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György Ligeti Beyond Avant-garde and Postmodernism Translated by Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch CONSTANTIN FLOROS

Gyorgy Ligeti

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Constantin Floros is professor emeritus of Musicology at the Univer-sity of Hamburg. Among his works are volumes on the origin of Gregorian neumes, about Gustav Mahler, Anton Bruckner, Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven and Alban Berg.

Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch is professor emeritus of English and Compara-tive Literature at Indiana University. He has translated several books by Constantin Floros.

This monograph is an authoritative study of the oeuvre of one of the most important composers of our time. For the first time, Ligeti’s key works are presented in the context of their drafts and sketches. His per-sonal and artistic development is set forth and illuminated, and his prin-cipal compositions are analyzed and reinterpreted, based on detailed studies of the scores and drafts, as well as on personal conversations with the composer. In addition, numerous questions concerning today’s composing are raised and discussed. Music does not have to be puristic: Ligeti’s spheres of interest are close to universal, embracing history, natural science, and visual arts, as well as music of diverse eras and eth-nicities. This expanded world of the musical comprises not just tones and sounds, speech and music, the vocal and the instrumental: Ligeti conceives music as a cosmos of acoustic form.

„This study excels all previous monographs on the subject of Ligeti in factual thoroughness and breadth of aesthetic horizon, in fineness of intellectual portraiture and authority of musical analysis.“ (Lutz Lesle)

“The most exciting, comprehensible, analytically profound and concep-tually lucid study to date, which, in addition, for the first time incor-porates the sketches in the discussion and thereby elucidates the basic ideas underlying many of the works.“ (Fonoforum)

www.peterlang.com ISBN 978-3-631-65499-6

György LigetiBeyond Avant-garde and Postmodernism

Translated by Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch

CONSTANTIN FLOROS

265499_Floros_AK_A5HCk.indd 1 18.09.14 12:29

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György Ligeti

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For Dr. Vera Ligeti with profound admiration

C. Fl.

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Constantin Floros

György Ligeti

Beyond Avant-garde and Postmodernism

Translated by Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch

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Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbiblio-grafie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.

Cover illustration: György Ligeti.

Courtesy of SCHOTT MUSIC GmbH & Co. KG, Mainz/Germany.

Revised and expanded version of the German original edition: György Ligeti. „Jenseits von Avantgarde und Postmoderne“ by Constantin Floros.

© by MUSIKZEIT Verlag Lafite, Vienna/Austria.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Floros, Constantin. [György Ligeti. English] György Ligeti : beyond avant-garde and postmodernism / Floros, Constantin ; translated by Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-3-631-65499-6 1. Ligeti, György, 1923-2006--Criticism and interpretation. I. Bernhardt-Kabisch, Ernest, 1934- translator. II. Title. ML410.L645F5613 2014 780.92--dc23 2014021260

ISBN 978-3-631-65499-6 (Print) E-ISBN 978-3-653-04783-7 (E-Book)

DOI 10.3726/ 978-3-653-04783-7

© for the English edition: Peter Lang GmbH Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften

Frankfurt am Main 2014 All rights reserved.

© for all other languages: MUSIKZEIT Verlag Lafite, Vienna PL Academic Research is an Imprint of Peter Lang GmbH.

Peter Lang – Frankfurt am Main ∙ Bern ∙ Bruxelles ∙ New York ∙ Oxford ∙ Warszawa ∙ Wien

All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without

the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions,

translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in electronic retrieval systems.

This publication has been peer reviewed. www.peterlang.com

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Table of Contents

Preface ............................................................................................................................................. 1

1 Part One: Personality and Fundamental Aspects of the Work .................................... 5

1.1 Biographical Sketch ............................................................................................................. 9 1.2 Questions of Identity ......................................................................................................... 15 1.3 Towards an Intellectual Physiognomy ............................................................................ 18 1.4 A “Non-Puristic” Music.................................................................................................... 26 1.5 Metaphors, Allusions and Synaesthesias ......................................................................... 28 1.6 Innovativeness: Aspects of Compositional Technique ................................................. 34 1.7 Motion Types, Tonal Gestures and Expressive Characters ......................................... 40 1.8 Time and Space. Imaginary Space ................................................................................... 44 1.9 New Sound Images – New Semantemes.

“Cystoscopy”, Vacuum and Music of the Spheres ........................................................ 50 1.10 A “Double-Bottomed” Relation to Tradition ................................................................ 55 1.11 Diversity of Inspirational Sources. A Universalist Concept of Art and Music ........ 57 1.12 New Ways of Transcending the Tempered System ...................................................... 63 1.13 Backgrounds of Ligeti’s Popularity .................................................................................. 66

2 Part Two: Works ............................................................................................................... 71

2.1 Composing in the Homeland ........................................................................................... 73 2.2 Going beyond Serialism .................................................................................................... 76 2.3 Apparitions and the Dream of the Web ........................................................................... 79 2.4 Atmosphères – a Secret Requiem? ...................................................................................... 84 2.5 Micropolyphony ................................................................................................................. 89 2.6 Language and Music in the Requiem ................................................................................. 94 2.7 Lux aeterna ......................................................................................................................... 103 2.8 Continuum ........................................................................................................................... 106 2.9 New Conceptions of the Concertante: Notes on the Cello Concerto .......................... 110 2.10 On the Three Pieces for Two Pianos ............................................................................ 114 2.11 Mad World Theater: Le Grand Macabre.......................................................................... 117 2.12 The Turning Point ca. 1980 ............................................................................................ 140 2.13 Épater l’Avant-garde:

Retrospective and Forward-Looking Elements in the Horn Trio............................... 144 2.14 Notes on the Hölderlin Fantasies .................................................................................. 151 2.15 Construction and Imagination: Principles of the Piano Etudes ................................... 156 2.16 “Quasi-Equidistance” and Polyrhythm: Coordinates of the Piano Concerto ............. 180 2.17 The Violin Concerto ........................................................................................................ 192 2.18 The Horn Concerto ......................................................................................................... 207

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Afterword: Beyond Avantgarde and Postmodernism .......................................................... 211

3 Part Three: Appendix ...................................................................................................... 215

3.1 Abbreviations ................................................................................................................... 217 3.2 Notes ................................................................................................................................. 218 3.3 Register of Works ............................................................................................................ 231 3.4 Selected Bibliography ...................................................................................................... 236 3.5 Index of names ................................................................................................................. 249

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Preface

From September 30 to October 4, 1962, the Society of Musical Research held its International Musicological Convention in Kassel. I vividly recall the con-cluding session, on “Problems of Structure in Contemporary Music”, in which György Ligeti, in a captivating paper on electronic music, pleaded for a conception of music capable of accommodating also the intersti-tial/intermediate areas of the musical. His path-breaking presentation made such a powerful impression on me that I decided forthwith to concern myself at closer range with the works of the then 39-years-old, still relatively little-known composer. After Ligeti’s appointment to the Hamburg Musikhochschule in 1973, I had re-peated opportunities to be in contact with him and over the years got to know him as an altogether unconventional, intensely curious individual of profound wit and comprehensive knowledge and a warm-hearted friend. I began to scrutinize his works, whose musical idiom had always fascinated me, and to publish essays about them. It gave me particular pleasure to introduce some of his compositions, at times even before their first performance, in ar-ticles that appeared in the Swedish journal Nutida Musik. In 1975, Ligeti was awarded the noted Bach Prize in Hamburg, and I was chosen to present the eulogy. From 1987 on, I gave lectures about his music not only in Hamburg but in Vienna, in Graz, in Hitzacker, in Gütersloh and in the Rhine region. In the spring of 1989, I told him of my intention to write a book about him. On July 24, he wrote me:

I read your eulogy with great pleasure and thank you most cordially for it. I think it is much too laudatory (but I can bear it …). I am also delighted that you will be giving a seminar about my music at the Mu-sicological Institute next semester, and am equally delighted that you are writing a book about my music. If you need me, I am of course at your disposal. I will spend the summer in Vienna, but if you want to talk with me, Ms. Duchesneau will always know where to find me.

