Gyorgy Kurtag

Gyorgy Kurtag was born on 19th February 1926 at Lugoj in Romania, not far from the birthplace of fellow hungarian Gyorgy Ligeti. Both young composers hoped to study with Bela Bartok in Budapest in 1945, but Bartok died in America and Kurtag went on to study piano, composition and chamber music with other teachers at the Budapest Academy. Among his early works was a Korean Cantata which expressed solidarity with the North Koreans in the Korean War against the US, but he reached the age of thirty-three before he was willing to give any of his works opus numbers.

In the early 1950s the Stalinist regime in Hungary proscribed Bartok's later works, and immediately his music became a rallying call for artists taking a stand against authoritarianism. Also banned in Hungary until the mid-1950s was the music of Arnold Schoenberg, and the middle and late-period works of Igor Stravinsky. To escape this creative straitjacket Kurtag moved to Paris in 1957 to study music with Olivier Messiaen, Darius Milhaud and Max Deutsch. He also had consultations with the Hungarian art psychologist Marianne Stein, and it was her advice that would prove most influential on his future development. While in Paris he wrote his first String Quartet, designating it 'opus 1' to mark a decisive break from his compositions to date. He returned to Budapest in 1958, stopping for a few days in Cologne where he first heard recordings of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Gruppen and Ligeti's recent electronic music. This experience would also prove important in formulating his new compositional voice.

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1973-1974 Jatekok 4.00 stars 2 CD
Sonate Comments:
Marta Kurtag - Piano
Zoltan Kurtag - Piano
1986 Drei Alte Inschriften 4.00 stars 2 CD
Sonate Comments:
Adrienne Csengery - Soprano
Zoltan Korsis - Piano
1986-1987 Requiem po drugu (Requiem for a Friend) Opus 26 4.00 stars 2 CD
Sonate Comments:
Adrienne Csengery - Soprano
Zoltan Kocsis - Piano
1987-1988 .....quasi una fantasia..... Opus 27 4.00 stars CD
Sonate Comments:
Zoltan Kocsis - Piano
Budapester Festival Orchester cond. Peter Eotvos
1961 - 1989 Einfuerung zu Opus 27 4.00 stars 2 CD
Sonate Comments:
Solists
Budapester Festival Orchester cond. Peter Eotvos
1989 Grabstein fuer Stephan in memoriam Stephan Stein 3.50 stars 2 CD
Sonate Comments:
Juergen Rueck - Guitar
Budapester Festival Orchester cond. Peter Eotvos
1989 Grabstein fuer Stephan in memoriam Stephan Stein 3.50 stars CD
Sonate Comments:
Juergen Ruck - Guitar
Berliner Philharmoniker cond. Claudio Abbado
1989-1990 Doppelkonsert Opus 27 No 2 3.50 stars 2 CD
Sonate Comments:
For piano, cello, and two ensembles

Zoltan Kocsis - Piano
Miklos Perenyl - Cello
Budapester Festival Orchester cond. Peter Eotvos

1990-1991 What is the Word Opus 30b 3.50 stars 2 CD
Sonate Comments:
Solists
Budapester Festival Orchester cond. Peter Eotvos
1994 Stele 3.50 stars CD
Sonate Comments:
Berliner Philharmoniker cond. Claudio Abbado
Compilation Music for Strings 3.50 stars CD
Comments:
Aus der Ferne III (1990), for String Quartet 

Officium Breve, Op. 28, in Memoriam Andreae Szervánszky (1988-89), for String Quartet

Ligatura - Message to Frances-Marie (The Answered Unanswered Question), Op. 31/b (1989), for 2 Cellos, 2 Violins and Celesta (Version 1) 

Quartetto per Archi, Op. 1 (1959), for String Quartet

Hommage à Mihály András, Op. 13 (1977-78), for String Quartet

Ligatura - Message to Frances-Marie (The Answered Unanswered Question), Op. 31/b (1989), for 2 Cellos, 2 Violins and Celesta (Version 2)

Keller Quartet