From my interview with Kurtág in today’s Spectator:
Arriving in Budapest for the filming of my first novel, I receive word that György Kurtag wants to see me. This is not a summons I can refuse. Famously elusive, the last of the living avant-gardists is about to present his first opera at La Scala Milan this month and, if past form is anything to go by, he’s unlikely to utter much about it beyond a cryptic Magyar aphorism….
Kurtag is seated at a light-wood upright piano.
‘I want to play you my new piece,’ he says, after introductions.
‘How new?’ I ask.
‘I wrote it yesterday. For Marta. For her birthday.’
What follows is four minutes of unblinking concentration underpinned by an acute awareness that I am, here and now, the first to hear a great composer play his music while it is still wet…
Read on here.