I love Ligeti. He was one of the first composers I got hooked on, after Bartok and Ravel. My favorite work of his happens to be the "Cello Concerto" because it contains some of the most ground-breaking and truly modern sounds I have ever heard. In fact, the end of the second movement MAY in fact be the most "ahead of its time" section of music that I have had the pleasure to listen to and analyze. It is far beyond tonality and also far beyond serialism and strict atonality. It is something that popular music will not embrace for 200-300 years probably. Even jazz won't embrace it for 50-100 years likely.
I'm listening to disc 3 of Clear Or Cloudy this morning. I put it on for the reasons you articulated, because I haven't found all that many interesting cello concertos. In fact, everything on this disc is very interesting, including the chamber concerto, Mysteries Of The Macabre, and the beautiful double concerto.
I have many great memories of witnessing Ligeti performances, done by folks like Salonen, Boulez, Aimard, the Arditti SQ, et al., but my favorite performance was one that was not done by professional musicians. It took place at the Cleveland Museum of Art, in front of a desolate and haunting painting by German artist Anselm Kiefer titled "Lot's Wife;" the painting on a lead foil canvas appears to depict an abandoned rail yard: http://www.clevelandart.org/exhibcef...g/KIEFER_1.jpg
The musical work was Ligeti's Poeme Symphonique. The metronomes were started in unison by about 100 non-musicians. We sat and watched the metronomes slowly "die out," until only a few and then only one persistent one were left. Seeing the work in front of the Kiefer painting was incredibly poignant. It was impossible for me not to think of the work in existential terms, or in biographical terms (e.g., Ligeti's incredible story of survival and escape from under two brutal regimes), but also in historical terms, in relation to Germany's history, and the cattle cars that transported European Jews and other targeted groups to concentration camps. Suddenly, a work that had always seemed a joke to me took on a depth I had not imagined it having. A work that began by sounding like the clickety clack of a train riding on rails became at the end the sound of a human pulse, or human heart, struggling to remain alive amidst an inhuman environment, while the rest of us, the world, sat and watched and did nothing.
I don't think I was the only person in the audience who was moved by what was seen and heard.
Last edited by PeterFromLA; Oct-21-2012 at 00:26.
Le Grand Macabre is finally out on Blu-Ray, check amazon.
A wonderful analysis, and audition with live musicians, of Ligeti's violin concerto!:
Last edited by aleazk; Nov-28-2012 at 05:27.
Just love saying the word. LIGETI!
Just like you say spaghetti, or so I'm told. The "g" is hard.
Last edited by Hausmusik; Nov-28-2012 at 17:33.