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Chicago Chamber Musicians First Monday Concert

Julia Bentley

Monday, February 2 at 12:15 pm 

Guest artist mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley joins CCME violinist Jasmine Lin for this program of contemporary works.

Hear Songs of the Cotton Grass by Welsh composer Hilary Tann, followed by excerpts from Hungarian composer György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments, a monumental tour de force for soprano and solo violin, comprised of excerpts from a variety of Kafka’s personal letters, sketches, and journals.

About Kafka’s Fragments and its composer, the New York Times’ Jeremy Eichler wrote: “Kurtag sets these lapidary texts, sung in German and to be projected in English, with an astonishing sensitivity and vividness; not a note is wasted. The vocal line sometimes skitters fleetingly, sometimes lunges violently across giant intervals and sometimes glides serenely through the texts.

“Ultimately, the power of Kurtag’s music lies in its ability to communicate pure emotions in a spare, rugged and stripped-down language. There is nothing gauzy or mystical here; this is an avant-garde of tenacious intellect but also immense heart. The music mirrors a fractured and disenchanted reality, yet in the very honesty of its contact with that world, it preserves the possibility of a personal truth.

“Much of Kurtag’s music contains these qualities, but the Kafka settings benefit from a rare synergy between writer and composer.”

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