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Kurtag Stele Analysis Essay

Art Analysis Essay

957 Words4 Pages

Though most works of art have some underlying, deeper meaning attached to them, our first impression of their significance comes through our initial visual interpretation. When we first view a painting or a statue or other piece of art, we notice first the visual details – its size, its medium, its color, and its condition, for example – before we begin to ponder its greater significance. Indeed, these visual clues are just as important as any other interpretation or meaning of a work, for they allow us to understand just what that deeper meaning is. The expression on a statue’s face tells us the emotion and message that the artist is trying to convey. Its color, too, can provide clues: darker or lighter colors can play a role in how we…show more content…

The Stele depicts a simple scene: a seated man and standing woman behind him stare blankly straight ahead. A woman standing on the left looks down upon them. All of them are ordinary humans. They are not gods or goddesses. They are private people. Their clothing is plain, consisting of simple robes. It is representational of a regular family mourning the loss of one of its members, a scene that most people, even today, are able to relate to hundreds or even thousands of years later.

The stele conveys a solemn forlornness that can be seen in the figures’ faces. Their mouths are tightly shut; their eyes gaze blankly ahead. The woman on the left stares ahead with little emotion on her face. The stele does not depict any motion. All of the figures are standing (or sitting) still, in quiet memorial. This solemnity adds to the emotion of a grave where the stele once stood. There is no real clear answer as to who is being mourned. Are the seated man and the woman mourning the loss of their daughter, on the left? Or is the woman on the left mourning the loss of a father? The sculpture’s ambiguity also adds to the emotion that it evokes. It might even be appropriate for its purpose. Its function was to mark a gravesite – the site of the body of someone who has died. Death is one of the most complex parts of life. It is the most ambiguous, for nobody knows for sure what happens in death. The ambiguity of the stele highlights

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Setting: Symphonic Works

Instrumentation: 6(IV.anche picc., V=a., VI=b.), 4(IV= c. i.), 6(IV anche in mi bemolle, V=cl.b., VI=cl. cb.), fg.(IV=cfg.) - 4, 2 tu ten. in si bemolle(I-II anche cor. V-VII.), 2 tu b. in fa (I-II.anche cor. VI-VIII), 4 tr., 4 trb., tu cb. - 2 arpe, cimbalom, pf., cel. (anche pf. a 4 mani), pnino (pf. verticale), vibr. (anche xylor.), mar. - timp., batt. (min. 4 es.: trg. picc., 4 ptti. sosp., ptti a 2, tam-t., 2 bongo, 2 tom-t., claves, 2 logdrums, 2 gr. c., tb. picc. c.c., tb. b., frusta, camp.) - archi: 16, 14, 14 (3 sole), 12 (3 soli), 8 (3 soli).

Period: Contemporary Music

Duration: 13'

Item number: K-100

Other reference: 14060

Stele for large orchestra was commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker and has been dedicated to and premiered by Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1994, in Kurtág's second year of staying at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. The grave stone or memorial stone, that Stele actually means is for the Hungarian composer and conductor András Mihály (1917-1993). Mihály taught chamber music (perticularly masterclasses for string quartets) at the Academy of Music in Budapest. He was one of the most influential teachers of the era and Kurtág regularly attended his classes. From András Mihály he got lifetime inspiration both as a composer and teacher. The core movement of Stele is the third one, based on an earlier work for piano solo "In memoriam András Mihály", composed immediately after Mihály's death, published as the last piece of the sixth volume of Games.





Lamento Disperato, con moto


Molto sostenuto