music clip of the day


Tag: György Kurtág

Thursday, January 17th


Kim Kashkashian (viola), “character pieces” by György Kurtág (1926-), live, Cambridge, Mass., 2018




reading table

the sound of the moat
cracking . . .
winter moon

—Kobayashi Issa, 1763-1827 (translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue)

Monday, May 8th

sounds of consolation

Johann Sebastian Bach, Actus Tragicus (Sonatina), transcription by György Kurtág; Márta and György Kurtág (piano), live, Budapest, 2015



random sights

this morning, Chicago (Columbus Park)

Saturday, May 6th

never enough

Johann Sebastian Bach, transcriptions by György Kurtág
Márta and György Kurtág (piano), live, Budapest, 2015



reading table

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), talking about words
BBC radio broadcast, April 29, 1937


Tuesday, December 3rd

career plans for the next life

If none of those other things pan out (tap dancer, rubboard playerreggae bassist, guitarist in a Malian band), I might give cellist-in-a-string-quartet a shot.

Keller String Quartet, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), The Art of the Fugue (excerpts); György Kurtág (1926-), Officium Breve (excerpts)

Tuesday, October 8th


György Kurtág (1926-),  Perpetuum Mobile (from Játékok [Games])



reading table

‘There is no God and Mary is His Mother.’

—Robert Lowell (1917-1977), “For George Santayana” (excerpt)

Wednesday, July 31st

More sounds from the shadows.

György Kurtág (1926-), 12 Microludes for String Quartet (Hommage à Mihály András) (1978), Maxwell Quartet, live, Scotland (Argyllshire), 2012



reading table

By George Oppen (1908-1984)

The bulk of it
In air

Is what they wanted. Compassion
Above the doors, the doorways

Mary the woman and the others
The lesser

Are dreams on the structure. But that a stone
Supports another

That the stones
Stand where the masons locked them

Above the farmland
Above the will

Because a hundred generations
Back of them and to another people

The world cried out above the mountain

Tuesday, July 9th

They play each note as if, at that particular moment, nothing in the world is more important.

György Kurtág (1926-) and Márta Kurtág, live, Kurtág (Játékok [Games]) and Bach (miscellaneous transcriptions), Paris, 2012



musical (and other) thoughts

Q. One last question—are you a believer?

A [G. Kurtág]. I do not know. I toy with the idea. Consciously, I am certainly an atheist, but I do not say it out loud, because if I look at Bach, I cannot be an atheist. Then I have to accept the way he believed. His music never stops praying. And how can I get closer if I look at him from the outside? I do not believe in the Gospels in a literal fashion, but a Bach fugue has the Crucifixion in it—as the nails are being driven in. In music, I am always looking for the hammering of the nails. . . . That is a dual vision. My brain rejects it all. But my brain isn’t worth much.

—Alex Ross, New Yorker blog, quoting György Kurtág: Three Interviews and Ligeti Homages (2009)

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