocal works reminds me that I have come across some of these previously. Are there any recordings that anyone would be prepared to recommend?
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: GioCar on October 19, 2016, 12:41:11 AM
I have really only brushed the surface with Kurtág thus far. I have the Athena Quartet disc of his works for string quartet, the Maurizio Barbetti / Gianpiero Ruggeri disc of Signs, Games and Messages and the Kashkashian / Levin / Brunner ECm disk with Jelek, Hommage a R. Sch. and Neun Stücke für Viola solo.

All of these strike me as very finely wrought - Webern is another favourite, so clearly I find a lot to my taste in Kurtág's brevity and concision too.

Reading over the past few pages and seeing recommendations for his vocal works reminds me that I have come across some of these previously. Are there any recordings that anyone would be prepared to recommend?

If you want to explore the 40 essential, evocative, amazing micro-lieder of the cycle Kafka-Fragmente op.24 for soprano and violin, I can safely recommend a recent album from BIS


which is in my opinion superior than the other album I have from ECM, if anything for the better sound.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: amw on October 19, 2016, 03:36:05 AM
Messages of the Late Miss R. S. Troussova is also essential—if possible, look for the one on Sony (Rosemary Hardy is the soprano) which is paired with Scenes from a Novel, also an excellent although in my experience doesn't hit you quite as hard.

(The one on Erato with Boulez conducting and Adrienne Cséngery singing is possibly a better performance, although (a) I don't think nearly as much of Birtwistle's AGM and Grisey's Modulations makes limited sense separated from the rest of Les Espaces Acoustiques, and (b) it's probably out of print.)

I rate Kurtág as the most important composer of lieder since Schumann. I'm sure a lot of people won't, though <_<
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: CRCulver on October 19, 2016, 01:50:49 PM
For Messages of the late R.S. Troussova, I would recommend a Hungaroton disc (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000027GM6?ie=UTF8&tag=3636363-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=B000027GM6) where András Mihaly conducts the Budapest Chamber Ensemble and Csengery sings. All of the people performing here were closely involved with Kurtág in the 1970s and 1980s. This disc is convenient in that it also contains Kurtág second cycle on poems by Rimma Dalos, Scenes from a Novel.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on October 20, 2016, 05:12:58 AM
Concerning the poet Rimma Dalos, whose works have been used by Kurtag several times, I've always wondered if she was real.... check the internet: no wikipedia article, no books by her on amazon in any languages.... it seems Gubaidulina also used her texts but it's a bit strange, but I'm perhaps a bit paranoid.... Almost all pages are about Kurtag's music when you type her name......  :-)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: CRCulver on October 20, 2016, 02:44:09 PM
Concerning the poet Rimma Dalos, whose works have been used by Kurtag several times, I've always wondered if she was real.... check the internet: no wikipedia article, no books by her on amazon in any languages....

She is very real. Born Rimma V. Trusova in Russia (hence the title of that cycle of poems), she moved to Hungary in 1970, married a Mr Dalos, and began publishing poetry there. I own a 1988 collection of her verse published by Magveto (which actually is on Amazon (https://www.amazon.co.uk/N%C3%A9lk%C3%BCled-%C3%A9n-IA-bez-tebia/dp/9631412369)), and she is mentioned in various memoirs and press coverage of the Budapest literary scene. You can see a photo of her sitting next to Kurtág at the piano in various books about the composer. However, she never made a big splash outside of Hungarian-language society (even her poems, written originally in Russian, are read mainly in Hungarian translation and are very little known in her native Russia) and she is known abroad solely through Kurtág and Gubaidulina’s settings of her poems.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: nathanb on October 20, 2016, 06:43:52 PM
I rate Kurtág as the most important composer of lieder since Schumann. I'm sure a lot of people won't, though <_<