Of primary importance were the conversations I had with Ligeti in his Ham-burg apartment. This book is initially based on these conversations and on an intensive study of his numerous writings and the many interviews he has giv-en. The first (introductory) part centers on questions of biography, art and music theory, the psychology of creation and general aesthetics and concerns basic traits of Ligeti’s personality and work, his intellectual physiognomy and the phenomenology of his music. The more extensive second part comprises

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discussions of his most representative works, with special emphasis on the processes of creation. For the first time, Ligeti’s drafts will be an object of scholarly investigation in this book. I was particularly concerned to elucidate the genesis of his works, to outline the technical problems of composition that occupied him, to explore the relation between imagination and construc-tion, and likewise to elucidate the extra-musical associations accompanying the compositional process. A focal point of this study is the discernment that it is Ligeti’s synaesthetic endowment that opens up a deeper understanding of his music, a music that requires an analogous synaesthetic perception on the part of the listener. Syn-aesthetic aspects will therefore be continually considered in the analysis and interpretation of the works. It goes without saying that this study, too, would not have come off without the support of dear friends and numerous amiable colleagues. My principal thanks are owed posthumously to György Ligeti for his patience in answering my questions and his permission to inspect the drafts and particelli of his works. Dr. Louise Duchesneau stood tirelessly by me throughout the writing of the original version. She got hold of books, scores, and recordings for me and advised me on numerous questions. My colleagues Prof. Peter Petersen and professor Albrecht Schneider kindly put recordings of radio interviews at my disposal. Mr. Péter Hálasz and Ms. Edit Spielmann helped me in render-ing the Hungarian texts in Ligeti’s drafts. From conversations with the com-posers Wolfgang von Schweinitz, Professor Manfred Stahnke and Professor Altug Ünlü I derived valuable information about Ligeti as a teacher. The Uni-versal Edition of Vienna, B. Schott’s Sons in Mainz and the Henry Litolff / C.F. Peters Publishing House in Frankfurt let me have important music mate-rial. My gratitude goes to all of them. The present English translation of the book differs from the original German version by some substantial additions. Dr. Vera Ligeti kindly put some hither-to unknown portraits of her husband at my disposal. My friend Professor Dr. Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch of Indiana University once again provided a trans-lation of uttermost scrupulosity and raised numerous questions, which we were able to clarify in our correspondence. My most cordial thanks go to him. I am also much obliged to Professor Dr. Altug Ünlü for the formatting of the volume, and to Michael Rücker and Andrea Kolb of the Peter Lang Publish-ing House for their generous editorial advice. Hamburg, May 2014 Constantin Floros

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Contacts over many years: letters of Ligeti to the author (top)

and to the editor of the Österreichische Musikzeitschrift (bottom)

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1 Part One: Personality and Fundamental Aspects of the Work

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1.1 Biographical Sketch “C’est la musique qui est ma seule passion.”1

“Work and workaday life somehow flow together for me.”2

“The affairs of daily life are regulated in such a way that there remains sufficient time for work.”3

“I want to be able to work more and faster. Hence the neces-sary changeover to ‘telegram style’ in all matters of life, so that enough time remains for composing.”4

From 1973 to 1988, György Ligeti served as professor of composition at the Music Academy in Hamburg. When he was asked whether his retirement sig-nified a turning-point in his life, he firmly denied it, saying that his appoint-ment in Hamburg had not seemed a caesura to him either, since he had pre-viously taught also in Sweden and in the United States (at Stanford Universi-ty). He was thus alluding to a continuity in his life, which had always centered on composing and teaching. Even so, it would be an exaggeration to say that there had been no incisive events in his life. One such event, for example, was his flight from Hungary to the West in December of 1956. The first thing one wants to learn from the biography of a creative person is how he came to be what he is. To answer this question, one has to look into an entire complex of matters such as his/her socialization, training and devel-opment, the influences to which s/he was exposed, the historical circum-stances under which s/he worked and so on. In Ligeti’s case that means that one has to search for explanations of his talent, his originality, his ability to implement the musically imagined, his openness to all things of the intellect, his strong scholarly and musico-ethnological interests, etc. These aspects will therefore be at the center of the following chapters. György Ligeti was born on May 28, 1923 as the son of Jewish Hungarians, in Dicsöszentmárton, a small Transylvanian town that was part of Romania but whose inhabitants spoke Hungarian. His parents, the bank clerk Alexander Ligeti and the ophthalmologist Ilona Somogy, were from Budapest; both were music lovers. In a conversation with Reinhard Oehlschlägel, Ligeti told that even as a small, three- or four-year old child he got in the habit of imag-ining music5 – a habit he retained all his life. One begins to get a sense of what these imaginings were like once one has taken a look at the master’s sketches. They synaesthetically relate a rich musical vocabulary to literary im-pressions, visual sensations and psychic states.

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In 1929, shortly before the boy turned six, the family moved to Cluj, the sec-ond-largest Romanian city of between 120,000 and 150,000 inhabitants and a center of culture. Here Ligeti attended elementary school and then the Gymna-sium (secondary or prep school), and here he saw his first operas, Mussorg-sky’s Boris Godunov and Verdi’s La Traviata, a work that put him in a regular trance. At the age of eight, he had his first concert experiences and began to listen intensively to music on the radio – a habit he was to retain for many years. He took particular delight in comparing the transmissions from Buda-pest with those from Bucharest. The story of how he came to be a musician is a curious one.6 His father, who was unhappy in his profession and would have liked to be a free-lance writer (he authored several books), envisioned an academic career for his son, pref-erably as a natural scientist. Since he regarded him as overly playful, he for some time ignored the boy’s wish to learn to play an instrument (the violin). Then a lucky coincidence came to Ligeti’s aid. A violin teacher discovered that György’s younger brother, Gabor, had perfect pitch and prevailed upon Alexander Ligeti to let the boy take violin lessons; whereupon the fourteen-year-old György was able to insist on receiving piano lessons. Since there was no piano in the house, he had to practice at his piano teacher’s. He made rapid progress on the instrument and within weeks began to com-pose. His first attempt was a waltz in A minor in the manner of Edvard Grieg. At fifteen, he wrote a string quartet, and when he was sixteen, he em-barked on the composition of a symphony – one complete with a cannon shot and gunpowder explosion! Around this time he also immersed himself in the study of classical masterpieces and began to learn to play the timpani. For two years he performed in an amateur orchestra as a percussionist. Meanwhile the political situation in central Europe had deteriorated markedly. From 1933 on, a Nazi movement began to grow in Romania. Jewish students were discriminated against in the schools and often beaten up. Ligeti, too, suf-fered the effects of such discrimination. Having brilliantly passed his abitur in May of 1941, he wanted the study mathematics and physics at Cluj University but learned that university study was denied to Jews. In the vain hope that the situation would soon change, he registered for courses in mathematics and physics at a kind of ersatz university of necessity improvised for Jews. At the same time he studied harmony and counterpoint with Ferenc Farkas at the Cluj Conservatory in order to acquire the needed technical expertise, and learned to play the cello and the organ. In the summers of 1942 and 1943, he took private lessons in composition with Pal Kádosa in Budapest. An event of decisive force was his encountering the music of Béla Bartók in the winter

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of 1941/42, an experience that very likely hastened his resolution to give up the study of mathematics, hopeless in any case, and to become a musician. After the end of the war, still in 1945, Ligeti settled in Budapest. Here he studied at the Music Academy, initially counterpoint and fugue with Sandor Veress, who was regarded as the most important Hungarian composer after Bartók and Kodály, and then instrumentation and free composition again with Ferenc Farkas, who had meanwhile transferred to the renowned Buda-pest academy. He also completed studies in strict composition (strenger Satz, Palestrina-style), to which many years later he ascribed particular relevance al-so for his own compositional work. What, incidentally, he thought of his teachers we learn from an essay he published in 1949. He regarded Sandor Veress’s often barely accessible music as terrific, “full of hidden beauties,” which the listener had to seek out. Pál Kadosa he lauded as the boldest har-monist, as a composer whose works offered “a whole range of interesting formal problems, exciting metric and technical bravuras.” And Ferenc Farkas he praised as a master of vocal music, as the creator of the eminent lyrical cantata “Sankt-Johannes-Brunnen” (St. John’s Well) and as a composer of in-novative lieder.7 Having passed his final examination at the Music Academy in 1949, Ligeti went on an extended trip through Romania, in order, following the example of Bartók and Kódaly, to research folk music. He collected and evaluated sev-eral hundred Transylvanian (Hungarian) folk songs during this journey. He al-so composed an exhaustive treatise on the improvised polyphony of Romani-an folk music and its harmonic principles. This preoccupation bore abundant fruit. Ligeti began to adapt Hungarian and Romanian folk songs to all manner of instrumentations: piano, voice and piano, as well as chamber orchestra and chorus; he even wrote an orchestra piece entitled “Romanian Concerto.” By 1951 at the latest, however, the realization matured in him that he should dis-tance himself from folklorism and differentiate himself from the Bartók suc-cession. He began to search for new ways as a composer. From 1950 to 1956, Ligeti served as instructor of harmony, counterpoint and formal analysis at Budapest’s Music Academy. During this time he wrote two excellent textbooks on the “classical” theory of harmony. He did not have to teach composition – luckily, he thought, as he vehemently balked at the aes-thetic maxims of socialist realism, the prevailing doctrine at the time. His compositions during those years – avant-garde music influenced primarily by Bartók and Stravinsky, in part also by Alban Berg – defied these maxims and as result were destined for the drawer: there was virtually no chance of a per-formance for them. Thus Ligeti’s First String Quartet of 1953/54 was premi-

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ered only in 1958 in Vienna. Of his “progressive” works, only five of his Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet were performed at a small music festival for con-temporary Hungarian music in the fall of 1956, three weeks before the upris-ing – the sixth was omitted because of its notorious dissonances. Since the year 1948, Hungary had been totally cut off from the West, not only politically and economically, but also culturally. Everything that ranged under New Music in the West was simply taboo in Hungary. But Ligeti took a vivid interest in just this New Music; he was avidly seeking to know it and therefore listened attentively to the night programs of the German radio stations. By this means he first encountered Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony and electronic music by Herbert Eimert. After the political opening in the spring of 1956, it became possible to obtain records and music from the Western countries. Li-geti was happy to be able to acquire, for the first time, string quartets by Schönberg, Berg and Webern. He established contacts with Herbert Eimert, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Otto Tomek and Hanns Jelinek, who supplied him with music and essays. “It was a great shock for me – perhaps the most beau-tiful of my life”, he told later, “to suddenly be able to study, read and listen to what until then I had only vaguely guessed at, only secretly intercepted in snatches at night on the radio – it was like a liberation. I was in the middle of the most intensive compositional work on Víziók, writing down, in this piece, the results of years of solitary experimentation with new musical possibilities, and now acquired intelligence of the New Music in the West. It strongly con-firmed me in my own path!”8 In the above-mentioned conversations with Reinhard Oehlschläger, Ligeti de-scribed in vivid colors the dramatic events after the suppression of the Buda-pest uprising: how the initial confident mood – the hope of liberation – ab-ruptly changed into anxiety and panic after the invasion of the Soviet troops on November 4, 1956; how, on November 7 he was all alone in his apartment – all the other occupants hid in the cellar, afraid of being hit by flying bullets – and for the first time heard Stockhausen’s Gesang der Jünglinge (Song of the Youths) and Kontra-Punkte on the radio, and how, after the street battles and the mass arrests, he resolved to flee to the West, because he did not want to live under a dictatorship. On December 10, he boarded a train going west and, under cover of night, crossed illicitly into Austria. He was accompanied by his girlfriend, Vera Spitz, whom he married in 1957, and who later became one of the most prominent representatives of Freudian psychology. On October 15, 1944, the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian Fascist party, had celebrated its coming to power with the shooting of ten thousand Jews. Vera Spitz, who was fourteen years old at the time, had escaped certain

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death only at the last moment. She had then and there resolved to choose a profession that would best enable her to understand human beings, their compulsions and abysses. Arrived in Vienna, Ligeti met Friedrich Cerha and Hanns Jelinek. Yet he evi-dently did not at first intend to reside` in Vienna, as he promptly turned to Eimert and Stockhausen, the founders of the noted Studio for Electronic Music in Cologne. Both invited him to Cologne to work with them on the Studio. Through the efforts of Eimert, he obtained a stipend for four months, which, frugal as he was, enabled him to remain in Cologne for a year and a half. Stockhausen took him in for six weeks, a period filled with intensive conversations about the New Music. Ligeti’s long-cherished wish to be able to hear and study the music of Schönberg, Berg and Webern, works of Pierre Boulez, Stockhausen and others could finally be satisfied. In his Stockhausen book of 1963, Karl H. Wörner tells a story of how upon his arrival in Cologne Ligeti collapsed in total exhaustion and slept for more than 24 hours in Stockhausen’s apartment, refusing any and all food, and how, after finally waking up, he promptly launched into a nearly four-hours long discussion about the New Music and electronic music, only to then sink back into another 24-hour sleep.9 The story does not seem to be correct in every detail, but it conveys a sense of Ligeti’s passionate concerns, at the time, about the New Music. Looking back, Ligeti professed that the eighteen months he spent in Cologne were important ones for him. He got to know the Cologne music scene at close quarters, became familiar with the aims of the period’s avant-garde, ob-tained valuable experiences in the Studio for Electronic Music, where he worked above all with Gottfried Michael Koenig, produced his first electronic compositions (Glissandi and Articulation), and above all was able to firmly es-tablish his own artistic point of view. As strongly impressed as he was with the consistency of Stockhausen’s way of thinking, as little was he persuaded by the rigidity of serialism’s principles. In 1957, Ligeti was able for the first time to visit the International Summer Courses for New Music in Darmstadt. There he met Pierre Boulez, Luigi No-no and Henri Pousseur. From 1959 on, he repeatedly served as a lecturer at the Summer Courses. He offered seminars on “Problems of Form and Struc-ture in Webern”, as well as an analysis of Webern’s first cantata. Gradually he got to know nearly all the representatives of the time’s avant-garde. He be-came close friends with the early deceased Bruno Maderna (d. 1973) – an “angelic” being, whose gift as a conductor he continued to praise to the skies.

