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Budapest with Bartók, Kurtág, Sáry and Balance

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Budapest with Bartók, Kurtág, Sáry and Balance

György and Márta Kurtág: Play Kurtág

Incredible quality and sensitivity heralds the unmatched pianism of György and Márta Kurtág on this repertoire, cured as if in rare wine over 40 years and more. This disc, György and Márta Kurtág: Play Kurtág an undying faithfulness to form and understanding of the music’s architecture, the nuanced agogics and astonishing artistic suppleness. The first books of “Games” are today seen as a piano method – as if the pieces were intended not so much for concert performance as for honing piano technique and musical thinking. In addition to the ‘philological’ lessons to be learned, and beyond the direct benefit to those working with the pieces, these recordings are made particularly important by the sensual aspect of this music-making. As recordings go, this disc is a gem. The warm sound suggest a nearness to the works and as the players perform, allowing phrases to unfold in all their hushed splendour and whatever the psychological provenance of these pieces are recast with great intensity and feeling.

Track List – György Kurtág: Games; György Kurtág Suite for Four Hands.
Personnel – György Kurtág: piano; Márta Kurtág: piano.

Running time 40:49

László Sáry: Hyperion’s Song of Destiny

Hyperion’s Song of Destiny by Friedrich Hölderlin demands that this music’s ascent to a rarefied realm. Only then can the words that set the stage for all that is to follow on this disc be realised: “You meander above in the light/On mellow terrain,/you blessed spirits!/Radiant airs divine/Caress you softly,/Like feminine fingers/On sacred strings./Celestial souls breathe/as infants, destiny-free;/Chastely guarded/In humble buds,/ Their spirit/Blooms forever,/Happy eyes/Peering into calm,/Eternal brightness.” And it is in this “world of sacred things” that these seven works by László Sáry dwell in their interconnectedness, not only with the hypnotic world of Friedrich Hölderlin but in the Surreality of Sáry’s as well. The BHKZ Academy, with MR Symphony Orchestra Winds, Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis, and Artistic Director, Tamás Bubnó, together with conductor Géza Gémesi and the soloists are simply brilliant throughout.

The repertoire is arranged as if encasing Hyperion within the layers of an onion. The outer skin is provided by two settings of poems by Sándor Weöres. The second layer encloses Hyperion’s Song of Destiny and consists of two instrumental compositions. “In memoriam Igor Stravinsky (1980, rev. 2001)” was written for twenty-four wind instruments, recalling the orchestration of the Russian master’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments (1920). The third innermost skin surrounding Hyperion is two versions of the same composition. “The people who have loved me will pass away,/and the town will burst anew every year./But my spirit will always wander nostalgic/in the same recondite corner of my flowery garden.”

Track List – 1: There’s Only Ever What There Is; 2: In Memoriam Igor Stravinsky; 3: Journey to Ixtlan; 4: Hyperion’s Song of Destiny; 5: El viaje definitivo; 6: Ludus Choralis; 7: Hexagramm.
Personnel – BHKZ Academy (1, 3 – 7); MR Symphony Orchestra Winds (2); Schola Cantorum Budapestiensis; Artistic Director: Tamás Bubnó (1 – 7); Conducted by Géza Gémesi; Soloists Klára Csordás:
mezzosoprano (3, 5); Lajos Lencsés: English horn (5); Horia Dumitrache: clarinet (5); Lajos Rozmán: clarinet (5); Anna Mérey: violin (6); István Lukácsházi: double bass (6).

Running time 55:14

János Ávéd |Márton Fenyvesi |Ákos Benkó: Balance

At first glance the Balance disc might seem out of place among these three other discs, it is also a natural fit for this other highly experimental music that embraces both permanence and change. Like the music of Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, later-day patron saints of Hungarian music, these songs written by János Ávéd and by Balance are all based on the mixture of folk wisdom and sophisticated poetic conceits and they celebrate the natural world and its regenerative powers in the face of both natural and supernatural phenomena. Each begins arrestingly with either saxophone or flute and with the addition of the drums, acquires emotional weight as it goes along. The seriousness with which Balance – which includes János Ávéd on saxophones and flute, Márton Fenyvesi on guitar and Ákos Benkó on drums – approach these works is evident, and the forces are ideal: single voices amplified as a potent trio as required provide atmospheric rarity and a powerful sonorous imprint to all of this music. This is clearly a disc not to be missed.

Track List – 1: Whirlwind; 2: For Bro; 3: It’s Pretty Drafty; 4: The Surprise; 5: Abarta’s Wind; 6: 12; 7: Quincerot; 8: Electric 1; 9: Then There Was a Lull; 10: Blackout; 11: For Bro (Reprise).
Personnel – János Ávéd: saxophones and flute; Márton Fenyvesi: guitar; Ákos Benkó: drums.

Running time – 53:14

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