Author Topic: György Ligeti (1923-2006)  (Read 73783 times)

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Choo Choo

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #40 on: May 01, 2007, 01:10:08 AM »
;D Sweeeeeeeeet......



Saturday, July 14, 2007 at 8:00 PM

Blossom Music Center

The Cleveland Orchestra
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
Ligeti: Atmosphères
Debussy: Ibéria
Mahler: Symphony No. 1

Allan

I'd be very interested to hear what you think of that one.

W-M got a very rough ride when he was with the LPO - and when I saw him conducting Mendelssohn & Verdi in Vienna before Christmas, I'm sorry to say he gave the very clear impression of not having much of a clue what he was doing.  But maybe it is the choice of repertoire.  I wasn't that taken with Tilson-Thomas either until I heard him conduct Stravinsky - in which he was revelatory - and then I got a better idea of how he heard things.

I do agree about Atmosphères heard in concert:  especially the way bands of sound move around the orchestra.  Always a treat, more or less whoever is conducting/playing.

Offline val

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #41 on: May 03, 2007, 12:19:51 AM »
Quote
edward

The Ardittis on Sony are a very safe recommendation for the quartets.

Regarding both quartets I agree. But I also have the first in the version of the Hagen Quartet and I can assure you it is an extraordinary performance.

In the second I would put the Arditti before the LaSalle.

I recently heard the Arditti in Dutilleux: it was sublime. They are perhaps the best string quartet in the interpretation of XX century music.

Heather Harrison

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #42 on: July 13, 2007, 06:37:54 PM »
After hearing enormous amounts of modern and contemporary music, my appreciation for Ligeti has only grown. His music is so unique and innovative and also highly communicative and powerful.

Lux Aeterna is one of the most beautiful pieces ever written, and yet it is so unusual and otherworldly!

The 3 concertos for piano, violin and cello are the some of the best highlights in each genre of the whole 20th century.

Ligeti is really brilliant. One could go on forever... anyway I think this recent 4CD set from DG is perfect for anyone wanting to get a good overview of Ligeti (but of course it is far from a complete set):



Opinions about this set?

I just got this set, and as I listen to it carefully, I am taking down notes on each composition.  I am familiar with a few of his works, and generally like his compositions, but much of what is in this set is new to me.

Anyway, I just finished listening to the first CD, and here is what I jotted down.

Sonata for solo cello:  This is a beautiful short piece; I have always liked music for unaccompanied string instruments.  It is a shame that such pieces aren't more common.  The first movement beautiful and lyrical, and a bit mournful.  The second movement is a virtuoso showpiece.  This piece is very accessible and easy to appreciate.

Six bagatelles for wind quintet:  These are light, accessible pieces; a bit reminiscent of the style of the light, whimsical works of Les Six, with somewhat minimalistic textures thrown in here and there.  No. 5 has a darker tone and is a bit heavier and more dissonant.

String Quartet No. 1:  This piece has numerous short movements.  The opening is dissonant and intense.  The piece, overall, is quite varied, ranging from slow and troubled to dissonant and stormy.  One section has the character of a grotesque dance.  It is quite a fascinating piece and will likely reward repeated listening.

Ten pieces for wind quintet:  These pieces have a more serious character than the Bagatelles.  Ligeti seems to be exploring different sound textures here.  He gets an amazing variety of sounds out of these instruments.  No. 9, in particular, consists of a texture of sustained shrill notes and is a bit hard on the ears but is interesting nonetheless.

String Quartet No. 2:  This is a five-movement piece.  The first movement starts with a high-pitched, agitated sound texture, interrupted by short stormy passages.  The second movement starts out soft and slow, with an atmosphere of quiet tension and occasional outbreaks of dissonant energy.  Third movement starts with pizzicato in regular beats which blends into arco passages; it is very agitated and somewhat repetitive.  The fourth movement starts with a dark, troubled, dissonant theme; it stops periodically, as if to catch its breath, and reveals a rather dark, sustained texture underneath.  It is very intense.  The fifth movement starts with an agitated, quiet, somewhat minimalistic texture.  The volume gradually builds and then recedes again a few times; the same agitated texture persists throughout.  The piece finally dies away in a high pitch reminiscent of the beginning of the first movement; it is as if the whole thing has come full circle.  This is a fascinating piece; I suspect that it has secrets which will be revealed slowly upon repeated listening.

I'll get back to this thread as I listen to the other CDs in this set.  Hopefully this gives some idea of what these pieces are like, but these are, for the most part, first impressions.  This is complex music; I can't possibly fully capture the nature of it after just one hearing.

Heather

Offline Brewski

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2007, 11:09:42 AM »
Let us know your later impressions, Heather!  And meanwhile, I'm really envious that tonight Allan is hearing the Cleveland Orchestra do Atmosphères...  If you're reading this, do give us a report...

