All of your favorites, in one place.
This is the extraordinary sequence of composers selected by Marino Formenti for his solo piano cycle Kurtág’s Ghosts, which examines how major composers from the fourteenth to the twentieth century have influenced the Hungarian composer György Kurtág. Formenti has performed the seamless cycle of seventy compositions live to considerable acclaim, and it is now available as a 2 CD set from the Vienna-based label Kairos.
A typical Kurtág’s Ghosts sequence is 46 seconds of Kurtág's Hommage à Stockhausen closely followed by 56 seconds of Stockhausen (Klavierstücke nr. 2) and 94 seconds of Messiaen (Ile de Feu 1), tailed by Kurtág's 75 second ...humble regard sur Olivier Messiaen. Clearly this is much more than the random output of an iPod in shuffle mode; Marino Formenti links the seventy short pieces together to form a logical and coherent single work. The result is a resounding success in every way. Kurtág's pianistic miniatures shine even more brightly when juxtaposed with the works that inspired them. Formenti's pianistic technique is formidable, the engineers of ORF Vienna have captured some of the best piano sound I have heard for a longtime, and the beautifully presented full price CDs are accompanied by an illuminating interview with the pianist. It is such an outstanding release I will even forgive the unattractive ECM-style cover seen above.