Works

Judit Varga

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Orchestration: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon – horn – percussion, piano – strings

In her piece Entitas, Judit Varga creates musical situations in which differences and similarities of various groups of instruments stand out. Five strings are grouped in order to form a quintet. The same applies to the five wind instruments. The piano and percussion form a third group. However, they act more as soloists.

"What is the string quintet capable of doing, and the piano is not?”, Varga wonders. Can the piano ´learn´ the string sounds? Is it still a sound of violin, if I knock on the body of the violin? And what is the difference between this knock and the knock of a piano or a table top? With these questions on mind Varga drafted a series of sound scenes in which the groups are confronted with each other or they even blend in. In the first movement the resonance phenomena of the piano and the string chords face each other. Then there are scales which seem to wander through the instruments and they experience each time a different imprint. Varga calls the piece a search for sound in which the material first unfolds itself gradually and the listener witnesses this process.

The second main part, which starts with glissandos of the wind players, was titled Quidditas by Varga, namely an expression of the scholastics which raises the question of the overall features of a group of objects. Then Haecceitas follows, with which the scholastics described the specificity of a single object. Only at the end the “homogenous game in the entire ensemble” becomes virulent as a temporary arrival point of the work. Here, the groups merge into a comprehensive sound, to the eponymous Entitas.

Varga works in Entitas quite specifically with new playing techniques. The extension of the sound spectrum of the particular instruments also means that the timbres between the instruments become always more similar, or rather, that there are larger intersections between sound families. The flautando means also therefore flautando because the strings assimilate to the sound of a flute; hard blows of the winds are on the other hand often described as pizzicato, namely as a plucked string. The timbre, as one could summarize this observation, becomes a continually flexible space in which the transitions between the instruments run fluently.

On one hand, Varga suggests in her piece that contact with something different and strange, no matter if in a competition, or in a dialogue, also always presents an enrichment of one´s own personality. On the other hand, Entitas is a plea for the specific, the own and the difference which is threatened by the increasing unification of our habitats because of franchising and globalization.

Judit Varga was born in 1979 in Gyôr in Hungary and she studied piano and composition at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, as well as at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where she in addition takes the subjects applied music and film music. Master courses and summer courses took her for example to György Kurtág, Manuel Hidalgo, Jonathan Harvey and Peter Eötvös.

She received numerous awards, among them several times the Zoltán Kodály composition scholarship. She was a finalist of a composition prize in a talent contest of Ö1 and in 2003 her work was presented at the Wien Modern festival. Moreover, she completed numerous soundtracks, most recently for Hüseyin Tabak´s Deine Schönheit ist nichts wert (Your beauty is Worth Nothing) in 2012.
Björn Gottstein
works as a freelance journalist about contemporary and electronic music. He lives in Berlin

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