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Athena String Quartet|Kurtag: Complete Works for String Quartet

Kurtag: Complete Works for String Quartet

Athena String Quartet

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It has become a cliché to describe the music of György Kurtág as "aphoristic," but it's hard to avoid applying the term to the composer's concise, apt, striking, intensely focused musical utterances. This 2011 CD includes the complete string quartets he had written up to that time, covering a span of half a century. It lasts 70 minutes and has 45 tracks, the shortest taking 17 seconds and the longest a practically monumental four and a half minutes. Kurtág's genius lies in making every movement feel like it lasts just exactly as long as it ought to -- each makes a complete statement and then is done -- it's an attribute many composers could benefit from learning. Five of these pieces are single movements, but most of the tracks are part of multi-movement works. The composer's tonal language can be dense, but the brevity of each movement allows the listener to focus on its expressive intent. In the 16-movement Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánsky there is plenty of variety in the character of the movements -- in their tempo, volume, harmony, texture, and counterpoint -- but the overall tone is clearly one of mourning. The single-movement "Arioso -- Hommage à Walter Levin 85" ("in the manner of Alban Berg") is played twice, on the first and last tracks, a lovely, lyrical, melancholy adagio that beautifully frames the album. Athena Quartet plays the rigorously demanding music with precision and obvious understanding of its emotional core. This is not music for casual listening, but it richly rewards focused attention. The sound of the hybrid SACD is clean, detailed, and clear.
© TiVo

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Kurtag: Complete Works for String Quartet

Athena String Quartet

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Arioso - Hommage a Walter Levin 85 (György Kurtág)

1
Arioso - Hommage a Walter Levin 85 (performance with wooden mutes)
00:03:21

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

6 Moments musicaux, Op. 44 (György Kurtág)

2
No. 1. Invocatio (Un fragment)
00:01:23

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

3
No. 2. Footfalls
00:02:37

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

4
No. 3. Capriccio
00:01:29

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

5
No. 4. In memoriam Gyorgy Sebok
00:03:26

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

6
No. 5. …rappel des oiseaux… (l'etude pour les harmoniques)
00:02:36

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

7
No. 6. Les adieux (in Janaceks manier)
00:03:02

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

Hommage a Jacob Obrecht (György Kurtág)

8
Hommage a Jacob Obrecht
00:04:41

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervanszky, Op. 28 (György Kurtág)

9
I. Largo
00:00:32

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

10
II. Piu andante
00:00:37

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

11
III. Sostenuto, quasi giusto
00:00:36

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

12
IV. Grave, molto sostenuto
00:00:34

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

13
V. (Fantasie uber die Harmonien des Webern-Kanons): Presto
00:00:42

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

14
VI. (Canon a 4): Molto agitato
00:00:16

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

15
VII. Canon a 2 (frei, nach op. 31/VI von Webern): Sehr fliessend
00:00:34

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

16
VIII. Lento
00:00:35

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

17
IX. Largo
00:00:52

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

18
X. Sehr fliessend (arr. of Webern: Cantata No. 2, Op. 31: VI: Canon a 4)
00:00:26

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

19
Xa. A tempo - X. Da capo al Fine
00:00:57

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

20
XI. Sostenuto
00:02:04

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

21
XII. Sostenuto, quasi giusto
00:00:38

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

22
XIII. Sostenuto, con slancio
00:00:53

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

23
XIV. Disperato, vivo
00:00:48

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

24
XV. Arioso interrotto (di Endre Szervanszky): Larghetto
00:01:24

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

Aus der Ferne V (György Kurtág)

25
Aus der Ferne V
00:03:10

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

Hommage a Mihaly Andras, '12 Microludes for String Quartet', Op. 13 (György Kurtág)

26
No. 1. —
00:00:48

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

27
No. 2. —
00:00:24

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

28
No. 3. —
00:00:32

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

29
No. 4. Presto
00:00:15

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

30
No. 5. Lontano, calmo, appena sentito
00:02:29

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

31
No. 6. —
00:01:22

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

32
No. 7. —
00:00:40

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

33
No. 8. Con slancio
00:00:21

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

34
No. 9. —
00:00:54

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

35
No. 10. Molto agitato
00:00:31

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

36
No. 11. —
00:01:45

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

37
No. 12. Leggiero, con moto, non dolce
00:01:11

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

Aus der Ferne III (György Kurtág)

38
Aus der Ferne III
00:03:06

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

String Quartet, Op. 1 (György Kurtág)

39
I. Poco agitato
00:01:15

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

40
II. Con moto
00:01:50

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

41
III. Vivacissimo - Lento
00:03:08

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

42
IV. Con spirito
00:01:56

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

43
V. Molto ostinato
00:02:10

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

44
VI. Adagio
00:04:08

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

Arioso - Hommage a Walter Levin 85 (György Kurtág)

45
Arioso - Hommage a Walter Levin 85 (performance with metallic mutes)
00:03:02

Athena String Quartet, Ensemble - György Kurtag, Composer

2013 NEOS Music 2013 NEOS Music

Album Description

It has become a cliché to describe the music of György Kurtág as "aphoristic," but it's hard to avoid applying the term to the composer's concise, apt, striking, intensely focused musical utterances. This 2011 CD includes the complete string quartets he had written up to that time, covering a span of half a century. It lasts 70 minutes and has 45 tracks, the shortest taking 17 seconds and the longest a practically monumental four and a half minutes. Kurtág's genius lies in making every movement feel like it lasts just exactly as long as it ought to -- each makes a complete statement and then is done -- it's an attribute many composers could benefit from learning. Five of these pieces are single movements, but most of the tracks are part of multi-movement works. The composer's tonal language can be dense, but the brevity of each movement allows the listener to focus on its expressive intent. In the 16-movement Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánsky there is plenty of variety in the character of the movements -- in their tempo, volume, harmony, texture, and counterpoint -- but the overall tone is clearly one of mourning. The single-movement "Arioso -- Hommage à Walter Levin 85" ("in the manner of Alban Berg") is played twice, on the first and last tracks, a lovely, lyrical, melancholy adagio that beautifully frames the album. Athena Quartet plays the rigorously demanding music with precision and obvious understanding of its emotional core. This is not music for casual listening, but it richly rewards focused attention. The sound of the hybrid SACD is clean, detailed, and clear.
© TiVo

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