Kurtág, Ligeti: Music for Viola – review
Kim Kashkashian (viola)
Wisps, fragments, gestures, aphorisms: it's impossible to pin down the 19 tiny pieces that make up Kurtág's Signs, Games and Messages. Half-heard melodies in a darkened room, they explore the sounds a single instrument can make, from the screeching slides of No 5, Chromatically Saucy, to the plangent beauty of No 19, Plaintive Tune. Many are touching memorial pieces – one is a homage to John Cage; each is full of piercing imagination. They are perfectly projected by the Armenian-American violist Kim Kashkashian, who then tackles the six-movement unaccompanied sonata by Ligeti, which sounds massive and solid by comparison, though it is equally elusive, equally original.