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  • 1 Bar-Ilan University Israel
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The text of Beckett and the music of Kurtág were born from the anxiety over the incapability of expression.  Its source is the artists' feeling of helplessness in face of a reality that one is no longer able to comprehend, a feeling common since the Romantic era. With What is the Word Kurtág created a new attitude toward musical composition, and through these structural novelties gave a new dimension to this modernist anxiety as well. Kurtág creates a process, which instead of playing with the listener's expectation, is based on fantasy and meaningful association. Kurtág realized a new concept of motivic connection.  In this piece, motivic connection manifests itself less in a concrete musical-structural aspect than in the connection among attitudes, gestures, theatrical motions and so on. This network of connections, the associations that emerge out of the infinite possibilities, and the emotions they evoke become part of a highly individual game of both the composer and the listener. This musical-structural technique finds its reflection in the dramatic design.  Parallel to the playing out of distress over loneliness and the incapacity to speak, another play takes place: the singer explores her many voices and the piece explores associations.  Thus the incapability to speak becomes the protective shell within which one explores, through fantasy, the mystery and the beauty of existence.