tue 23/07/2024

Kafka Fragments, Barbican Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Kafka Fragments, Barbican Hall

Kafka Fragments, Barbican Hall

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A 70-minute song cycle for soprano and violin, the Kafka Fragments is the magnum opus (the irony of its miniature forms seems entirely deliberate) of György Kurtág, a composer known for the inscrutability of his music. His lines arrive at the ears fully armed, unwilling to surrender their meaning. A performance of the Fragments at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 2008 famously drove a musically literate audience from the room, so can Peter Sellars's staged interpretation really offer a more engaging experience? Up to a point.

A 70-minute song cycle for soprano and violin, the Kafka Fragments is the magnum opus (the irony of its miniature forms seems entirely deliberate) of György Kurtág, a composer known for the inscrutability of his music. His lines arrive at the ears fully armed, unwilling to surrender their meaning. A performance of the Fragments at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 2008 famously drove a musically literate audience from the room, so can Peter Sellars's staged interpretation really offer a more engaging experience? Up to a point.

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