How a composer mourns his wife

The great Hungarian composer György Kurtág plays a Mozart adagio in memory of his beloved wife Marta, who died a year ago this weekend.

Kurtág is 94.

This is the picture of them in October 2018 at the same piano, playing four-hand.


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  • One of my fondest musical memories is of a concert in the Liszt Academy great hall, celebrating Ligeti’s 80th birthday (if I recall the number correctly), at which Marta and Gyorgy Kurtag performed some of the Jatekok (Games) and Bach transcriptions. One of the Games was immensely touching: the two played a simple melody, one pitch at a time, but where each had to reach across, or around in back of, the other for a key, or loop their arm over or under the other’s; their coordinated, slow reaching and swaying was the loveliest dancelike depiction of marital mutuality and concord.

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