“An enthralling piece of art that became a cult wherever it has been performed. The first recognized masterpiece of the 21st century.”’
Sir Simon Rattle
‘’The way of truth goes through the dark’ wrote the New York Times’ critic after the performance of In Vain. The spiral of mankind’s development – which, as we tend to think after a crisis in society, has only superficial results – resembles the circularly ascending staircase of M.C. Escher’s lithograph. The piece has a cultic role in the programme of the world’s concert halls. The fact that in 2017 the well-known Italian periodical on classical music, Classic Voice, together with more than a hundred renowned music critics, chose the work as one of the most influential pieces of the XXI. century, proves this.
One of the difficulties of the performance is that the score advises complete darkness in the concert hall at several parts of the piece – consequently, the performers have to play without sheet music and conductor. They can only take with them into darkness what they have learned beforehand. The piece is unique in the sense that the Western equal temperament system (such as the sound of a piano) and just intonation are both present paraellelly. The acoustic analogy of Escher’s staircase is the Shepard-scale, which creates the illusion of a musical scale’s endless upward or downward movement, are also core parts of In Vain.
The monumental work has only two basis: the fast spiraling, circular gesture (based on pitches ot equal temperament) and a slowly developing, almost static harmony of acoustic overtones.At the end, we discover that these two are not so far away from each other, after all.
The concert is part of the Transparent Sound New Music Festival, which takes place from 4 to 20 January 2019 as a collaboration between a number of Budapest venues. The works to be performed will be preceded in part by interactive and engaging activities to help guide the audience through the diverse and innovative world of new music.


  • Georg Friedrich Haas: in vain (2000)


  • Dubóczky Gergely


  • Budapest Sound Collective