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György Kurtág: 4 Capriccios

  • for soprano and chamber orchestra
  • 1 1 1 1 - 1 0 0 0 - Cimb, hp, pno, perc, str
  • Duration: 11’
  • Soloists:
  • Instrumentation details:
    flute (+picc.)
    clarinet in A
    horn in F
    pno (+cel.)
    1. violin
    2. violin
  • Composer: György Kurtág
  • Text author: István Bálint
  • Table of contents:
    La Dame à la Licorne
    Tour Saint Jacques
    Ars poetica
  • Dedication: András Mihály gewidmet

Work introduction

Composed in 1970, 4 Capriccios is a setting of poems by István Bálint. The first one bears the title Paris I – Musée de Cluny: La Dame à la Licorne. It is of course a reference to the Renaissance gobelin in the Cluny Museum showing Queen Mary of England with the mythological unicorn. The gobelin only serves as a point of departure for a chain of free associations unrelated by any logic but linked with hidden ties inherent in the succession of words. The second capriccio is entitled Paris II – Tour Saint Jacques. The structure of the poem is similar to that of the previous one and its inspiration also comes from a visual experience in Paris. The third movement Language Lesson and the fourth one Ars poetica start out from well-known notions but arrive at ideas in blaring contrast with the accepted meaning of those notions.


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