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Composed: Length: c. The final section of Stele incorporates the theme of said piano piece. The fighting rages all around him, but he sees only a very clear, very blue sky His feeling is that nothing is as important as this sky. The final movement, muted and maximally eerie, fixates on a spread-out chord that repeatedly quivers forth in quintuplet rhythms. At the very end the harmony shifts to the white-note keys of the C-major scale, all seven of them sounding in a luminous smear Stele, by contrast, limps through a parched, depopulated landscape Where movement I the introduction, in effect is all downcast, movement II, which follows without a break, is marked by snarling, explosive anger and battering sonorities.

But there is a transcendent moment after the deafening climax: a brief silence, then, as if beamed in from far out in space, the gentle sound of six flutes, before the full orchestra resumes its attack. The finale, with its ritual repetition of a bell sounding through the orchestra, is an elusive mix of despair and ultimately, as suggested above, that hobbled figure moving on into Herbert Glass, after many years as a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, has been the English-language annotator and editor for the Salzburg Festival for more than a decade.

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Kurtág György: Stele

On top of the usual players, the composer added four Wagner tubas and more percussion instruments than are normally heard. This is not sentimental or bittersweet music; it is serious material, marking the passing of a friend who was likewise serious about music. Its three movements are heard in 12 minutes featuring almost relentless contrast within a cohesive framework. Few composers from the late twentieth century have such a distinctive sound. This is cerebral music without a hint of spirituality, highly personal and revealing a background of political turmoil in the way the ideas in it never seem to come entirely out of seclusion. He never had the same, highly publicized differences with the Soviet government that Shostakovich had, and though he wrote and published more after he was no longer living under that tyranny, the tenet of political discretion never left him. Instead, it became a more expressive.


[Stēlē] = Stele : op. 33

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