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György Ligeti

(1923—2006) Hungarian composer


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(b Dicsöszentmáron, 1923; d Vienna, 2006).

Hung.‐born composer (Austrian cit. 1967). Lect., Budapest Acad., 1950–6. Left Hungary 1956, going to work first at Cologne EMS 1957–8, then settling in Austria. Lect. at Darmstadt mus. courses 1959–72. Prof. of comp., Hamburg Mus. Acad. 1973–89. Though elec. stimulated his urge to compose, from 1958 he wrote only for ‘live’ performers. His orch. writing uses precisely calculated textures and dense (but not thick) scoring, deriving ultimately from Webern (Ligeti's term is ‘micropolyphony’). Prin. works:

opera:

Le Grand Macabre

(1972–6, rev. 1995, in 2 acts, f.p. Stockholm 1978).

orch.:

Apparitions

(1958–9);

Atmosphères

(1961);

Lontano

(1967);

Melodien

(1971);

San Francisco Polyphony

(1973–4).

soloist & orch.:

vc. conc. (1966); double conc., fl., ob. (1972); pf. conc. (1985–8); vn. conc. (1990, 1992); hn. conc. (1998–9, rev. 2003).

choral:

Requiem

, sop., mez., 2 ch., orch. (1963–5);

Lux aeterna

, 16‐part ch. (1966);

Clocks and Clouds

, 12‐voice women's ch., orch. (1972–3);

Scenes and Interludes from Le Grand Macabre

, sop., mez., ten., bar., opt. ch., orch. (1978);

Nonsense Madrigals

, 6 vv. (1988).

small orch.:

Ballad and Dance on Romanian Folk Songs

(1949–50);

6 Miniatures

, 10 wind instr. (1953, scored 1975 by F. Wanek);

Fragment

, 11 instr. (1961);

Adventures

, 3 singers, 7 instr. (1962);

Nouvelles Aventures

, 3 singers, 7 instr. (1962–5);

Ramifications

, str., or 12 solo str. (1968–9); Chamber Conc., 13 instr. (1969–70).

chamber music:

vc. sonata (1948–53); 10 Pieces, wind quintet (1968); str. qts. No.1 (Métamorphoses nocturnes) (1953–4), No.2 (1968); 6 Bagatelles, wind quintet (1953); hn. trio (Hommage à Brahms) (1982); sonata, vn. (1991–4).

keyboard:

Musica Ricercata

, 11 pieces, pf. (1951–3);

Continuum

, hpd. (1968); 3 Pieces (Monument, Selbstporträt, Bewegung), 2 pf. (1976);

Passacaglia ungherrese

, hpd. (1978);

Hungarian Rock

, hpd. (1978);

Etudes

, Bk.1 (1985), Bk.2 (1988–94), Bk.3 (1995).

organ:

Volumina

(1961–2, rev. 1966); 2 Studies (1967, 1969).

miscellaneous:

Artikulation

, tape (1958);

Poème symphonique

, 100 metronomes (1962);

Horizont

, recorder (1971).

Subjects: Music.


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