Reinbert de Leeuw / Asko|Schönberg / Netherlands Radio Choir GYÖRGY KURTÁG Complete Works for Ensemble and Choir

Recorded in Amsterdam’s  Musikgebouw and Haarlem’s Philharmonie between March 2013 and July 2016, this 3-CD Set is a milestone in the documentation of Hungarian composer György Kurtág’s s work and also a labour of love.  It brings together all of Kurtàg’s works for ensemble and for ensemble and choir. The insightful and precise performances bear witness to extensive preparation by the dedicated Asko/Schoenberg Ensemble. Conductor Reinbert de Leeuw  speaks of “learning Kurtág’s oeuvre step by step, and performing these pieces repeatedly over a period of twenty years.”  De Leeuw consulted extensively with György and Márta Kurtág before and after each session: “There were moments when I was overwhelmed at first hearing”, says the famously-demanding Kurtág, “and we could embrace the result immediately. But sometimes we were critical. The fact that Reinbert always listened to our remarks and re-recorded fragments or even whole pieces makes this publication authentic.”  Works heard here are presented in chronological order of composition, beginning with the Four Capriccios (1959-1970, rev. 1993) and continuing with Four Songs to Poems by János Pilinszky (1975),  Grabstein für Stephan (1978-79, rev. 1989), Messages of the late Miss R. Troussova (1976-80), …quasi una fantasia… (1987-88), Op. 27 No. 2 Double Concerto (1989-90), Samuel Beckett: What is the Word (1991), Songs of Despair and Sorrow (1980-1994), Songs to Poems by Anna Akhmatova (1997-2008),  Colindă-Baladă (2010),  and Brefs Messages (2011).   Extensive CD booklet includes all song texts with translations, an interview with Reinbert de Leeuw, liner notes by Wolfgang Sandner and Paul Griffith, and a statement by György Kurtág. (ECM Records)

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