In Memoriam Haydee: Jatekok (Games and Transcriptions)

Marta & Gyorgy Kurtag

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ECM New Series
February 16, 2015

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Subtitled 'Játékok - Games and Transcriptions for piano solo and four hands', this is a film, directed by Isabelle Soulard, of a concert given in September 2012 at Paris's Cité de la Musique by the composer György Kurtág and his wife.

The duo performances of Márta and György Kurtág have long been distinguished by flinty new music precision, matched by a quick-witted playfulness and underpinned by a quality of affection. "What playing!" raved the New Yorker's Alex Ross of a 'Játékok' concert. "Notes were placed with surgical care; inner voices gleamed in crystalline patterns; elusive emotional states were painted with quick, light strokes."

From its origins in the early 1970s as a good-humoured unsystematic approach to teaching contemporary keyboard techniques to young players (early pieces in the series included use of clusters, glissandi, harmonics, playing with palms and forearms - a wide range of gestures), 'Játékok' (Games) has developed into a compendium of epigrammatic homages, jewelled miniatures dedicated to composers from Scarlatti to Stravinsky and Christian Wolff, and tributes to colleagues and influences.

In this special case the whole programme - 40 pieces plus three encores - is dedicated to the memory of the Kurtágs' good friend, musicologist Haydée Charbagi (1979-2008). Interspersed amongst György Kurtág's pieces are his much-admired Bach transcriptions - 'Játékok' is a work that has gained strength through contrasting and cross-referencing with other music. The whole programme closes with a radiant version of Bach's 'Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit'.

Among ECM's many widely-praised recordings of Kurtág's music is a 1997 CD of 'Játékok' (4535112), likewise performed by the composer and his wife. "A very special experience - as memorable and as profound as any to be had from new music today," said Gramophone.

Personnel: Marta Kurtag, Gyorgy Kurtag (piano)

More Info

Key Value
Catalogue number 0762896
Barcode 0044007628966
Number of items 1
Packaging type Digipak
Imported No
BBFC rating exempt
DVD Region 0
Weight 100g
Dimensions (LxWxH) 130mm x 11mm x 190mm

Disc 1

Track Listing — Disc 1

Song Title Time
1. Adieu, Haydée I -
2. J.S. Bach: Nun komm' der Heiden Heiland (BWV 599) -
3. Flowers we are... (embracing sounds) -
4. J.S.Bach: Aus tiefer Not schrei' ich zu dir (BWV 687) In memoriam Joannis Pilinszky -
5. Prelude and Chorale, I. Prelude -
6. II. Choral for Benjamin Rajeczky's 80th Birthday -
7. Knots -
8. Antiphony in F sharp -
9. Lamentation (1) -
10. Hommage à Christian Wolff (Half-asleep) -
11. Playing with overtones -
12. Draft-sheet for Tünde Szitha -
13. ...and once more: Flowers we are... -
14. Beating - Quarelling -
15. Study to Pilinszky's Hölderlin (position exercise) -
16. J.S.Bach: Sonatina from Actus tragicus, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (BWV 106) -
17. Hommage à Stravinsky - Bells -
18. Furious Chorale -
19. Hoquetus -
20. Palm stroke -
21. Campanule -
22. Thistle -
23. Stubbunny -
24. Merran's dream (Caliban detecting - rebuilding Mirranda's dream) -
25. Hommage à Domenico Scarlatti -
26. Aus der ferne (for Alfred Schlee's 80th Birthday) -
27. J.S.Bach: Duo No.3 in G major (BWV 804) -
28. J.S.Bach: Das alte Jahr vergangen ist (BWV 614) -
29. J.S.Bach: Alle Menschen müssen sterben (BWV 643) -
30. J.S.Bach: First movement from Trio Sonata in E flat major (BWV 525) -
31. Lamentation -
32. Lamentation (2) In memoriam Ligeti Ilona -
33. Tumble-bunny -
34. Hommage à Kurtág Márta -
35. J.S.Bach: O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig (BWV 618) -
36. Evocation of Petrushka: Hommage à Farkas Ferenc (3) -
37. Adoration, adoration, accursed desolation... : Hommage à Farkas Ferenc (4) -
38. Hommage à Soproni (in memoriam matris carissimae) -
39. Hommage à Halmágyi Mihály -
40. Scraps of a colinda melody - faintly recollected: Hommage à Farkas Ferenc (2) -
41. Hommage à Stravinsky - Bells -
42. J.S.Bach: Duo No.3 in G major (BWV 804) -
43. J.S.Bach: J.S.Bach: Sonatina from Actus tragicus, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (BWV 106) -