Kurtag: Aus der Ferne III; Officium breve; Ligatura-Message to Frances-Marie; String Quartet, Op. 1; Hommage à András Mihály

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COMPOSERS: Kurtag
LABELS: ECM
WORKS: Aus der Ferne III; Officium breve; Ligatura-Message to Frances-Marie; String Quartet, Op. 1; Hommage à András Mihály
PERFORMER: Miklós Perényi (cello), György Kurtág (celesta), Keller Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 453 258-2
György Kurtág’s unique, utterly consistent output is finally getting its proper representation on disc, with tributes for his seventieth birthday last year providing the final push towards the recognition he deserves. These four works for quartet, plus the two versions for two cellos, two violas and celesta of Ligatura-Message to Frances-Marie (The answered unanswered question) fill in another gap in the portrait. The music underlines the strength and single-mindedness of his achievement; its debt to Webern, certainly, in the miniaturised forms and the compressed expressivity, but also its emotional power and stark originality. There isn’t a bar here that is not unmistakably the work of a great composer, not a moment when the grip upon every facet of his material weakens. The Keller Quartet is a long-standing Kurtág collaborator, and these performances are as near definitive as anyone could wish. Urgently recommended. Andrew Clements

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