György Sándor Ligeti was a Hungarian-Austrian composer of contemporary classical music. . The Bagatelles were performed first in , but not in their entirety: the last movement was censored by the Soviets for being too ‘dangerous’ . “Musica Ricercata” had gone unperformed, and Ligeti expected the same of the Bagatelles. Both violated the strictures of Andrei Zhdanov, the. At first glance, this 44 minute disc bookending György Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto – a major work – with two occasional wind quintet pieces might feel a.
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He has been described bagatelled “one of the most important avant-garde composers in bagtaelles latter half of the twentieth century” and “one of the most innovative and influential among progressive figures of his time”. He became an Austrian citizen in He died in Vienna in Restricted in his musical style by the authorities of Communist Hungary, only when he reached the west in could Ligeti fully realise his passion for avant-garde music and develop new compositional techniques.
After writing his “anti-anti-opera” Le Grand MacabreLigeti shifted away from chromaticism and towards polyrhythm for his later works. He is best known by the public through the use of his music in film soundtracks. Although he did not directly compose any film scores, excerpts of liigeti composed by him were taken and adapted for film use.
The sound design of Stanley Kubrick ‘s films, particularly the music of A Space Odysseydrew from Ligeti’s bagatelled and also contained pieces by other classical composers.
His family was Hungarian Jewish. Ligeti recalled that his first exposure to languages other than Hungarian came one day while listening to a conversation among the Romanian-speaking town police.
Before that he had not known that lligeti languages existed. He did not return to the town of his birth until the s. InLigeti’s education was interrupted when he was sent to a forced labor brigade by the Horthy regime during events of the Holocaust. His mother was the only other person bagatflles survive in his immediate family.
He conducted ethnomusicological research into the Hungarian folk music of Transylvania. However, after a year he returned to Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, this time as a teacher of harmonycounterpoint and musical analysis. He was a conservative Christian whose circle represented a safe haven for Ligeti.
In Decembertwo months after the Hungarian revolution was violently suppressed by the Soviet Army, Ligeti liget to Vienna with his ex-wife Vera Spitz.
They remarried in and had a son together. He took only what he considered to be his most important pieces. He ligdti said, “I considered my old music of no interest. I believed in twelve-tone music! A few weeks after arriving in Vienna, Ligeti left for Cologne.
There he met several key avant-garde figures and learned more contemporary musical styles and methods. Ligeti worked in the Cologne Electronic Music Studio with Stockhausen and Koenig and was inspired by the sounds he heard there. However, he produced little electronic music of his own, instead concentrating on instrumental works which often contain electronic-sounding textures.
After about three years’ working with them, he fell out with the Cologne School[ clarification needed ] this being too dogmatic [ citation needed ] and involving much factional in-fighting: And I, personally, have no ambition to be first or to be important.
Between and he was guest professor for composition in Stockholm. In he became composer-in-residence at Stanford University in the United States. While he was living in Hamburg, his wife Vera remained in Vienna with their son, Lukaswho later also became a composer. Apart from his far-reaching interest in different styles of music, from Renaissance to African music, Ligeti was also interested in literature including the writers Lewis CarrollJorge Luis Borgesand Franz Kafkapainting, architecture, science, and mathematics.
He was especially fascinated by the fractal geometry of Benoit Mandelbrot and the writings of Douglas Hofstadter. Ligeti’s health deteriorated after the turn of the millennium; he died in Vienna on 12 June at the age of His funeral was held at the Vienna Crematorium at the Vienna Central Cemeterywith the Republic of Austria and the Republic of Hungary represented by their respective cultural affairs ministers. The ashes were buried at the cemetery in a grave dedicated to him by the City of Vienna.
He was survived by his wife Vera and son Lukas. Many of Ligeti’s earliest works were written for chorus and included settings of folk songs. His largest work in this period was a graduation composition for the Budapest Academyentitled Cantata for Youth Festivalfor four vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra. One of his earliest pieces now in the repertoire is his Cello Sonataa work in two contrasting movements that were written in andrespectively.
It was initially banned by the Soviet-run Composer’s Union and was not performed publicly for a quarter of a century. Even his piano cycle Musica ricercatathough written according to Ligeti with a “Cartesian” approach, in which he “regarded all the music I knew and loved as being The work is based on a simple restriction: Shortly after its composition, Ligeti arranged six of the movements of Musica ricercata for wind quintet under the title ‘Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet’.
The Bagatelles were performed first inbut not in their entirety: Because of Soviet censorship, his most daring works from this period, including Musica ricercata and his String Quartet No.
Composed of a single movement divided into seventeen contrasting sections linked motivically the First String Quartet is Ligeti’s first work to suggest a personal style of composition. The string quartet was not performed untilafter he had fled Hungary for Vienna. He completed only two works in this medium, however—the pieces Glissandi and Artikulation —before returning to instrumental music.
Ligeti’s music appears to have been subsequently influenced by his electronic experiments, and many of the sounds he created resembled electronic textures.
This texture ligetu a similar to that of polyphonyexcept that the polyphony is obscured in a dense and rich stack of pitches. With Volumina —62, revised for solo organ, Ligeti continued with clusters of notestranslated into blocks of sound.
