Kurtág Is Kurtág

There are textbooks of logic which begin "a=a"; there are stories which are called similarly: "The main city of Salzburg is Salzburg" (E.E. Kisch) - and others, which finish so: "I am I!" (M. Kundera). Why, therefor, could not be called so a critique of a concert? Kurtág is Kurtág, if he composes either dodecafonical, sonical or with a method less-heavy and postmodern.

And from this opinion also developed our entirely non-formal a lively polemics (as if we knew each other for years) with Hungarian singer Adrienne Csengery and me, after her concert in the Old-Tennis-Hall of Prague Castle. On the 9th October accompanied her there - and more than one hour - only one violinist, András Keller. But before describing the mentioned polemics, let us tell the basics of the concert.

It were Kafka Fragmente, op. 24, that were realised there and that Kurtág wrote in 1985-86. By the concert were present the president of republic, Polish ex-prime-minister T. Mazowiecki, Hungarian ambassador Gy. Varga, delegation of the Hungarian Cultural House - but visible were also TV-moderator Ms. Anna Wetlinská, a few intellectuals of Sarajevo and a couple of our composers, journalists and critics. So, at the concert were missing only two: Gy. Kurtág and Fr. Kafka. From these two, the first one has offered evidently rather realistic views into he spiritual world of the second one. And this surely does not mean any narrow ambitus of the statuses of experience with the human being! Ranging from speaking till a real yelling, from a spider-web in flautato till a desperate (the word used here as a character of creative expression!) attempts to make with one violin a symphonic tutti. Also a collage of the hints of different styles was of-many-colours: a coral, the mahlerian principle of a simple song (maybe a reminiscence of Mahler himself), manneristic sound-painting (in connection while mentioning birds and snakes), sonical effects of all types available on violin, microintervals changed with a great (but very pure, too) decim, Hungarian modes in both simple and sophisticated veil... As far concerned with Kafka and his 40 quotations of his day-books and letters, the key-words of them are loneliness, the fight for internal purity and sleeping. Also the scenic performance oscillated between an extreme strain and moments of an ostetntative relaxation of both artists (while sitting on chairs) between the parts of the composition.

The above mentioned discussion with Ms. Csengery concerned Kurtág's - according to her opinion - "substantial" change from the times when he put to music the sayings of P. Bornemisza. They are dodecafonical in a symphonic shape, while the today's composition is a cycle of songs, from the listeners' perspective more "edible", and with hints of different styles. According to Ms. Csengery, Kafka is - compared with Bornemisza - "something entirely different". My view, in contrast, is expressed in the title of the article. That is why, because Kurtág is such a strong personality, that even if he had available only "the terno of children songs" or "the negro pentatonics", the result would be nothing other, than just Kurtág! (But upon what we agreed together, it was Kurtág's catching the kafkian mood.) - And we can now meditate: what is the mission of a strong, crystallised personality, what message brings? This is valid both about Kafka and Kurtág.



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