sun 11/04/2021

Kafka Fragments, Barbican Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Kafka Fragments, Barbican Hall

Kafka Fragments, Barbican Hall

A Modernist mystery becomes supple and elusive in the hands of Dawn Upshaw

Dog eat dog: 'David Michalek's images dominate the projected backdrop'David Michalek

A 70-minute song cycle for soprano and violin, the Kafka Fragments is the magnum opus (the irony of its miniature forms seems entirely deliberate) of György Kurtág, a composer known for the inscrutability of his music. His lines arrive at the ears fully armed, unwilling to surrender their meaning. A performance of the Fragments at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 2008 famously drove a musically literate audience from the room, so can Peter Sellars's staged interpretation really offer a more engaging experience? Up to a point.

A 70-minute song cycle for soprano and violin, the Kafka Fragments is the magnum opus (the irony of its miniature forms seems entirely deliberate) of György Kurtág, a composer known for the inscrutability of his music. His lines arrive at the ears fully armed, unwilling to surrender their meaning. A performance of the Fragments at the Tanglewood Music Festival in 2008 famously drove a musically literate audience from the room, so can Peter Sellars's staged interpretation really offer a more engaging experience? Up to a point.

An iron becomes an instrument of self-torture, a pullover a beloved child

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters