(21stCent) Ligeti Listening

The next composer we will cover is György Ligeti, a Hungarian composer who spent most of his professional life in Germany. We will actually take two passes at Ligeti, looking first at two mid-period works from the 1960s, before later looking at some late-period works from the 1980s – early 2000.

Start with Lux Aeterna (1966), a piece for 16 solo singers. Listen to the recording first without looking at the score to get a feel for the music. It is quite different from standard homophonic or contrapuntal textures you might be familiar with. After a listening or two, break out the score and follow along (as best you can – entrances and rhythmic gestures are difficult to hear). I’ll begin talking about this work on Friday, after finishing up Webern.

The other work is the String Quartet No. 2 (1968). I’ve included all the movements, but I’m going to focus on the third and fourth movements. (The second movement is a bit like Lux Aeterna, and I’ll touch on it.) We won’t get to this before Wednesday (Monday is Memorial day, a holiday).

I find both works to be extremely beautiful, but in starkly different ways. Lux is absolutely non-aggresive and cloud-like in presentation. The quartet batters you with force and contrast.

There are two folders in the musth617 folder in my iLocker account, Ligeti-Lux and Ligeti-StQt2.


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