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Name of Work

Kurtág , György (1926-)
The Little Fix for piccolo, guitar, and trombone

Fanfare in the Manner of Mussorgsky
Hymn in the Manner of Stravinsky
Night Piece


Mar 16, 2008

Jennifer Gunn, Flute
Michael Mulcahy, Trombone
Fareed Haque, Guitar

Mar 17, 2008

Jennifer Gunn, Flute
Michael Mulcahy, Trombone
Fareed Haque, Guitar

KURTÁG-The Little Fix (Predicament) for piccolo, trombone and guitar

Composed in 1979

Gyorgy Kurtág both studied and taught at the famous Liszt Academy in Budapest. Emigrating briefly to Paris in the late 1950s, he was mentored by Olivier Messiaen, but the chief influences on his style, a unique one, have come from Webern, Stravinsky, and above all his fellow Hungarian of an earlier generation, Béla Bartók. In the wake of the 1956 revolution, Hungary fell under Soviet-style political and cultural repression, and Kurtág, perceived as a representative of the Western-influenced avant-garde, had few chances to have his music performed. He made a career instead as a teacher and coach (two former students are the noted pianists Zoltán Kocsis and András Schiff). Since leaving Hungary in 1993, Kurtag has been composer-in-residence with the Berlin Philharmonic, taught at the conservatories of Paris and The Hague, and worked with Paris' Ensemble InterContemporain. Most of his works have been for choral groups or small instrumental ensembles; he is essentially a miniaturist.

The little fix, or predicament, of the title refers to the unusual nature of the trio's scoring and the challenge of bringing the disparate voices into some kind of ensemble. Fanfare in the Manner of Mussorgsky is a ruminative melody for trombone alone; when the guitar and piccolo join in, we've proceeded, without pause, to Hymn in the Manner of Stravinsky, though it's more Webern-esque: a presentation of seemingly unrelated motives that fly in different directions only to unite for brief seconds. In the Scherzo, the guitarist sometimes plucks his strings and sometimes strikes them with percussive effect, punctuating the agitated, evanescent figures argued by trombone and piccolo. The final Night Piece begins ominously and stays that way. Low growls on the trombone are answered by trilling, brilliant, almost angry outbursts from the piccolo, with the guitar adding its totally different tone color in brief strummings. This is not a gentle night, but a subtly threatening one. The music dies out with a final trombone rumble.

Program Notes by Andrea Lamoreaux

Performance date: March 16 & 17, 2008

Performance Audio

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