I mean, at least Mahler and probably Schoenberg and maybe Strauss, Wolf, Eisler, and so on, but Kurtág would certainly be the most important of his own generation.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on November 04, 2016, 09:01:24 AM
For Messages of the late R.S. Troussova, I would recommend a Hungaroton disc (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000027GM6?ie=UTF8&tag=3636363-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=B000027GM6) where András Mihaly conducts the Budapest Chamber Ensemble and Csengery sings. All of the people performing here were closely involved with Kurtág in the 1970s and 1980s. This disc is convenient in that it also contains Kurtág second cycle on poems by Rimma Dalos, Scenes from a Novel.
Enthusiastically seconded, but don't forget the Hungaroton recording of Kafka-Fragmente also with Csengery, and the disc of the wonderful concerto for soprano and piano The Sayings of Peter Bornemisza (which comes with substantial fillers including the Pilinszky songs for soprano and violin, and Zoltán Kocsis's fine interpretation of the op 3 piano pieces).
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on November 07, 2016, 10:20:32 PM
Concerning Fin de partie, singer Yann Beuron says in this interview that he was supposed to sing in the Kurtag/Beckett opera in 2014 but since it has been cancelled he is no more involved in the project. However, he says that the project is not abandonned but will not be with him.

http://www.olyrix.com/articles/actu-des-artistes/595/yann-beuron-interview-entretien-contes-dhoffmann-opera-de-paris-bastille-quatre-valets-andres-cochenille-pitichinaccio-et-frantz-pinocchio-festival-daix-en-provence-carriere-projets
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: GioCar on November 08, 2016, 01:18:11 AM
Concerning Fin de partie, singer Yann Beuron says in this interview that he was supposed to sing in the Kurtag/Beckett opera in 2014 but since it has been cancelled he is no more involved in the project. However, he says that the project is not abandonned but will not be with him.

http://www.olyrix.com/articles/actu-des-artistes/595/yann-beuron-interview-entretien-contes-dhoffmann-opera-de-paris-bastille-quatre-valets-andres-cochenille-pitichinaccio-et-frantz-pinocchio-festival-daix-en-provence-carriere-projets
Thanks for the update.
No encouraging news anyway  :(
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Contemporaryclassical on December 08, 2016, 01:12:46 AM
My favourite living composer, masterpiece after masterpiece  :)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: JCBuckley on December 08, 2016, 06:46:48 AM
My favourite living composer, masterpiece after masterpiece  :)

Same here.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on February 02, 2017, 04:01:17 AM
This is what I call good news:

http://www.emb.hu/en/composers?utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_medium=email&utm_content=http%3a%2f%2fwww.emb.hu%2fen%2fcomposers&utm_campaign=21555727&utm_umg_et=172548558

"György Kurtág, who now lives in Budapest Music Center is visited frequently by Arnaud Arbet, the musical assistant, and the singers of his opera Fin de partie planned to be premiered in 2018 in La Scala Milan. Kurtág helps with the preparations: he explains what the text means, he sings, he describes the connections between the notes, he talks about dinamics, articulation and stresses. He tells extraordinary things to the musicians, he sometimes reveals secrets about the work in progress, that one can only learn from him and his wife, Márta. The last time they rehearsed on 20 and 21 January with Frode Olsen and Leigh Melrose, playing Hamm and Clov. These two days of work was also documented on film. This time Pierre Audi was also present at the rehearsals."
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: GioCar on February 02, 2017, 08:52:55 AM
^^^
This is what I call excellent news!

Thank you very much for the update  :)
It's also a real pleasure to see maestro Kurtág still so active...
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on June 06, 2017, 01:24:55 AM
Chi va piano, va sano...


http://www.teatroallascala.org/it/stagione/2017-2018/opera/fin-de-partie.html
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: GioCar on June 06, 2017, 01:47:55 AM
 :) :) :)

Thanks you Joaquim!

