43 Songs, 40 Minutes


About György Kurtág

Kurtag studied composition, piano and chamber music at the Budapest Academy of Music, and later continued his study of composition at the Paris Conservatoire, where Messiaen was one of his professors. He served as a music teacher at the Bartok Secondary Music School, the National Philharmonia in Hungary and the Budapest Academy of Music. He received three Erkel Prizes and the Kossuth Prize for his achievements. An impeccable technician, Kurtag's pieces are generally small scale. He was influenced throughout his career by Bartok and Kodaly, Webern and Stockhausen. He made use of such techniques as octave transpositions, counterpoint and 12-tone rows. He borrowed from Hungarian speech and strophic peasant song for his rhythms and, like Bartok, made use of the pentatonics inherent in these songs. One of his outstanding works is The Sayings of Peter Bornemisza, a concerto for soprano and piano. Most of his previous work had been instrumental, and this work with its text taken from a 16th century sermon, reflects his interest in history and literature. ~ Lynn Vought

Lugoj, Romania
February 19, 1926