Gyula Csapó: Déjà? Kojâ?

Bozzini Quartet


A Canada Council for the Arts commission, dedicated to Quatuor Bozzini. The title — a mix of French and Persian [1] — means Already? Where (to)?. Déjà? Kojâ? is, in itself, a three-part concert with two intermissions. Its Parts reference the same basic materials from varying perspectives. Event-fossils, memory-ruptures crossbred within them, seldom permitted to congeal into sustained linear processes. In essence, a dirge, the work reveals itself in an epic (as opposed to dramatic) time-perspective. Timbre and register function as changing light (it’s infrared now; now it’s ultra-violet), cast upon fragmentation: largely atemporal loci, where we breathe in the atmospheres of faraway planets. Fractals are illuminated in a most realistic, positive sense (recall Roberto Bolaño’s infrarealism). Art is doing its duty, penetrating the maze before it. Reality — not its pretty illusions — is stared in the face; the music takes its never-letting-off hands in an ominous dance. The soft touch of hands, put into fire, withstand it: where technology melts and its metal evaporates, Art still stands, facing the Abyss. No heroism, sentiments: just the epic testament of a child, pulling after her some toy across no matter what terrain, witnessing the indelible marks on it, of the journey.

Gyula Csapó

  1. Notably, from a ghazal by Hafez: Kojâ ravîm, béfarmâ, az în janâb, kojâ? (Where are we going, please tell me, from this threshold, where? English translation by Gyula Csapó) Threshold refers here to our earthly existence which is not yet the salon, let alone the bedroom; merely the threshold before the entrance…
Collection QB
Catalogue no
CQB 1821

In the Press

Modern and Contemporary

By Stuart Broomer in The WholeNote #23:8 (Canada), May 1, 2018
At once static and tumultuous, this is depth experience, rewarding all the attention one can give it.

Founded in 1999, Quatuor Bozzini are distinguished interpreters of contemporary repertoire, including fine recordings of John Cage, James Tenney and Steve Reich. Here they present a particularly challenging work, a three-part, 73-minute piece composed between 2011 and 2016 by Gyula Csapó, a Hungarian composer currently teaching at the University of Saskatchewan. His music suggests the influences (including scale and depth) of Morton Feldman and Arvo Pärt. Csapó’s brief note about this work is dauntingly abstract (“event-fossils,” “fractals”), but the core is in the title, Déjà? Kojâ? part French, part Persian: “Already?” is easy. “Kojâ?” comes with a poem that suggests “Threshold” as the crucial sense, and that this world is a threshold, the beginning of another experience or existence, a step both inevitable yet deferred. The work is monumental, developing thick, often dissonant textures. Its long first section is anchored to a repeating oscillation, brief but slow, between low-register cello and viola and high, reedy violins. Seconda Parte is more varied, adding other sonic devices, including moving the contrast of registers to pizzicato lows and whistling harmonic glissandi from the violins. Terza Parte eventually expands the oscillating figures into a still minimalist, but gradually evolving melodic shape. It’s a demanding work, a dark reverie that suggests anticipation while dramatizing its delay, a sombre meditation shot through with bright highs that are themselves dissonant. At once static and tumultuous, this is depth experience, rewarding all the attention one can give it.