(Actually I already saw it but don't want to say anything just for luck. One year and half from now is a long time...)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Turbot nouveaux on September 05, 2017, 10:00:35 PM
If you want to explore the 40 essential, evocative, amazing micro-lieder of the cycle Kafka-Fragmente op.24 for soprano and violin, I can safely recommend a recent album from BIS


which is in my opinion superior than the other album I have from ECM, if anything for the better sound.


I know it's nearly a year on but I should thank you for this recommendation, GioCar. I really have been enjoying this disc.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: GioCar on September 08, 2017, 08:55:23 PM

I know it's nearly a year on but I should thank you for this recommendation, GioCar. I really have been enjoying this disc.

You're welcome, very glad you liked it  :)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Turbot nouveaux on September 09, 2017, 03:22:32 AM
My next Kurtág purchase will be this, I think. If anyone has had a chance to listen to it yet, I'd be interested in your thoughts.

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/28948128877.jpg)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: amw on September 09, 2017, 03:31:31 AM
I'd say worth it for the harder-to-acquire, less frequently recorded (or unrecorded) works alone. The Troussova Messages receive one of their better performances on record—though I still want to hear Adrienne Csengery's Hungaroton recording mentioned above, which seems to not be available at the moment—and the Op. 27 pair is done better than on the live recording on col legno which I believe is the only other one. Haven't A/B'd any of the others. Kurtág himself supervised the recordings, and he's exacting enough that I'd generally trust his judgment, as well.

Probably one of my purchases of the year (although you may want to wait until your preferred outlet has a sale on ECM titles, which Qobuz did earlier this year....)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on January 18, 2018, 01:44:53 AM
If you want to use your money in a clever way, you can help to finance a documentary about Kurtag writing his (first) opera, Fin de partie after Beckett's play. Check their FB page for more details. The premiere of the opera is scheduled for november in Milan:

https://www.facebook.com/SensoFilmsKurtagOpera/
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: GioCar on June 18, 2018, 07:29:18 AM
Just bought two tickets for the world premiere of Fin de partie, at La Scala on November 15!

king ubu and I will be going together  8)
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Ainsi la nuit on June 28, 2018, 11:38:29 AM
Just bought two tickets for the world premiere of Fin de partie, at La Scala on November 15!

That is bound to be a very special experience. I'm enormously jealous but very happy for you nevertheless!

Kurtág is an astounding composer. I'm only in the process of discovering his music properly, but every single note from his pen I've heard so far has been infused with that special something that makes me fall in love with music.

Favourite works (so far) include:
- Grabstein für Stephan, Op. 15c
- Kafka-Fragmente, Op. 24
- ...quasi una fantasia..., Op. 27 #1
- Pretty much all of the works for string quartet
- Many of the vocal works on the fabulous new ECM release, already mentioned on this thread a few posts ago

Kurtág's music is brilliant and magical, like a thick morning mist in a garden. It feels fresh and energizing, but at the same time it's very rooted in tradition and is tremendously expressive. Often the music takes the listener on quite daunting journeys - this is not the work of a 100% happy man - but it's never just for the sake of being depressing; the music is intellectually intriguing, emotionally stirring and always interesting. I'm sure I'll spend a big chunk of my life exploring his work further...
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: GioCar on November 15, 2018, 08:49:06 AM
Just bought two tickets for the world premiere of Fin de partie, at La Scala on November 15!

king ubu and I will be going together  8)

Two hours to go! The excitement is growing...
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on November 16, 2018, 02:15:37 AM
I was only able to listen to the first hour and the last 15 minutes properly. Do you know if there is a podcast somewhere? I find nothing on RAI 3...

Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Joaquimhock on November 16, 2018, 05:18:53 AM
I found it on radio bartok. But no idea for how long it will be online...  https://www.mediaklikk.hu/radio-lejatszo-bartok/?date=2018-11-15_19-35-00&enddate=2018-11-15_22-09-00&ch=mr3#
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Mandryka on November 17, 2018, 08:05:39 AM
I found it on radio bartok. But no idea for how long it will be online...  https://www.mediaklikk.hu/radio-lejatszo-bartok/?date=2018-11-15_19-35-00&enddate=2018-11-15_22-09-00&ch=mr3#

Good thank you. From about 20:09:00
Title: Happy Birthday, Kurtág!
Post by: Brewski on February 19, 2019, 06:45:48 AM
Happy Birthday to György Kurtág, who turns 93 today.

One of the greats, he wrote his first opera last year, 'Fin de partie,' based on Beckett's 'Endgame.'

--Bruce
Title: Re: Happy Birthday, Kurtág!
Post by: schnittkease on February 19, 2019, 07:02:46 PM
Happy Birthday to György Kurtág, who turns 93 today.

One of the greats, he wrote his first opera last year, 'Fin de partie,' based on Beckett's 'Endgame.'

--Bruce

Long live!
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: vers la flamme on September 15, 2019, 09:24:55 AM
I'm new to his music, but it's recently occurred to me that Kurtág is one hell of a composer! I have this disc:

(https://img.discogs.com/t2ZKGVPFUUdvKSMs1XUiRH51TA4=/fit-in/600x595/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3358892-1477310125-7124.jpeg.jpg)

... & it's great... especially the song cycle Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova, op.17, and my personal favorite from the disc, ...quasi una fantasia..., op.27/1, surely an homage to Beethoven's op.27 "Quasi fantasia" sonatas.

Any fans of Kurtág's music lately? I think he reminds me something of Anton Webern, a favorite of mine, but... very different. Another touchstone would be Lutoslawski. But I find Kurtág's music to be truly unique. Definitely one of the greatest living composers, no...?

Another question I have: can anyone tell me whether or not Kurtág's music employs so-called serial techniques? I ask because some of his music shares similarities with the prototypically serialist late music of Webern, but for the most part, I am more so reminded of Webern's pre-serial, expressionistic works.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: CRCulver on September 22, 2019, 12:31:44 PM
Another question I have: can anyone tell me whether or not Kurtág's music employs so-called serial techniques? I ask because some of his music shares similarities with the prototypically serialist late music of Webern, but for the most part, I am more so reminded of Webern's pre-serial, expressionistic works.

Kurtág’s first several opus numbers are fairly conventionally serialist. There is an ample literature analyzing these works.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on March 28, 2020, 07:30:58 AM
Exciting news: Kurtag's operatic version of Beckett's Fin de Partie is now free to watch from RAI for the next month:

Link: https://www.raiplay.it/programmi/findepartie
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: vers la flamme on March 28, 2020, 07:41:22 AM
Exciting news: Kurtag's operatic version of Beckett's Fin de Partie is now free to watch from RAI for the next month:

Link: https://www.raiplay.it/programmi/findepartie

Thanks!

I've been meaning to get more into Kurtág. I keep coming close to pulling the trigger on the Reinbert de Leeuw Kurtág set on ECM, but backing out at the last minute and buying something else instead. Quick, someone talk me into buying it. :D
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on March 28, 2020, 07:47:19 AM
Thanks!

I've been meaning to get more into Kurtág. I keep coming close to pulling the trigger on the Reinbert de Leeuw Kurtág set on ECM, but backing out at the last minute and buying something else instead. Quick, someone talk me into buying it. :D
Buy it. It's a really good summary of his career. PS: the Hungaroton recordings of the song cycles are amazing, too.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: oboe1 on August 16, 2020, 09:09:40 PM
Soon I will be doing an online lecture/recital on Kurtag's solo music for oboe/English horn, music which has only been recently published although it was privately circulated for several decades.  One of the most memorable pieces is "Rozsnyai Ilona in memorium" for English horn and contrabass clarinet.  In all of my research I have been able to find material on the other works to be presented, but can find nothing as to who Rozsnyai Ilona was.  Any information out there?  The piece was written in 1997 so it cannot be referring to someone I see on more recent YouTube videos.  Any help is appreciated.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: not edward on February 19, 2021, 05:24:20 AM
Some free Kurtag concerts online courtesy of the Budapest Music Centre: they're at 7:30 local time / 6:30 GMT / 1:30 EST.

https://bmc.hu/en/news/kurtag-95

Unfortunately it seems that the stream from yesterday's concert is no longer available.