‘Bagatelles’ in Budapest, from a restless Ligeti
In this piece, Ligeti abandoned conventional music notation, instead using diagrams to represent general pitch areas, duration, and flurries of notes. Aventureslike its companion piece Nouvelles Aventures —65is a composition for three singers and instrumental septet, to a text of Ligeti’s own devising that is without semantic meaning. In these pieces, each singer has five roles to play, exploring five areas of emotion, and they switch from one to the other so quickly and abruptly that all five areas are present throughout the piece.
Requiem —65 is a work for soprano and mezzo-soprano soloists, twenty-part chorus four each of soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, and bassand orchestra. Though, at about half an hour, it is the longest piece he had composed up to that point,  Ligeti sets only about half of the Requiem ‘s traditional text: Bagatelpes Aeterna is a voice a cappella piece whose text is also associated with the Latin Requiem.
Ligeti’s Cello Concertowhich is dedicated to Siegfried Palmis composed of two movements: Lontanofor full orchestra, is bagatelless example of micropolyphony, but the overall effect is closer to harmony, with complex woven textures and opacity of the sound giving rise to a harmonious effect.
It has become a standard repertoire piece. They differ widely from each other in their types of motion.
In the first, the structure is largely broken up, as in Aventures. In the second, everything is reduced to very slow motion, and the music seems to be coming from a distance, with great lyricism. The pizzicato third movement is a machine-like studies, hard and mechanical, whereby the parts playing repeated notes create a “granulated” continuum. In the fourth, which is fast and threatening, everything that happened before is crammed together.
Lastly, in strong contrast, the fifth movement spreads itself out. In each movement, the same basic configurations return, but each time their colouring or viewpoint is different, so that the overall form only really emerges when one listens to all five movements in context. Ramifications —69completed a year before the Chamber Concerto, is scored for an ensemble of strings in twelve parts—seven violins, two violas, two cellos and a double bass—each of which may be taken by one player or several.
The twelve are divided into two numerically equal groups but with the instruments in the first group tuned approximately a quarter-tone higher four violins, a viola and a cello.
As the group play, the one tuned higher inevitably tends to slide down toward the other, and both get nearer each other in pitch. In the Chamber Concerto —70several layers, processes and kinds of movement can take place on different planes simultaneously. In spite of frequent markings of “senza tempo”, the instrumentalists are not given linear freedom; Ligeti insists on keeping his texture under strict control at any given moment.
The form is like a “precision mechanism”. Ligeti was always fascinated by machines that do not work properly and by the world of technology and automation.
The use of periodic mechanical noises, suggesting not-quite-reliable machinery, occurs in many of his works. The scoring is for flute doubling piccolooboe doubling oboe d’amore and cor anglaisclarinet, bass clarinet doubling second clarinethorn, trombone, harpsichord doubling Hammond organpiano doubling celestaand solo string quintet.
Most of these compositions establish timbre, rather than the traditionally-favored dimensions of pitch and rhythm, as their principal formal parameter, a practice that has come to be known as sonorism. From the s, Ligeti turned away from sonorism and began to concentrate on rhythm. Pieces such as Continuum and Clocks and Clouds —73 were written before he heard the music of Steve Reich and Terry Riley in But the second of his Three Pieces for Two Pianosentitled “Self-portrait with Reich and Riley and Chopin in the background “, commemorates this affirmation and influence.
During the s, he also became interested in the polyphonic pipe music of the Banda -Linda tribe from the Central African Republicwhich he heard through the recordings of one of his students.
InLigeti completed his only opera, Le Grand Macabrethirteen years after its initial commission. Loosely based on Michel de Ghelderode ‘s play, La balade du grand macabreit is a work of Absurd theatre —Ligeti called it an “anti-anti-opera”—in which Death Nekrotzar arrives in the fictional city of Breughelland and announces that the end of the world will occur at midnight. Musically, Le Grand Macabre draws on techniques not associated with Ligeti’s previous work, including quotations and pseudo-quotations of other works  and the use of consonant thirds and sixths.
After Le Grand MacabreLigeti would abandon the use of pastiche but would increasingly incorporate consonant harmonies even major and minor triads into his work, albeit not in a diatonic context. After Le Grand MacabreLigeti struggled for some time to find a new style. Besides two short pieces for harpsichordhe did not complete another major work until the Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano inover four years after the opera.
His music of the s and s continued to emphasise complex mechanical rhythms, often in a less densely chromatic idiom, tending to favour displaced major and minor triads and polymodal structures.
During this time, Ligeti also began to explore alternate tuning systems through the use of natural harmonics for horns as in the Horn Trio and Piano Concerto and scordatura for strings as in the Violin Concerto. Book I was written as preparation for the Piano Concerto, which contains a number of similar motivic and melodic elements. The difference between the earlier and later pieces lies in a new conception of pulse.
‘Bagatelles’ in Budapest, from a restless Ligeti – The Boston Globe
In the earlier works, the pulse is something to be divided into two, three and so on. On the other hand, the later music—and a few earlier pieces such as Continuum —treats the pulse as a musical atom, a common denominator, a basic unit, which cannot be divided further. Different rhythms appear through multiplications of the basic pulse, rather than divisions: His music is so utterly original, enjoyable, perfectly constructed, but at the same time emotional I demonstrate my independence from criteria of the traditional avantgardeas well as the fashionable postmodernism.
InLigeti completed his Violin Concerto after four years of work.