Kurtág; Signs, Games and Messages; Ligeti: Sonata


Kim Kashkashian (viola) ECM New Series 476 4729 *****

Suggestiveness in music is often taken to be a matter of woozy, impressionistic effects. But there’s also a suggestiveness that can be as resonantly explicit as the detailing of a Borges story. The longest of the 19 pieces Kim Kashkashian offers from György Kurtág’s ongoing series of Signs, Games and Messages for solo viola is four and a half minutes, the shortest a mere 28 seconds. Kurtág suggests worlds from microcosms – from scales, as in Króo György in memoriam (the selection is dominated by memorials) or just by taking the most obvious of ideas in a totally unexpected direction, as in Plaintive Tune. Kashkashian’s playing is wonderfully concentrated, and she shines, too, in György Ligeti’s substantial late Sonata for Viola Solo (1991-94), a piece inspired by the viola playing of Tabea Zimmermann that sounds at once old and new. url.ie/7ebo