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The years 1960 and 1961 marked a turning-point in his life, inasmuch as the highly successful premieres of Apparitions and Atmosphères brought him an in-stant international breakthrough. The premiere of Apparitions on June 19, 1960, at the World Music Festival of the International Society for New Music in Cologne, was a sensation, and that of Atmosphères on October 22, 1961, at the Donauseschinger Musiktage (Donaueschingen Music Festival) was no less successful. With these and the following works Ligeti advanced to the fore-front of contemporary composers, though he did not obtain a firm appoint-ment until 1973. In the ‘sixties, he lived mostly in Vienna (in 1967 he acquired Austrian citizenship), but he also traveled around numerous European coun-tries. He taught as a guest professor at the Music Academy in Stockholm and offered courses in composition in Madrid, in Dutch Bilthoven, at the Folk-wang School in Essen, Germany, and in Jyväskylä, Finland. From 1969 to 1973, he lived predominantly in Berlin. In 1972, he spent half a year as com-poser-in-residence at Stanford University in California. His appointment as professor of composition at the State Academy of Music in Hamburg in 1973 brought some stability into his restless life, though he continued to teach courses in composition at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, Massachusetts, at the Academy Chigiana in Siena, Italy, in Aix-en-Provence and elsewhere. His international renown drew many gifted young composers to the Hamburg Music Academy. His pupils, among them Hans-Christian von Dadelsen, Babette Koblenz, Wolfgang von Schweinitz, Wolfgang Andreas-Schultz, Manfred Stahnke, Detlef Müller-Siemens, Altug Ünlü, to name only a few, had the feeling of belonging to an elite. Students of mine at Hamburg University who also attended Ligeti’s courses at the Music Academy were fascinated by the way he analyzed chamber music works by Franz Schubert. Ligeti has been overwhelmed with honors like few other composers of his generation. Many of his works earned prizes. He was given the highest awards available in our cultural world. As the bearer of the Great Austrian State Prize or the Praemium Imperiale of Tokyo, as member of the Order Pour le Mérite, honorary doctor of Hamburg University, honorary senator of the Hamburg Music Academy, and member of several academies and artistic institutions, such as the League of Austrian Composers (Österreichischer Komponistenbund), he enjoyed high prestige all over the world. One indication of his world-wide recognition is the fact that for many years festivals featuring his music have been held in many countries. It is also typical of him that he engaged himself energetically in behalf of composers whom he valued. Thus he championed the Mexian Conlon Nancarrow and the Romanian Stefan Nicolescu.

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After his retirement in 1989, and until his death in 2006, Ligeti lived alternate-ly in Hamburg and in Vienna, continuing to work intensively in Hamburg while seeking recreation in Austria. To the end, he remained attached to his Hamburg apartment as the site of many years of creativity, though at one point he had thought of moving to Paris.

Austria’s great tribute of 1990

1.2 Questions of Identity “If I am asked who I am, I say: I am a Transylvanian-born Hungarian of Jewish descent and a citizen, originally of Ro-mania, then of Hungary and finally of Austria. I belong to no place: I belong to European intelligentsia and culture.”

No one familiar with Ligeti and his life’s story will miss the cosmopolitan bent of his personality. Born in Transylvania and raised in Hungary, he lived and worked in many European countries as well as in the U.S.A. He was pol-yglot, spoke several languages and felt at home as much in Vienna as in Ham-burg or Paris. His pupils and friends included members of many nations, and his reputation was international. He was, he once remarked, opposed to all nationalist movements. As a child in Romania and Hungary, he said, he always led a twofold existence, and he defined his identity tellingly in these words:

My native language is Hungarian, but I am not a genuine Hungarian, because I am a Jew. At the same time, I am not a member of a Jewish

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religious community, so I am an assimilated Jew. But I am not com-pletely assimilated, either, because I am not baptized. Now, as an adult, I live in Austria and in Germany, and have for a long time been an Austrian citizen. Yet I am not a real Austrian, either, only a John-nie-come-lately, and my German speech will always retain a Hungari-an coloration.10

Ligeti was forced to leave Hungary and was able to exist outside of his home-land. Yet a feeling of nostalgia, of a yearning for his home remained alive in him. In September of 1993, he told me he felt himself to be Hungarian and belonging to Hungarian culture. He said he loved Hungarian literature and re-tained a strong tie to his native language with its concise images and rhythmic structures. That was his explanation, in any case, why in 1983 he had set the Magyar Etüdök, poems of the major Hungarian poet Sándor Weöres, to music. Already in his youth he had composed nostalgic poems. The following choral song, written in 1945 in Budapest, is based on a Hungarian folk poem. Enti-tled “A Black Bird”, an English version would read as follows:

A black cloud rises. In it a black bird grooms its feathers. Stop, bird, stop, take my letter with you for Father and Mother, for my betrothed. If they ask where I am, tell them that I am sick, In foreign parts I hide my head.11

The feeling of standing apart from all groupings and formations, the con-sciousness of not belonging a hundred percent to any group, thus seems to be particularly characteristic of him. His relation to Judaism is symptomatic of that attitude. He came from a Jewish family (his paternal forebears were called Auer – Ligeti is the not quite exactly magyarized form of that name). His fa-ther was a member of the Jewish community, but he cared little for religion. Ligeti himself was not a member of any Jewish congregation; during his childhood and youth he had only the vaguest knowledge of the Jewish reli-gion. The world of Jewish belief, he once remarked, was closed to him.12 Af-ter a visit to Israel, he felt that Jewish culture was basically alien to him. It does not require much imagination to understand that the virulent anti-Semitism after World War I, the dramatic events of World War II and the persecution of Jews during the Third Reich had traumatic effects upon him. His father Sándor, a highly decorated lieutenant during World War I, was de-

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ported to Buchenwald and murdered in 1944 in the concentration camp Ber-gen-Belsen; his younger brother Gábor died at the Mauthausen camp. His mother, a physician, was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Several of his oth-er relatives perished likewise, while others barely survived in the Budapest ghetto. For some time he suffered considerable guilt feelings, tormenting himself with the question why, by what right, he of all people had been spared, Ligeti’s relation to politics is no less complex. Time and again he emphasizes his political interests. During the Hitler years, he was taken with his father’s political and economic theories and was left-oriented – a “utopian socialist.” His subsequent experience of the Stalinist dictatorship compelled him, how-ever, to radically revise his political persuasions. In 1948, Hungary turned Communist and Stalinist. Ligeti came to know the principles of “Socialist Re-alism” and was disgusted with the cultural politics of Shdanov, realizing that they rested on ideas similar to Hitler’s polemics against “degenerate art.” He was dismayed to learn that composers like Hindemith, Honegger and Britten, even Bach and Handel were being suppressed (the latter two because of their “clericalist” tendencies), and that the performance of works by Béla Bartók that he cherished particularly, such as the middle string quartets, the Music for String Instruments, Percussion and Celesta and the Miraculous Mandarin, was forbid-den. Looking back later, Ligeti called himself “doubly damaged”, by National So-cialism and then by Hungarian Communism. Since his flight from Hungary, at the latest, he professed an emphatic commitment to democracy, to human dignity, freedom of opinion and personal and religious liberty. He entertained a profound admiration for great achievements in all cultures – for great music as well as for the Egyptian pyramids, Gothic cathedrals and Shakespearean drama. The pacification of humankind was close to his heart. But he did not count himself among the representatives of politicized art: in this respect his work differs radically from that of Luigi Nono, Hans Werner Henze or Helmut Lachenmann. He did not wish to put his music in the service of any ideology or to have it proclaim a message. He saw the danger of art being misused by politics and argued that there should be no bridge between music and current events13 – though he did not object to taking positions on such events indi-rectly, praising in this connection Arnold Schönberg’s Survivor from Warsaw.14 A boundless urge for independence and a highly critical way of thinking mu-tually conditioned each other in Ligeti’s nature. He was a declared opponent of all ideologies, calling himself an “anti-ideologue”, didn’t think much of

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doctrinaire persuasions, questioned a great deal and was indifferent to all fads. He opposed all dogmatic thinking and the rule of rigid systems, whether in life, in politics or in art. He was the opposite of a conformist. This outlook af-fected his attitude not only toward the various directions taken by the New Music, but also toward the technical norms that modernity posited for com-position. It is precisely because he always preserved his independence and au-tonomy that he was repeatedly able to help the New Music out of crisis and to point out new ways for it. 1.3 Towards an Intellectual Physiognomy

