Forty independent settings of short epigrams taken from Kafka's letters, diaries and notebooks form the core of Kafka Fragments by Hungarian composer György Kurtág. The hour-long work, which Kurtág completed in 1987, is scored for soprano and violin and will be performed at the Barbican by Dawn Upshaw, one of the most celebrated American sopranos of the day, and Geoff Nuttall, first violinist and co-founder of the renowned St. Lawrence String Quartet.
Kurtág’s song cycles can generally be described as ‘novelistic’ as he often selects prose passages over poetry for his texts – and the cycles span an intensely dramatic emotional range. In this staging Upshaw takes on the role of a housewife performing daily tasks, and Nuttall becomes a street musician. The staging, which also includes a film of projected stills by renowned artist David Michalek, was commissioned by the Carnegie Hall and had its premiere in New York in January 2005.
Further details www.barbican.org.uk