BMC has also released a new recording of the concerto for soprano and piano Sayings of Péter Bornemisza with Tony Arnold and Gábor Csalog.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Brewski on February 19, 2021, 09:30:34 AM
Some free Kurtag concerts online courtesy of the Budapest Music Centre: they're at 7:30 local time / 6:30 GMT / 1:30 EST.

https://bmc.hu/en/news/kurtag-95

Unfortunately it seems that the stream from yesterday's concert is no longer available.

BMC has also released a new recording of the concerto for soprano and piano Sayings of Péter Bornemisza with Tony Arnold and Gábor Csalog.

Thanks so much, edward!

--Bruce
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: CRCulver on February 20, 2021, 02:25:11 AM
BMC has also released a new recording of the concerto for soprano and piano Sayings of Péter Bornemisza with Tony Arnold and Gábor Csalog.

It would be interesting to know what Kurtág thinks of this. The story of the original Hungaroton recording of The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza is infamous: Kurtág kept rejecting take after take, because the performers couldn’t get exactly what he wanted in spite of endless rehearsal and Kurtág’s elaborate verbal instructions on how to "get behind the score". After forty-odd takes, they just gave up and released one of the takes they already had.
Title: Re: György Kurtág (b. 1926)
Post by: Mandryka on February 20, 2021, 02:51:56 AM
It would be interesting to know what Kurtág thinks of this. The story of the original Hungaroton recording of The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza is infamous: Kurtág kept rejecting take after take, because the performers couldn’t get exactly what he wanted in spite of endless rehearsal and Kurtág’s elaborate verbal instructions on how to "get behind the score". After forty-odd takes, they just gave up and released one of the takes they already had.

Quote
Preparations for the Budapest commemoration concert for the Reformation 500, given on 19 December 2017 in the Music Academy, began two years earlier. Finding the singer for Bornemisza proved to be the most difficult task. A good few excellent singers rejected the piece, notorious for its murderously difficult vocal part, and others were vetoed by the composer. Tony Arnold, who had already proved her affinity
for the composer with her performances of Kurtág’s Op. 17, Messages of the Late R. V. Troussova, took on the challenge. Grappling with the Hungarian-language proved to be the easiest thing for her. The real challenge was mastering the astonishingly difficult, dodecaphonic voice part, with its extremes of register, and dramatic outbursts, all at the white heat of expression that Kurtág demanded. Most of the rehearsals took place in Budapest, with Kurtág. The composer’s wife Márta monitored the heroic undertakings throughout, constantly reproaching Kurtág for the devilishly difficult things he had set down on paper. At one dramatic moment Tony broke down in tears. “Here I am, fifty years old, I thought I knew all there was to know about singing, and it turns out I know nothing.” Then the Kurtág couple embraced her. This may well have been the turning point in the rehearsal process. Gábor Csalog had already played the equally “unlearnable” piano part several times. During rehearsals he stood his ground as a pianist, assistant, mediator, and if necessary, psychologist. Whoever has studied with Kurtág has some idea of his demands for uncompromising music-making – for the musicians to give their entire being. To paraphrase the text of a Hungarian folksong: “if you want to be [Kurtág’s] piper, you have to go through hell.” Perhaps it is no exaggeration if, in the case of The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza, this “hell” is the most frightening and hopeless of places. Eventually though, the story of this passionate work of several years was crowned with resurrection: the work was born into new life, in a “valid” performance.

https://static.qobuz.com/goodies/94/000139949.pdf