--Bruce
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S709

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #44 on: July 17, 2007, 05:21:55 AM »
Thanks for those descriptions, Heather!

I realize I actually haven't heard the solo cello sonata yet. But I do know the solo viola sonata, which I very very strongly recommend... :)

Heather Harrison

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2007, 03:21:31 PM »
Here are my impressions of the second CD.  It consists of a variety of one-movement pieces that explore sound textures in various ways.

Atmospheres.  This piece is quite well known; I have heard it a few times, and a few months ago I heard it in live concert.  It is a series of sound textures with little indication of rhythm, melody, or harmony.  It demonstrates the wide variety of sounds that an orchestra can make.  Many of the sounds are rather harsh and chilling, but there is a great variety.  It is a very interesting piece; I have never become bored with it.

Volumina.  This is an exploration of sound textures for organ.  While listening to this, I was amazed at the different sounds an organ can make.  For the most part, it moves rather slowly, but at points the textures change very quickly.  This is another very interesting piece.

Lux aeterna.  In this case, the sound textures are explored through the medium of the choir.  Again, rhythm and melody are reduced in favor of creating a world of sounds.

Organ Study No. 1.  This is another exploration of sound textures for organ; this one is slower and more serene than Volumina.

Lontano.  This is another exploration of sound textures for orchestra.  In this work, Ligeti allows some motifs and harmonies to break out of the sound world.  It is less harsh and more subdued than Atmospheres.

Ramifications.  This piece is for a small string orchestra.  As with the others, it explores sound textures, but here there are hints of motifs and rhythm.  It starts with short alternating notes and short scales, giving it a somewhat minimalist feel.  It moves on to sustained textures, and later some sustained harmonies briefly appear.  As the piece moves on, it moves through similar styles and finally ends in a brief passage of choppy notes.  Microtonal tuning is used.

Melodien.  This is another orchestral sound texture piece.  Here, a lot of atonal thematic material appears over the textures; it is somewhat repetitive, showing some minimalist tendencies.  The orchestration is rich and varied.  At a few points, many of these melodies, in counterpoint, create a rather fluid sound texture.

This was a good choice of material to place together on a CD; it shows how Ligeti's way of working with sound textures evolved during the 1960's.  All of these pieces are quite interesting.

Heather

Offline Kiddiarni

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2007, 03:03:48 PM »
The Lux Aeterna is giving me the creeps.  Can't imagine how hard it is to perform it...
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Scriptavolant

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2007, 03:43:02 PM »
I'm downloading "Le Grand Macabre", does anyone has a thought about it?

Offline edward

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2007, 04:34:52 PM »
I'm downloading "Le Grand Macabre", does anyone has a thought about it?
Very uneven, and doesn't really add up to more than the sum of its parts.

Having said that, there's some wonderful music in it, even if I don't think it really hangs together. Are you downloading the original version or the 1997 revision? Either does provide a good summary of Ligeti's stylistic variance up till the end of the '70s.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Scriptavolant

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #49 on: July 19, 2007, 05:23:24 PM »
Very uneven, and doesn't really add up to more than the sum of its parts.

Having said that, there's some wonderful music in it, even if I don't think it really hangs together. Are you downloading the original version or the 1997 revision? Either does provide a good summary of Ligeti's stylistic variance up till the end of the '70s.

It is vol. 8 of the Ligeti Edition.
This one:



I don't know if it is the original or rather the revised edition. I'll have to check. Thank you for your answer, then  :)

Offline edward

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #50 on: July 19, 2007, 05:59:54 PM »
That's the revised version.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Heather Harrison

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #51 on: July 20, 2007, 05:38:37 PM »
Here are some brief descriptions of the third CD in the DG Ligeti set.

Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures:  These pieces are somewhat humorous; three vocalists make a series of strange and funny noises, backed up by seven instrumentalists.  The music ranges from funny to violent to just plain strange.  It is rather unpredictable and quite entertaining.

Cello concerto:  This piece is very slow and meditative.  Like many other mid-to-late 1960's works, explores sound textures, but a few motifs manage to rise out of the texture.  There is some agitation in the second movement.

Chamber concerto:  This work has fluid, somewhat minimalistic sound textures with occasional melodies.  Wind instruments are prominent.

Mysteries of the Macabre:  This is an arrangement for trumpet, piano, and somebody making funny noises by Elgar Horvath.  It is an unusual piece with largely atonal melodies, accompanied by funny noises.  It is hard to describe; it really must be heard.

Double concerto for flute and oboe:  The first movement is mellow and meditative, with smooth sound textures and slow melodies.  The second movement is largely fast and lively, with short fragments of melodies and minimalistic textures.  It ends abruptly.