“I am interested in everything: natural science, linguistics, his-tory, politics.”15

German literary history distinguishes the poeta doctus, the learned poet, from the poeta vates or poet as seer, including in the former category such major writers as Thomas Mann, Robert Musil, Gottfried Benn and Arno Schmidt. If one were to speak analogously of a musicus doctus, one could cite György Ligeti as a contemporary representative. He was as well-versed in music history and theory as any professional musicologist, but he was also closely familiar with literature and painting. A congress organized in Hamburg in 1988 in honor of his sixty-fifth birthday impressively documented the breadth of his intellectual interests, which extended from the discoveries of modern biochemistry and the visualization of fractals all the way to African and Javanese music. His relation to technology is symptomatic of his artistic orientation. He was interested in both electronic and computerized music. Many of his works evoke associations with electronic music in the listener, and numerical pro-portions play a prominent role in quite a few of them. Yet he openly pro-claimed that he did not make any scientistic music. Art and science are closely adjacent yet different. Ligeti did not believe that one can make sensible music by converting mathematical formulae into musical processes. Neither “scien-tific” nor “mathematical” elements, he once explained, will be found in his music, but rather a combination of construction and poetic-emotional imagi-nation. Especially illuminating is his relation to the great composers, writers and visu-al artists. When he spoke of them, he did so by way of assessment, taking a stand, adopting sides. He felt drawn to artists that seemed kindred to him, in whom he discovered traits that particularly affected him, while others’ works seemed miles apart from his own. He had a special predilection for the complex, the constructive, the excogitat-ed, also the mannered. For years he studied the complex music of the late

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Middle Ages, the ars nova and ars subtilior, not in order to use them as models but so as to enrich his experiences and to tap new wells of inspiration. He had an aversion to the “heroic”, the affirmative, the direct, the unequivo-cal, the pompous, the confessional and histrionic. The term weltanschauung was suspect to him, a sense of mission in art made him uncomfortable. He admired the compositional genius of Richard Wagner, but he distanced himself from the heroism and pathos of his music dramas. He valued the prelude to Rheingold and the magic fire music of Die Walküre for their coloris-tic qualities, though the regarded the wonderfully orchestrated Rheingold prel-ude as the very archetype of “static” music. His relation to Dmitri Shostako-vich was similarly ambivalent. So long as he knew only the Song of the Forests and the Seventh Symphony, he was reserved about the works of the great Russian. Once he got to know The Nose and Lady Macbeth of Mzensk, he changed his mind fairly radically. Ligeti’s maxims included an affirmation of emotionality in art but also an aversion to pathos and did not want the one to be confused with the other. It is thus symptomatic that he firmly distanced himself from Expressionism. He acknowledged Arnold Schönberg and Alban Berg, whose Lyric Suite made a lasting impression upon him, as great compos-ers, but he hastened to add that their pathos was “alien” to him.16 In the early ‘sixties, he wrote the text to a ten-part radio series about Anton Webern, which was broadcast by Germany’s Southwest Radio in 1963/64. He explained there how Webern gradually moved away from Wagner as well as from the style of his own teacher Schönberg, found his own style and gained “distance from Romanticism.” At the same time it seemed important to him that “a core of the Romantic tradition remained” in Webern’s music, one “that preserved the poetic aspects – the tender, inward, yearningly enigmatic, but excluded everything long-winded, rhetorical sentimental and lachry-mose.”17 Ligeti drew a parallel between Webern and Claude Debussy in this context, holding that both had conserved the “poetry of Romanticism” but had abhorred its pathos – a memorable formulation that seems to mirror Li-geti’s own aesthetic position. Debussy is altogether one of the composers most deeply venerated by Ligeti. He praised him as an artist who did not let himself be enslaved by any rule. “Debussy”, he once said, “is closest to me: total fluidity, elegance – that is es-sential for me.” Elegance is also what captivated him about many works of Igor Stravinsky, of which he especially valued the Symphonie d’instruments a vent, the ballet Agon and the Canticum sacrum.

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Ligeti’s early work was strongly influenced by Béla Bartók, at least in part. Many of his early pieces profited from impulses received from Bartók. Even in later years, he professed to greatly love Bartók, though he hinted at having distanced himself considerably from him. The ideal of force to which many of the great Hungarian’s works seem to pay tribute is not one of the things that enchanted the older Ligeti. Classicism and Mannerism are regarded as diametrically opposed stances in the history of the arts. Ligeti freely admitted that his preference is for Man-nerism, not only in music, but also in literature and visual art. He frankly con-fessed that he loved the mannerists more than the classicists. He preferred Hölderlin’s “craziness” to Goethe’s classicism. Hölderlin’s appeal lay for him in the “combination of unbridled, in the best sense of the word deranged im-agination and extraordinary formal rigor.”18 His judgment about the relative worth of Kafka and Thomas Mann was similar. He preferred Kafka’s “ex-tremism” to Mann’s “classicity.” Though he greatly esteemed the latter’s Bud-denbrooks, he declared Kafka to be his “favorite poet.” In delving into Ligeti’s intellectual world, it becomes clear that his literary preferences were for Surrealism, Dadaism, the Theater of the Absurd and the imaginary generally. Apart from Kafka, the authors that particularly attracted him were Lewis Carroll, Alfred Jarry, Gyula Krudy, Kurt Schwitters, Fritz von Herzmanovsky-Orlando, Boris Vian and Sándor Weöres. Two of the books that left a lasting impression on him were Lewis Carroll’s (1832-1898) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, the bizarre stories of the heroine’s dream adventures, encounters with fantastic creatures in an odd world in which causality is suspended and the laws of nature are turned upside down. In a letter to Ove Nordwall of August 5/6, 1968, Ligeti wrote that Carroll’s book had probably been as important to him as Kafka. The figure of Alice and the formal characteristics of her stories, he said, were to be found already in his Aventures and really also in many of his other works, including the String Quartet No. 2 (1968).19 It is also worth noting in this connection that at the end of the last of the Ten Bagatelles for Wind Quin-tet (1968) there is a quotation from Alice’s Adventures, and that Ligeti at the time was thinking of producing a stage spectacle based on Carroll’s book. Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) is regarded by theater historians as a forerunner of the Dadaists and Surrealists and as a pioneer of the Theater of the Absurd. His five-act drama Ubu Roi (King Ubu), premiered in Paris in 1986, projects a world of grotesque archetypal images and was created as a deliberate persi-

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flage of theatrical conventions. Ligeti himself referred more than once to the influence of this play on the conception of his opera Le Grand Macabre. Ligeti derived vital impulses also from Gyula Krudy (1878-1933), a relatively little-known Hungarian writer, often regarded as akin to Marcel Proust as well as to the Surrealists. His novellas and novels (e.g. The Adventures of Sinbad) are mostly located in a fantasy world of dreams and imaginary adventures. By his own confession, Krudy’s necrophilia has been essential to Ligeti, as has been the fact that in Krudy’s novels the process of time frequently seems suspend-ed. Along with Arp, Tzara, Huelsenbeck, Hausmann, Picabia and Janco, Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), was one of the most prominent representatives of lit-erary Dadaism, who as the meaning of a poem accepted solely the “consistent abstinence from any kind of conventional lyrical signification.”20 Of pro-grammatic importance for literary Dadaism was his poem “An Anna Blume”, first published in 1919. Schwitters made a name for himself primarily also by his advocacy of an enlargement of the means and materials of art (see his “Merz-Bau” below). In the spring of 1964, Ligeti wrote to Ove Nordwall that probably no artist was closer to him in human terms than Schwitters.21 He al-so did not conceal his predilection for Schwitters’ famous Sonate in Urlauten (Sonata in Primordial Sounds). Indeed, it takes an acquaintance with this so-nata to begin to understand sound compositions like Aventures and Nouvelles aventures.

