Contemporaries important to him have been included in the programming: Luigi Nono, Karlheinz Stockhausen and his compatriot and student ally Gyorgy Ligeti. So have imposing forebears -- Schubert, Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven, Bartok -- with no need for apologies on behalf of the present. Kurtag's music does what music has always done: it expresses itself decisively, fascinates, exposes something very private in a public forum, opens a new world. On one evening of the festival, which ends today, the two concertos of Mr. Kurtag's Opus 27, both with Zoltan Kocsis as piano soloist, were performed after Mr.
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Contemporaries important to him have been included in the programming: Luigi Nono, Karlheinz Stockhausen and his compatriot and student ally Gyorgy Ligeti. So have imposing forebears -- Schubert, Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven, Bartok -- with no need for apologies on behalf of the present.
Kurtag's music does what music has always done: it expresses itself decisively, fascinates, exposes something very private in a public forum, opens a new world. On one evening of the festival, which ends today, the two concertos of Mr. Kurtag's Opus 27, both with Zoltan Kocsis as piano soloist, were performed after Mr. Kocsis had played the two sonatas of Beethoven's opus of the same number. The clear frenzy of speed and the tenderness of slow music, with a beautiful voicing of inner parts, was the same in both composers.
Kurtag's acute matching of piano with percussion sonorities echoed Bartok's Sonata for two pianos and percussion, which was heard on the same program in a lively performance by students from the Royal Academy of Music, where Mr. Kurtag has been in residence, coaching, all through his London stay. Reinbert de Leeuw conducted the London Sinfonietta in the concertos, with tightly passionate playing from the cellist Miklos Perenyi as the other soloist in Opus 27, No.
There were also two scores by Mr. Ligeti: ''Melodien'' and a hilarious account of ''Mysteries of the Macabre,'' with John Wallace on trumpet. In another event, Mr. Kurtag -- who almost never speaks about his music -- said a few words to help bring his audience inside an unfinished indeed open-ended project he has undertaken with a composer of the next generation: his son, Gyorgy Kurtag Jr.
One of their problems, as he explained, is that they have different senses of time: he measures in seconds, his son in minutes. He could also have said that they work in contrasting media, traditional and electronic, except that this difference seemed to facilitate and clarify their engagement with each other.
The performance consisted of 20 minutes full of potential: a string chorale given caring electronic resonance, a gorgeous viola melody, a shadow dance by quartet completed by synthesizer with a flourish.
Two performances indicated that the younger Mr. Kurtag's contribution is thoroughly determined, but that he also has the opportunity to respond immediately to what is coming from the string players the Arditti Quartet, in most excellent form. It would be wonderful if his father could also take part spontaneously. A short film, ''Men's Doubles,'' suggested what might happen. Here father and son were seen pacing around a studio, improvising on an electronic keyboard.
One would play a melody; the other would play a melody. They would both think, with the same gesture of fingers cupped around the mouth and chin. This went on for a while until, purposefully, the older Mr. Kurtag strode to the keyboard and jabbed one note. His son raced to respond. Suddenly, sparks were flying. The electricity of that moment is in each of Mr. Kurtag's pieces. London has been feeling the jolts. View on timesmachine.
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MUSIC REVIEW; A Father And a Son Harmonize
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Ligeti, Melodien [HL:49006195]
He has been described as "one of the most important avant-garde composers in the latter half of the twentieth century" and "one of the most innovative and influential among progressive figures of his time". He became an Austrian citizen in He died in Vienna in Restricted in his musical style by the authorities of Communist Hungary, only when he reached the west in could Ligeti fully realise his passion for avant-garde music and develop new compositional techniques.
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