An ECM debut for György Kurtág jr, in a strikingly unusual context. The son of the great Hungarian composer is himself an influential figure in new music, particularly in the electronic and electro-acoustic domain. “Kurtágonals” is, amongst other things, a celebration of his work in this area, as fellow composer László Hortobágyi adapts and develops Kurtág jr themes – some of them more than 30 years old - , setting them in new sound-environments. Hortobágyi views “Kurtágonals” as both a diary of a long friendship and a succinct summary of the musical oeuvre of the contributors.
The three musician-composers, also known democratically as Hortogonals, have a vast range of experience between them which reaches beyond ‘new music’ into non-western forms, sound-collage, improvisation, folk music, pop, rock, and ambient music. The participants write, “The principal intention of the Hortogonals project is to re-contextualize these compositions, originally born in a classical avant-garde musical atmosphere, into a 21st century final form. Joint efforts have resulted in a so far non-existent genre of ‘contemporary audiopod’, a collage of music with unique tonality and unusual compositional form.”
György Kurtág Jr (born 1954) has been a composer-researcher at IRCAM in Paris and at the Centre Européen Rechercehe Musicalle in Metz. He has also collaborated with his father: their co-composition “Zwiegespräch”, described as ‘an electronic hybrid’ was premiered at the Lucerne Festival and featured at the Huddersfield Festival and the Wiener Festwochen, as well as at the celebrations for Kurtág Sr’s 80th birthday in Budapest. Live recordings from that event, with Kurtag Jr (on synthesizer) augmenting the Keller Quartet, were issued by the Budapeast Music Centre in 2007. In February 2009 Kurtág Jr organised a master class for string quartets at New York’s Carnegie Hall, initiating classical players in new approaches to electronics.
László Hortobágyi, born 1950, is a composer and musicologist who has travelled widely studying the music of the world, above all in North India. In addition to the computers and synthesizers on which he is featured on “Kurtágonals”, he plays vina, surbuhar, sitar and tabla, and has composed pieces in classical Indian structure as well as, in his words, ‘futuristic’ compositions. (detailed information may be found on his web site at http://www.guo.hu/)
Miklós Lengyelfi, born 1955, first played with Kurtág jr in school bands, almost 40 years ago. After studies at the Bartók Conservatory, he involved himself increasingly with folk music, playing with groups who reformulated the folk genre in Hungary, then turned his attention to rock. In 1981, he cofounded the popular rock group KFT, and continues to tour and record with them a quarter-century later. He collaborates regularly with György Kurtág in performances of contemporary music.