K. Schwitters, “Merz-Bau“ (akin to Ligeti’s thinking)

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Two further authors that fascinated Ligeti were the Austrian Fritz von Her-zmanovsky-Orlando (1877-1954) and the Frenchman Boris Vian (1920- 1959). Amazingly enough he approximated both of them to Kafka. In Vian he was impressed by the way the terrible things he says in his plays L’Ecume de Jours (The Foam of the Days) and L’Automne à Pékin are always made to sound ridiculous. How much Ligeti felt drawn to the tragicomic world of Bo-ris Vian one can gather from the fact that he titled one of his piano etudes af-ter Vian’s novel L’arrache-coeurs (The Heart-Snatcher) – a striking piece, which, however, for “dramaturgical” reasons, he did not include in the second cycle of the piano etudes. A special place in the pantheon of authors close to Ligeti, finally, was occu-pied by Sándor Weöres, a great Hungarian poet, who composed several epics and invented entire mythologies, such as the imaginary land Nakonxipan. His comic epic Bolond Istók constitutes a mythology about the creation and the end of the world. Ligeti likewise had an affinity with the visual arts. He was conversant with the history of both painting and architecture and staggered even professional ex-perts with his knowledge and sense of quality.22 Three of his drawings, which became known in the ‘nineties, Jüngstes Gericht, Familienszenerie and Die Bevölk-erung in den Wolken (Last Judgment, Family Scene, The Inhabitants of the Clouds), strike one as mildly Surrealist.23 Of the pictorial artists, he once re-marked, the Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher was “closest” to him. Escher’s illusionism, he said, resembled his own way of working, and Escher’s interest in the illusion of non-existent perspectives corresponded to his own pleasure in patterns of rhythmic illusion (see illustration p. 109).

J. Miró, “Carnival of the Harlequin” (with Ligeti’s “Artikulation”)

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He was also drawn to the paintings of Paul Cézanne and loved the pictures of his in which time seems to stand still. “In concerning myself with Cézanne now”, he tellingly remarked, “I am becoming aware that there is an art to which I feel very close: the heaviness of time, the frozenness of time. The process of time not as a light dance but congealed, petrified.”24 It goes without saying that he had many other partialities. Thus he was fond of the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch (see illustr. p. 100) as well as of many pictures by Paul Klee. On May 22, 1988, he wrote to me that while working on Artikulation, he had been impressed by Joan Miró’s Carnival of the Harlequin. In speaking of Ligeti’s intellectual interests, we must not forget mathematics and natural science, which always greatly appealed to him. As a high-school student, he excelled in physics and in chemical experiments, and he would have studied physics if the anti-Semitic laws of the rightist government in Hungary at the time had not prevented him from attending a university. Sig-nificantly he regarded mathematics as a kind of language and located it “somewhere between the natural sciences and art.”25 Ever since his stay at Stanford University, he was fascinated by computer science and artificial intel-ligence. In the early nineties he turned his attention to fractal geometry and chaos research. A mainspring of these interests was the desire to discover the laws underlying complexities in the arts. A special place was reserved in his thinking for the relation between art and science and that between music and technology. He drew a sharp dividing line between art and science. “Scientific ideas and methods”, he wrote in 1985, “differ so fundamentally from artistic ones that neither technology nor math-ematics by themselves would be able to produce any art.” But he also quali-fied this statement by adding: “Scientific facts, however, can well fertilize ar-tistic ideas and conceptions and thereby beneficially affect the development of a new visual art and a new music.”26 Fascinated by the complexity of musical structures, Ligeti at times declared complexity to be one of his foremost artistic aims. As a genuinely dialectical spirit, however, he did not want to pass any judgment on the aesthetic effect of such structures. His essay “Zur Anwendung von Computern in der Kom-position” (On the Use of Computers in Composing), contains the following significant reservation: “We do not even know if sufficient complexity, suffi-cient wealth of relationships are categories of artistic worth – there are ex-tremely simple works that constitute great art.”27 He approved of data pro-cessing for the production of sounds and even complex tone structures, and he greatly valued the pioneering work of Claude Risset and John Chowing.28

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But he had qualms about algorithmic composition. He could appreciate the serendipitous in musical invention, but he settled for notated music, for the worked-out score. Psychologists assert that highly creative beings often incline toward illusion, imagination, fantasies and utopias. In Ligeti’s work, the illusionary, imaginary, fantastic plays a large role. He had a soft spot for imaginary lands, islands, cit-ies, spaces and languages. As a youth he had conceived the imaginary realm Kilviria (see the illustrations below). In lengthy notes, he described its language and grammar, drew detailed maps of its topography, and painstakingly depict-ed its geological formations.29 For a while he even played with the idea of writing a full-length music drama entitled Kilviria. He had, in fact, received a contract for it from the Stockholm Opera. The libretto was to be written in a kind of imaginary language. Ligeti was thinking in terms of a labyrinthine col-lage of motives from ancient mythology. A passion for the new, the unprecedented in art, a pondering reason and a lively imagination, calculation and spontaneity, stylized emotionality, a love of formal rigor and at the same time for the crazily mannered, a fondness for the excogitated, the complex, illusionary and imaginary – these are some of the traits of György Ligeti’s spiritual physiognomy.

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FS 3-5 “Kilviria”, Fantasy of a World Landscape (Drawings by G. Ligeti) 1. Imagined Routes,

2. Mountain Ranges and Rivers, 3. Inhabitants’ Settlements

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1.4 A “Non-Puristic” Music “Music is not an island to me but part of a complex continu-um of life and experience.”30

“My music is not puristic. It is contaminated by an insane number of associations, because I think highly synaesthetical-ly.”31

Nothing is more characteristic of the aesthetics of several composers belong-ing to the avant-garde of the ‘fifties than their purist point of view. They not only paid homage to an extreme structuralism, but also vehemently champi-oned the notion that the new music they propagated should remain free of any and all associative side effects. (One could justifiably speak of a material fetishism.) Thus for Karlheinz Stockhausen, a prime criterion for the quality of an electronic composition was “to what extent it has been kept free of any instrumental or other tonal associations.” Such associations, he thought, de-tracted the mind of the listeners from the autonomy of the sound world pre-sented to them; they would feel reminded of bells, organs, birds or water fau-cets. Stockhausen therefore demanded that electronic music should, if possi-ble, contain only sounds and sound combinations that were “unique and free of associations.”32 Pierre Boulez, too, was taken with the idea of admitting only “neutral” ele-ments to a composition – elements that did not aim at any “anecdotal charac-terization.” For this reason he had considerable doubts about John Cage’s prepared piano, as well as about the use of idiophones in the orchestra. Un-like the tones of a violin or trumpet, he thought, the sound of a percussion instrument, of cymbals or a gong, was perceived as an individual factor. It would have the tendency “to step out of the context of the composition and thus to evade its dialectic, because such a sound is linked to an anecdotal connotation.”33 Ligeti’s position on these questions was diametrically opposed to the views of Stockhausen and Boulez. In a commentary on a performance in Hamburg in the fall of 1960, he wrote:

Although I have an aversion to everything expressly illustrative or programmatic, that does not mean that I am opposed to associations evoked by music. On the contrary: sounds and musical contexts al-ways call up sensations of color, solidity and visible as well as palpable form in me. And conversely, color, form, material consistency, even abstract concepts instinctively link themselves to tonal ideas in my mind. That explains the presence of such numerous extra-musical

