Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

2

Kim Kashkashian: Kurtag/Ligeti: Music for Viola

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
There are more jokes about the viola, perhaps, than any other member of the violin family, but there are also exquisitely written pieces of music that in the hands of virtuosos come alive with vivid emotion and erudite articulation.

Boston-based Kim Kashkashian is one of the premier violists in the world and has recorded many fine, edgy and stimulating albums. With Kurtág/Ligeti: Music for Viola, she tackles two of the more challenging composers of the last half of the 20th century: Hungarians György Ligeti and György Kurtág. The two men not only share a first name and a national heritage but also a common inspirational source, as both are intellectual disciples of their great countryman, Béla Bartók.

Kashkashian has dedicated a significant portion of her career in studying Kurtág's uniquely intricate body of work. This is her third Kurtág recording. The nineteen-part "Signs, Games and Messages," started in 1989, runs only half an hour and is considered a work in progress by its creator. Supreme adroitness, with which she is endowed, is not enough, to interpret successfully this evanescent and cryptic composition. This is where Kashkashian's deep sympathy and understanding of the Kurtag's oeuvre comes in. Her sublime approach to the demanding and unconventional harmonic and rhythmic changes make the score a living, evolving being.

She goes from deferentially and softly touching the strings on "Silent Lines to László Dobszay" to the almost dancing notes of the folk-inspired "Perpetuum Mobile." Her lilting sound beautifully illustrates the nostalgic mood on "For Imre Földes At 60." She also delivers, with subtle whimsy, the theatrical "Signs 1" and "Signs 2."

The more conventional, six-movement "Sonata for Solo Viola" shares its ethnic influence and idiosyncratic construct with "Signs, Games and Messages," but differs it in its solid character and musical heft. While Kurtág's work is ethereal, Ligeti's is earthbound.

Kashkashian's bowing is like a human voice, melancholically singing a folkloric melody on "Hora Lunga." She introduces the right amount of dissonance in the spirited "Loop," while coaxing a whole quartet worth of sound out of single instrument on "Fascar." She navigates the fast tempo of a modern tale of anxiety deftly and with grace on "Prestissimo Con Sordino," and expresses a gamut of emotions on the mournful, angry yet quietly reconciliatory "Lamento." She closes the album with muted tones and shimmering colors of the suite's sixth and last movement, "Chaconne chromatique."

An educator at the New England Conservatory of Music and a tireless advocate of the much-maligned viola, Kashkashian has delivered, once more, a resplendent record that not only explores the instrument's range and versatility but also introduces two ambitious yet surprisingly accessible gems.

Track Listing: In Nomine - all'ongherese (Damjanich emlékko); Silent Lines To László Dobszay Letter to Vera Ligeti; For Imre Földes At 60; Chromatically Saucy; A Flower For Dénes Zsigmondy; In memoriam Blum Tamás; In memoriam Aczél György; H.J. - nóta; Vagdalkozós; The Carenza Jig; Kroó György in memoriam; Hommage à John Cage; Doloroso; Perpetuum mobile; Signs I; Signs II;Four Entwined Bodies To The Exhibition By Sári Gerlóczy; Panaszos nóta; Hora lung; Loop; Facsar; Prestissimo con sordino; Lamento; Chaconne chromatique.

Personnel: Kim Kashkashian: viola.

Title: Kurtag/Ligeti: Music for Viola | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Music in the Room CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read Of Light and Shadows CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven
by Doug Collette
Published: December 9, 2017
Read The Chicago Blues Box 2 CD/LP/Track Review The Chicago Blues Box 2
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 9, 2017
Read I Speilvendthet CD/LP/Track Review I Speilvendthet
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Book Of Sound CD/LP/Track Review Book Of Sound
by Gareth Thompson
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "A Sequence of Waves (Twelve Stories and a Dream)" CD/LP/Track Review A Sequence of Waves (Twelve Stories and a Dream)
by Paul Naser
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "Ask Seek Knock" CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Live: SFJAZZ Center 2016 - Music of Miles Davis & Original Compositions" CD/LP/Track Review Live: SFJAZZ Center 2016 - Music of Miles Davis &...
by John Kelman
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "The Romeo and Juliet Project" CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Nadje Noordhuis" CD/LP/Track Review Nadje Noordhuis
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "Rabble Rouser" CD/LP/Track Review Rabble Rouser
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: October 1, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!