This is an interesting and varied group of compositions.  I'll post the last CD after I listen to it - probably tomorrow.

Heather

Heather Harrison

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #52 on: July 21, 2007, 12:23:11 PM »
Here are my impressions of the music on the final CD of DG's Ligeti set.  These are later works; Ligeti moved on from his sound texture work of the 1960's, and his music became more melodic, often atonal, and sometimes minimalistic in nature.

The Big Turtle Fanfare from the South China Sea:  This trumpet fanfare is melodic and very short.  It is quite different from the earlier sound texture works.

Three pieces for two pianos:  These show strong influence of minimalism.  The second is quieter than first, and the third has fluid texture; it builds in intensity, then peters out at the end.

Piano Etudes Nos. 2 and 4.  No. 2 is slow and melodic, while No. 4 is fast and lively; also melodic and with minimalistic tendencies.

Piano concerto:  This piece is somewhat atonal (sometimes, a tonal center does feel present) and often melodic, with a variety of moods and tempos.  It is quite complex and would require a few hearings to decipher.

Violin concerto:  This piece has more of an atonal feel to it than the piano concerto.  It also features many changes and moods.  It makes great use of the possibilities of the violin, and it has an interesting and unique orchestration.

In general, the music on this CD is more accessible than most of the music on the other CDs, but it is still interesting and full of surprises.  All in all, I think this was a worthwhile set.  Of course, my descriptions here are mostly first impressions, and with such complicated music, first impressions might not be all that useful.  One who knows these pieces well would be better able to describe them.

Heather

Offline Brewski

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #53 on: July 21, 2007, 12:30:46 PM »
Of course, my descriptions here are mostly first impressions, and with such complicated music, first impressions might not be all that useful.  One who knows these pieces well would be better able to describe them.


But first impressions are useful, and I think it's great that you are devoting so much time to Ligeti, whom many people feel is one of the greatest composers of the 20th century.  (Since he just died last year, he belongs a bit to the 21st as well.)

PS, did you catch the ocarinas in the Violin Concerto?  I first heard this piece live, and when a small group of wind players suddenly hoisted up ocarinas, I almost laughed out loud!  A very imaginative, colorful effect.

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Heather Harrison

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #54 on: July 21, 2007, 01:44:21 PM »
PS, did you catch the ocarinas in the Violin Concerto?  I first heard this piece live, and when a small group of wind players suddenly hoisted up ocarinas, I almost laughed out loud!  A very imaginative, colorful effect.

Yes - I noticed that; it is one reason why I found the orchestration to be unique and interesting.

I'm glad I found that 4-CD set.  Of course, since I was already familiar with some of Ligeti's music and I wanted to find more, it wasn't a hard decision to buy it.  It was definitely worth the time going through it, and basically everything there deserves repeated listening.

Heather

lukeottevanger

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #55 on: July 26, 2007, 12:30:56 PM »
Just finished watching this wonderful film, downloaded today. It's over an hour (629 mb) of beautiful footage and extended monologues from Ligeti himself - not telling me much I didn't know about already, perhaps, but finding the most pertinent shots, archive material etc. Very moving indeed, at times, especially in the lengthy sections about his childhood (close-up footage of an aged 'folk' violinist was particularly beautiful). It's in French - but I found Ligeti's French very easy to understand, perhaps because, though he is completely fluent, it is evidently not his mother tongue, and so he speaks deliberately and clearly.

The film comes from the extraordinary Ubuweb collection; their Ligeti film page also includes a 'performance' of the Poeme Symphonique for 100 metronomes. But I'd urge people to have a nose round this fabulous resource - there are real gems there for the unearthing.

S709

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #56 on: July 26, 2007, 03:40:54 PM »
That is really awesome, thanks so much Luke !!!

His French is quite clear, yes!

lukeottevanger

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #57 on: July 26, 2007, 10:20:05 PM »
Glad you enjoyed it. My sleep last night was full of bizarre dreams, which I'm sure stem from watching this film with all its potent imagery in a gradually darkening room just before bed!

Offline Brewski

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #58 on: December 13, 2007, 11:25:21 AM »
James, thanks for that link.  Don't have time to hear it now, but will get to it later.

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

paulb

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Re: György Ligeti (1923-2006)
« Reply #59 on: February 08, 2008, 09:45:17 PM »
After hearing enormous amounts of modern and contemporary music, my appreciation for Ligeti has only grown. His music is so unique and innovative and also highly communicative and powerful.

Lux Aeterna is one of the most beautiful pieces ever written, and yet it is so unusual and otherworldly!



Ligeti is really brilliant.

Really convincing ::)
you sound so genuine and believable.