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traits in my compositions. Tonal planes and masses, which supersede, interpenetrate or merge with each other, – floating networks that tear apart and get knotted, – wet, sticky, gelatinous, fibrous, dry, brittle, grainy and compact materials, – shreds, phrases, fragments and traces of all sorts, – imaginary buildings, labyrinths, inscriptions, texts, dia-logues, insects, – conditions, events, processes, amalgamations, trans-formations, catastrophes, decay, disappearance, – all these are ele-ments of my non-puristic music.34

In these sentences Ligeti indirectly but unmistakably turned against the then prevailing puristic musical aesthetics of his most prominent colleagues. How different the theoretical orientation of the three composers was is suggested by the titles of their respective works at the time. Whereas Stockhausen and Boulez had a predilection for technical terms – Boulez’ Structures pour deux pi-anos were written in 1951, Stockhausen composed his Kontra-Punkte in 1953, his Zeitmaße in 1955/56 and his Gruppen in 1955/57 – Ligeti gave his first compositions, which made a great stir in the early ‘sixties, such suggestive ti-tles as Apparitions and Atmosphères. Many of his works reveal that his conceptions of music and the musical ex-tended far beyond the current views. There are indications that the universal world of the musical he had in mind not only comprised sound and noise, language and music, the vocal and the instrumental but that the borderlines between these areas were frequently fluid. Music for Ligeti seems to be the cosmos of everything acoustically shaped, from whispering and rustling to shrieking and explosive thunder. Music is to him everything between the soft flageolet to the full orchestral sound. It is symptomatic for him that he did not attempt a synthesis of electronic and instrumental music. His domain is in-strumental and vocal music, albeit a music sui generis that profited from his ex-periences with electronics and that frequently ranges in a region between the world of tones and that of noise. That explains why many of his instrumental works, such as Apparitions, Atmosphères or Continuum, evoke associations with electronic music in the listener – associations of tonal mixtures, impulses, as well as white noise. Is Ligeti’s music, then, “pure” music or “program music”? That question fre-quently arises, and our answer must be: neither – nor. His music is, he once explained, “program music without program, a music heavily shot through with associations.”35 He distanced himself categorically from the program music of a Liszt, Berlioz or Richard Strauss, and accounted for that by his predilection for the ambiguous or polysemous. The following remark of his is illuminating in this connection:

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Everything that is direct and unambiguous is alien to me. I love allu-sions, double-entendres, ambiguities, the double-bottomed, the cryp-tic. Ambiguous are also the various pictorial associations with my mu-sic, which I speak or think or sense while I envisage music.36

Ligeti’s views about his “non-puristic” music are conspicuously close to those of a contemporary, who as a composer nevertheless took a completely differ-ent route: Hans Werner Henze, too, confessed to a “musica impura.” In a con-versation with Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich in 1972, Henze said:

My music has these human, allegorical, literary involvements. My mu-sic is “impure”, as Neruda said of his poems. It does not want to be abstract, it does not want to be pure, it is “sullied”: by weaknesses, disadvantages, and imperfections.37

1.5 Metaphors, Allusions and Synaesthesias “A spontaneous translation of optical or tactile sensations in-to acoustic ones is very frequent with me. I nearly always as-sociate colors, forms and material consistencies with sounds, as well as vice versa, acoustic sensations with colors, forms and material conditions. Even abstract concepts such as quantities, relations, connections and processes appear sensu-alized to me and have their place in an imaginary space.”38

“My music is not puristic. It is contaminated by incredibly many associations, because I think highly synaesthetically. With sounds I always think of forms, with forms of colors and sounds etc., so that actually a great deal from the visual arts, from literature, but also certain scientific aspects, things of daily life, political aspects and a great many other things play a major role for me. I do not know if these associations are my private matter. I would say a certain level of education is necessary to hear my music otherwise than if one listens to it without these associations, as pure music. It is never pro-gram music, but is very strongly charged with associations.”39

In looking at Ligeti’s numerous utterances about his music and his works, one quickly notices that they do not at all exhaust themselves in technical catego-ries but frequently allude to extra-musical matters. Ligeti does not hesitate to confess that the sources of his inspiration are frequently extra-musical in na-ture. Verse, poems and texts that affect him, colors, pictures, paintings, ob-jects of the visual arts – all these act as creative stimuli to his imagination. The fifth of his piano etudes, for example, bears the suggestive title Arc-en-ciel, rainbow.

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During the creative process, and sometimes also thereafter, associations to lit-erature and the visual arts come to him, associations that in many instances he has actually named. He often uses diverse metaphors to explain his music. In addition, he stresses that many of his works evoke specific allusions – allu-sions, for example, to Romantic music, to organ music, to Johann Sebastian Bach, to Frédéric Chopin, Claude Debussy, or Gustav Mahler. The second of his Drei Stücke für zwei Klaviere, for example, bears the title Selbstportrait mit Reich und Riley (und Chopin ist auch dabei), Self-portrait with Reich and Riley (and Chopin is with it, too). Ligeti repeatedly declared that music was “something primarily intuitive” for him, and that the creative process was set in motion for him by concrete, sen-sory ideas.40 He is, by his own confession, synaesthetically endowed, sponta-neously translates visual and tactile sensations into acoustic ones and nearly always associates both colors, forms and material conditions with sounds. “When I hear music”, he once said, “I also see colors, figures.”41 He thus ex-periences music like Olivier Messiaen, who was also a synaesthetic.42 Keeping all that in mind, one begins to understand Ligeti’s remark that for him the ar-tificial product called “work of art” was “linked to every level of perception, including that of concrete life.”43 If the above quotations are fairly general, the following statement conveys an impression of how Ligeti connects certain conceptions with sounds.

For me, the idea of time, for example, is something white and fog-like, slowly and inexorably flowing from left to right, making a very soft hhhh-like noise. “Left”, in this case, is a purple place of tinny con-sistency and accordant sound, while “right is orange in color, with a skin-like surface and a muffled sound.44

The manner in which the acoustic is linked to the optical here allows us to speak of synopsy, to use the technical term.45 Very instructive in this context are also Ligeti’s notes to the early works At-mosphères, “Dies Irae” (from the Requiem) and Aventures. Written in Hungarian, they were translated into Finnish by Erkki Salmenhaara46 and then transferred to German (unfortunately not without errors) by Helke Sander. They impres-sively document Ligeti’s synaesthetic perception. In seeking to verbalize his tonal ideas, he uses not only the adjectives high and low, loud and soft, shrill and mellow, but also the terms thin and thick – expressions that refer to tonal vol-ume and clearly point to the realm of the so-called ur-synaesthesias. Very sug-gestive are also the verbal images “individual birds” and “suddenly the trem-bling of a butterfly, mingled fast, mingled motion, then again stop.” They

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emerge in the middle of the description of musical facts in the “Dies Irae”, and here, too, one finds the notes “Pursuit, panic, hysterical terror, milling, precarious. Small Bosch objects in the texture of the pursuit” – a clear indica-tion that in sketching the “Dies Irae” Ligeti associated some passages with pictures of his favorite painter Hieronymus Bosch (see illustr. P. 100).

