Fragment, Time and Memory: Unity in Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments


Contemporary Music Review‘Fragment, Time and Memory: Unity in Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments’, Contemporary Music Review, Vol. 33, Iss. 4, November 2014.

This article appears in a special volume entitled Musical Narratives: Studies in Time and Motion that explores the ways different composers deal with concepts of musical timescale and various temporal processes. The issue is available from Taylor and Francis. A limited number of author e-prints (if you do not have a subscription) are available with the following link:

The abstract reads:
György Kurtág (b. 1926) is a composer whose concern with fragmentation runs deep into individual pieces, whilst seeming to splinter his oeuvre. His relatively select number of works includes many that manifestly deal with the notion of ‘the fragment’: the pinnacle of these is his Op. 24, Kafka Fragments (1985–1986). Memory and time play an important role in a listener’s understanding of this work, as the music is woven together by temporally-dislocated connections and timeless associations. Perceptual, analytical and compositional precedents are taken as a starting point for creating a framework in which the notion of fragmentation in Kurtág’s music might be understood.