György Kurtág, The Sayings of Peter Bornemisza, Op. 7: A "concerto" for Soprano and Piano, Volume 1
György Kurtág's The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza, Op.7 for soprano and piano (1963-68) is probably the most significant piece of music to have been composed in Hungary since the death of Bartók in 1945. It crowns Kurtág's first mature phase, and its musical motives have continued to reappear in his works ever since. Rachel Beckles Willson discusses the autobiographical associations at work in the piece, but also its essentially European character. The nature of the reflections on suffering and death in The Sayings, she argues, is emblematic of art from East Central Europe.Peter Bornemisza was a persecuted reform preacher in sixteenth-century Hungary. Beckles Willson examines why Kurtág chose particular texts by Bornemisza and explores the themes in the work of moral duty, sin, fear and death, and the ways in which these are played out in the music. The inspirational models of Schütz and Schoenberg are also discussed, and a series of interviews with performers of Kurtág's music offers particularly rich perspectives on the position of The Sayings in his output.The book features an accompanying CD of the work.
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