Kurtág’s new orchestral composition

Kurtág’s new orchestral composition

The more than six-decade-long friendship between György Kurtág and György Ligeti began in 1945, when they were both admitted to the composition department of the Budapest Academy of Music. Over the next ten years, their lives were closely intertwined, but their relationship remained unbroken even after Ligeti immigrated to Western Europe in 1956. Greeting Ligeti on his 70th birthday, Kurtág confessed: "Ligeti guided me for a long time, all my life. ... – for myself, I call this my 'Imitatio Christi' syndrome."

At a commission of the Budapest Music Center, for the centenary of Ligeti's birth, the 97-year-old Kurtág created a new orchestral piece entitled Ligeti's Century, which is premiered on May 28 in Budapest. The last one of the composition’s three short movements, is a reimagined orchestral version of an earlier piano piece from Games VII (Venturing in the Past – Ligature for Ligeti’s birthday with love), while the double introduction that precedes it unfolds the folk song allusions of the Ligature, and presents “signature chorales” ranging from the BACH motifs to Ligeti quotations, respectively.

The Ligeti Ensemble, which specializes in Ligeti works, participates at the world premiere, conducted by András Keller, one of the committed performers of Kurtág works.

Photo: Andrea Felvégi