Friday, February 27, 2009

Kurtag: Akhmatova Poems, Splinters, Troussova Messages live from Carnegie Hall Jan 31, 2009

If you're not familiar with Gyorgy Kurtag, 
Hurry Up Please Its Time .

Eotvos Conducts Kurtag at
 Carnegie Hall, 2009

Peter Eötvös,conductor
Natalia Zagorinskaya, soprano 
Katalin Károlyi, mezzo-soprano
Ildikó Vékony, cimbalom
Miklós Perényi, cello 
UMZE Ensemble
Amadinda Percussion Group

Zankel Hall, New York City

(alt. art thanks to Arno)

January 31st, 2009

MR3 Bartók Radio internet stream 320 kbit/s
recorded and uploaded by KaKa (thank for the good s.. uh, stuff)
The concert included Ligeti performances, which KaKa has linked in the comments.

Messages of the Late R.V. Troussova, Op. 17

Splinters, Op. 6c

Four Poems by Anna Akhmatova, Op. 41- World Premiere:

  • I. Pushkin (1997) pour soprano solo, dédié à Natalia Melnikova.
  • II. Alexandru Bloku (1997) pour soprano solo.
  • III. Plach - Prichitanie (1997), pour soprano et instruments, dédié à Márta Papp.
  • IV. Voronezh (in progress), pour soprano et ensemble.

Kurtag's music is mostly super short pieces, linked together by many levels of connective tissue. Perfect for the ADHD set hungry for depth. Any given piece feels like an emotional snapshot; it gives some mechanism of my inner life expression in a quick, immediate and faithful language. It feels right.

Bruce Hodges from MusicWeb International's site had some illuminating comments on this concert. Calling the first part "uncompromising", He writes about "Messages of the Late R. V. Troussova, a 21-song cycle using wrenching, hallucinatory texts by Rimma Dalos, a Russian poet living in Hungary.  When soprano Natalia Zagorinskaya began "Odinochestvo" ("Loneliness"), her voice seemed a bit small for the job.  But then it turned out that her wan tone, capped with a desolate glissando at the end, was merely her strategy for the opening, rather than revealing all of Kurtág's colors at once. 

The cycle grows progressively stranger, with a cumulative effect that is harrowing.  The introduction to "Chastushka" (which begins, "Bite me on the head, bite me on the breast!") sounds like a deranged marching band.  The composer sets "Great misery—that's love.  Is there any greater happiness?" with delicate cimbalom strokes, as if the words would somehow be comforting.  "Kameshki" ("Pebbles") uses kaleidoscopic instrumental colors to depict the stones, and in "Tonkaia igla" ("A slender needle"), the effect is piercing, like glass breaking.  Ms. Zagorinskaya was in complete control of Kurtág's unconventional meldings of music and text, and the UMZE Ensemble provided exquisitely calibrated touches of sound—truly, sometimes that's all they were—to assist her.

In what may have been the night's sleeper hit, Ildikó Vékony gave a virtuoso performance of Splinters, originally conceived for guitar and adapted for cimbalom.  In four compact movements totaling seven minutes, it covers a huge array of textures, before reaching a haunting ending with a low D, repeated softly as it fades into the distance.  Ms. Vékony's concentration on the instrument was almost supernatural.  Only after a respectful silence at the end did the audience break out into whoops of delight.  As she took her curtain calls she seemed slightly stunned, as if she didn't quite know what she had accomplished.

Ms. Zagorinskaya and the UMZE musicians returned for the world premiere of Four Poems by Anna Akhmatova, written over the span of a decade.  It is brief, gossamer and adds a huge array of percussion instruments to the chamber ensembl
e.  The final song, "Voronezh," incorporates a whip and a siren to evoke "…a whole town…encased in ice…Trees, walls, snow, as if under glass."


Guillermo said...

includes some lame attempt at cover art and extra info in the txt file.

KaKa said...

Thank you very much for posting my recording on medafire too and for championing the music of Kurtág on your blog.

I´ve recorded the second part of the concert too from the same scource. It was an all Ligeti program including Miklós Perényi playing the Cello Concerto, "Melodien" (UMZE, Eötvös) and Amadinda Percussion Group with mezzo-soprano Katalin Károlyi performing "Sippal, dobbal, nádihegedüvel", one of Ligeti´s last works.

Here are the links (sorry, no cover art):

Guillermo said...

I updated the info on the post accordingly, Kaka, and thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanx a lot for both the kurtag and ligeti posts. awesome job!
However, i had 2 minor probs with the tracklist of "Messages of the late Miss R.V. Troussova".

1. "A slender needle" appears twice (tracks 10 & 11. accordin to a tracklist from freedb track 11 should read as "I know my loved one"

2. track 18 "A Plaything" is missing at all.
i have no idea whether it has been broadcasted or not.

i'd really appreciate your help to clarify these.

you'll find a cover i made here


Guillermo said...

I just downloaded the folder, and track 18 is Delight and Grief #12, "A plaything..." (which is given a wonderfully incisive exploration on the web, some grad student's paper, I think) , Maybe if you try it again it will appear? The tracks #s 10 and 11 are indeed both named "A slender needle", I erred. (Cheese dip?) Forbear the redundancy, please, and rename track # 11
"III. Bitter Experience - Delight and Grief: No. 5. I know"

Thanks for the heads up!

Guillermo said...

And, Anonymous (why that?), Thank you so much for the cover!

Anonymous said...

hi guillermo,

thanx for immediate response.
track 18 had just too many letters so i couldn't extract it. after renaming everything's been fine. thanx again.

"Thank you so much for the cover!"
glad you kike it

"why that?"
why what? you mean why anonymous? i think "arno" is just a fine name, at least in germany.

keep on your good work


Bruce Hodges said...

Guillermo, just found your blog, and thanks for mentioning my review of the recent Kurtág Troussova performance at Zankel Hall. I do think he's one of the world's great living composers. Lately, I've been thinking that I'd like his orchestral piece, Stele, played at my memorial service. (Which I hasten to add, I'm not planning any time soon.)

Keep up the good work, and I'm adding your blog to the ones I keep tabs on.

Guillermo said...

Thank back atcha, Brucem your blog is really cool-wish I'd seen the stuff about the MATA fest a week earlier!!agh

Guillermo said...

maybe someone snuck a pcm recorder into a few of those rooms...

Anonymous said...

OMG!! Thank you! I wanted to see this concert so much and I couldn't go... now I find this randomly, just searching for info on the Troussova cycle!

sasha said...

Wow! What a treasure chest of modern Hungarian music..Almost missed the Ligeti posting..Most wonderful..Many thanks.