Iván Fischer: Music mourns Marta

The conductor has sent us this reflection on the sad death today of Márta Kurtág:

‘I have never seen a couple more affectionatly connected than Márta and György Kurtág. They shared everything from the meaning of each note of Gyuri’s compositions to the wonderful musical help they have been offering to their students. Márta was a great musician and a great human being.

‘Who will play now Actus Tragicus by Bach sharing a piano bench with György Kurtág? His loss is terrible. I can only hope that he will feel the music community’s love and support which is of course only an extremely modest consolation after his huge loss. Dear Gyuri, we mourn Márta and embrace you from the depth of our heart!’

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    • I once saw the Kurtags on stage, performing Bach transcriptions and selections from “Jatekok”. One of the latter had practically a single note played at a time, but was written so that each player often had to reach around — practically embrace — the other to reach the key at the opposite end of the keyboard. The entire piece, a ballet on the piano bench, was the performance apotheosis of the perfect marriage, and profoundly moving.

  • This is the saddest news for us and above all for her beloved György Kurtág! There could not be a more loving and devoted couple. `Menahem Pressler and I visited them in their home in May last year and I remember them sitting holding hands on the sofa. At one point Kurtág got up with some difficulty to show Menahem a new piece he had written for him and I offered him my chair, thinking it would be easier for him to sit on; he thanked me and said “no, no, my home is next to Marta” We are crying for him tonight.

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