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The great viola player Kim Kashkashian has long been one of the most outstanding protagonists of modern composition and this bold and subtle account of solo music by the great Hungarian composers György Kurtág and György Ligeti is a landmark recording. Kurtág’s Signs, Games and Messages (1989- in progress) in its 19 aphoristic sections is as demanding as Ligeti’s Sonata for viola (1991-94), but Kashkashian surmounts the very different challenges of the works, and points towards the qualities that unite these composers. As ever, she gets to the heart of the music, and unravels its secrets.
In his liner note, Wolfgang Sandner comments: “For twenty years Kim Kashkashian has devoted herself to Kurtág’s complex oeuvre for the viola and developed a remarkable rapport for the relation between compositional fabric and sonic nuance. In the thoughtful dramaturgical sequence of this recording, and in Kashkashian’s scrupulous reading, these Kurtág pieces, and the six movements of Ligeti’s Viola Sonata that follows them, seem like the work of a single visionary artist – conveyed in hidden signs and coded messages.”
Amongst her many notable albums for ECM New Series, Kashkashian has recorded Kurtág’s Movement for viola and orchestra (4654202) and also his Nine Pieces for Solo Viola, the early Jelek for viola, op 5, and the chamber work Hommage à R.Sch. (4379572). This is the ninth disc on the label devoted in whole or in part to Kurtág’s music.
György Kurtág: Signs, Games and Messages for Strings
In Nomine – all’ongherese (Damjanich emlékkő)
Csendes sorok Dobszay Lászlónak
Levél Ligeti Verának
Zöld erdőből magyar nóta
Virág Zsigmondy Dénesnek
In memoriam Blum Tamás
In memoriam Aczél György
H.J. – nóta
The Carenza Jig
Kroó György in memoriam
Hommage à John Cage (Elakadó Szavak)
Четыре сплетённых тела... / Négy összefonódó test — Gerlóczy Sári kiállítására
György Ligeti: Sonata for viola solo
Prestissimo con sordino
30th September 2012
“Wisps, fragments, gestures, aphorisms: it's impossible to pin down the 19 tiny pieces that make up Kurtág's Signs, Games and Messages...They are perfectly projected by the Armenian-American violist Kim Kashkashian...[the Ligeti] sounds massive and solid by comparison, though it is equally elusive, equally original.”
“Each piece is beautifully crafted but collectively may be too much of a good thing, even in such a superb rendition. A disc for specialists, perhaps, but a special one.”
“It's a testament to Kim Kashkashian's intellectual and digital stamina that attention never flags...The terse and dramatic music-making here is expertly realised by Kashkashian, who is fearless in her exploration of its manifold difficulties and rewards.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.