25. October 2018

Rückblick | Ensemble Musikfabrik rehearses with György Kurtág


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© Corinna Belz / Ensemble Musikfabrik

Camera: Iars Barthel
Sound: Andreas Hildebrandt
Editing: Rudi Heinen

György Kurtág has been part of my personal musical pantheon since my student days at the Musikhochschule in Karlsruhe. At that time I first encountered his compositions through CDs and concerts of the Ensemble Modern, especially the cycle of the Trussova songs and the piano concerto “… quasi una fantasia …”, which impressed me very deeply.

The admiration then intensified considerably when I experienced Kurtág’s teaching of classical chamber music. Days at the International Bartok Seminar in Szombathely and a master class week at the Hochschule in Cologne are unforgotten. The intensity and dedication with which he brought the works of Brahms, Schubert, Bartok and others to life was inimitable. So I was only too happy to dedicate an evening to the music of G. Kurtág as part of the Musikfabrik’s Monday concerts. When we were rehearsing the full-length cycle “Rückblick” with Marco, Florentin and Uli, Marco told us about the Asko Ensemble’s way of working with Kurtág. Due to his advanced age (92) and a state of health that no longer allows him to take on the strain of longer journeys, the musicians sent him recordings of rehearsals and productions. musicians sent him recordings of rehearsals and production sessions, which he listened to carefully and then sang, recorded and sent back his comments and interpretation wishes to the musicians. We had a similar way of working in mind, and so we wrote Kurtág a letter about a year ago in which we suggested this procedure. After some time of waiting, he answered with a direct telephone call, the course of which was extremely surprising and gratifying for me. For he was not only interested in getting to know our recordings, but rather wanted to listen to us in person and get to know us. listen to us in person and get to know us.

He invited us to a week of rehearsals in Budapest at the BMC (Budapest Music Center) to work on Rückblick. The encounter during this week helped us tremendously to understand the work and to perform it authentically with the intended musicality. I won’t forget those days in Budapest and I think I can speak for all 4 of us when I say that we are very grateful to have experienced this together.”

Benjamin Kobler, keyboards


Rückblick, Altes und Neues für 4 Spieler, Hommage à Stockhausen (1993) will be performed by Ensemble Musikfabrik at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam on 28/02/2019.