Angel of Darkness by Matthias Grünewald

We likewise get a keen insight into Ligeti’s perceptual world from his remarks about his great orchestral work Lontano. Even the title is ambiguous; one has to read it poetically as well as musically Lontano (From Far Away) means both distant music and a remote world: the title thus signals spatial as well as tem-poral distance. After embarking on the work, Ligeti wrote to Ove Nordwall, he found verses in an ode by John Keats that were close to this music. At the same time he associated the musical sounds with liquid crystals, with the stained-glass windows of the Sainte-Chapelle and with Piranesi’s famous etch-ings I carceri.47 In conversation with Josef Häusler, he also spoke about associ-ations with Altdorfer’s painting Die Alexanderschlacht (The Battle of Alexan-der).48 How do such associations come about, and to what can the synaesthetic rela-tions between music and the other realms be traced back? As an example of the illusion of spatial distance evoked by music, Ligeti cited the piano entrance of the stopped horns in m. 145. The spatial illusion occurs because the en-trance of the three horns comes suddenly after a passage in fourfold forte. The nature of this entrance also inevitably suggests allusions to the music of late Romanticism, of Bruckner, of Mahler and also of Wagner. “The horns sound from afar and from old times.” Fittingly, the verses from Keats’ “Ode

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to a Nightingale” that so impressed Ligeti speak of the bird’s song evoking forlorn dream landscapes:49

The same that oft-times hath Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

The association with Albrecht Altdorfer’s famous painting Die Alexan-derschlacht Ligeti, in turn, explained by referring to the gradual brightening of the music in mm. 127-145. Through a long crescendo and the gradual rise to higher and higher registers, the music here becomes brighter and brighter un-til it begins to “radiate” as the violins and the celli all reach the high d-sharp. Analogously, the clouds open in Altdorfer’s painting, revealing the golden rays of the evening sun shining through them. The tertium quid in the musi-cal-optical correspondence here is thus the quality of radiance.

Light of the setting sun in A. Altdorfer’s “Alexanderschlacht” (with Ligeti’s “Lontano”)

To make the spatial aspect of Lontano quite clear, moreover, Ligeti formulated the following memorable statement: “Behind the music there is another music and be-

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hind that yet another, an unending perspective, just as when one sees oneself in two mirrors and an infinite reflection occurs.50 It is possible that this perception in turn suggested the comparison with Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s “imaginary pris-ons” (Carceri d’invenzione – see illustration).

G. B. Piranesi, The “Imaginary Prisons” (with Ligeti’s Lontano)

From what has been said it is clear that Ligeti’s associations are by no means “arbi-trary” ´but depend on specific correspondences. They result from peculiarities in the structure of the work or specific properties of the tonal material. We find one example in the score of the Violin Concerto, completed in 1992, which bears the fol-lowing NB to the opening movement:

Regarding the natural flageolet tones of both the solo violin and the strings in the orchestra (except for the double bass): during the entire 1st movement, if the flageolet notes do not always fully intone, they should not be replaced by artificial flageolets, as the glassy, shimmer-ing character of the movement is based on the natural flageolets, and the ‘not-always-secure intonation’ produces the impression of brittle-ness and hazard.

The more often one listens to this movement, the clearer it becomes that the manner of playing it does indeed produce the impression of fragility. Ligeti had a penchant for colors, for delicate as well as strong ones. He once showed me a volume containing colorful Irish illuminations from the high Middle Ages – striking miniatures that strongly appealed to him. When he sketched his works, he used color pencils, and not just for making a grid. His

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score drafts often look like colorful sketches for paintings. No wonder, then, that his predilection was for music with timbre. Diverse conceptions of light – sparkling crystals, “black” light, blinding brightness – generally important to him, often accompany his creative pro-cesses. When I once told him how deeply I was impressed by the sound im-age of vacuum in his music, he replied that he associated the image of dawn, of the emerging light, with it. Ligeti’s “association-charged” music makes special demands on the listener, requiring synaesthetic cooperation of him. Ligeti’s ideal listener would be an educated one capable of recognizing the associations inherent in the music and sensitive to its associative qualities. In that respect Ligeti’s art suggests comparisons with the art of Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Alexander Scriabin and Olivier Messiaen – an art that without synaesthetic collaboration can really be neither properly apperceived nor fully enjoyed.51 During a detailed study of Ligeti’s sketches and the notations in them, one discovers a number of concepts or conceptual pairs that appear to have had been in his mind during the creative process. They constitute a synaesthetical-ly interlinked cosmos. The most frequent are the following:

Space/Universe (Ür) Clouds Crystals Water Cataclysm Weeping Lamenting Tumult Panic Hurry Grille/Grating African Masks Shamans Wizards/Sorcerers Demons Dance Cystoscopy Catastrophe

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1.6 Innovativeness: Aspects of Compositional Technique “To produce something that already exists is of no interest to me. If a new experiment has been made and there has been a result, it is not worth making the same experiment again.”52

The category of the new is central to the avant-garde art of the 20th century. In his Aesthetische Theorie, Theodor W. Adorno outlined the dialectic between this category and the concept of duration and spoke of a conflict. The thirst for the new, he thought, displaces the continuance that works of art have al-ways aimed at.53 Independently of Adorno, Ligeti believed already in 1966 that one could counteract academicism only by constantly inventing new things. He remained true to this principle to the end. He never repeats him-self. Each work may be understood as the solution to yet another technical problem; his music is subject to a slow but steady transformation. At the same time, however, one can speak – more justly than with other contempo-rary composers – of a fully developed, unmistakable personal style in Ligeti: constants are at work in his multifarious work. Thus his musical idiom is nearly always recognizable, even if one juxtaposes works of vastly different periods. Surprisingly enough, one discovers that some expressive characteristics that seem typical of his “advanced” works are fully developed already in his Hungarian period. Even more astonishing is the fact that some compositional ideas that captivated him during his Hungarian years were newly realized in a totally different way much later. Ingenious flag-eolet passages, for example, occur both in the String Quartet No.1 (from UU to YY) and in Atmosphères (from the letter T to the end). Yet how different is the sound of the first movement of the Violin Concerto, a movement in which the flageolet idea receives a wholly new realization. How does the creative process operate in Ligeti? An essay he published in 1971 contains some essential statements about that. Here he disclosed that the first impulses that launch the compositional act for him are of a “rather naïve kind.” He imagines the music in the way it is to sound later; he hears the piece from beginning to end with his “inner ear.” This tonal vision, heard within, however, coincides only by and large with the score elaborated there-after. On the basis of constructive reflections, the details are frequently al-tered and refined. The process of composition for him, therefore, consists of the permeation of naive musical ideas by rational calculations, by a “system of interconnections.”54 Before Ligeti begins to compose, he conceives the basic idea of the piece. Be-fore he approaches the process of solving a particular technical problem, he

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engages in all kinds of deliberations. He loved artisanal precision, perfection generally, and had a penchant for detail. Thus, for example, after he had de-cided to write his Aventures, he undertook intensive phonological studies, rely-ing primarily on E. Dieth’s Vademekum der Phonetik of 1950 and on the vol-ume Sprachen of the Fischer Lexikon, published by H. F. Wendt in 1961 (dia-gram 1).

DG 1 “Aventures”: Specifications on Verbal Articulation

Amazingly, no fewer than 119 phone(me)s are used in this vocalise composi-tion.55 In Clocks and Clouds, another vocalise composition, Ligeti makes do with 13 vowels and 13 voiced consonants. The “text” sung by the voices is written in an “imaginary language”, which, as a note in the score has it, has a “solely musical function.” The phonetic signs are borrowed from the Interna-tional Phonetic Alphabet.

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According to psychoanalytic theory, artistic creation brings to fruition almost exclusively impressions going back to early childhood. A dream György Ligeti told from his childhood seems to support this theory. The narrative runs as follows:

In early childhood I once dreamed that I could not manage to get to my crib (which was latticed and was felt to be a secure place of ref-uge), for the entire room was filled by a thin-threaded but extremely dense and complicated webbing, similar to the secretion of silk worms, which in pupating fill the entire interior of the boxes in which there are bred with their cocoons. Besides myself, other creatures and objects, too, were caught in the gigantic netting, moths and beetles of all kinds, which had tried to reach the area lit by several dimly burning candles, large, damp-dirty pillows, whose putrid filling was bursting from rents in their cases. Every move of the trapped creatures caused a tremor that spread through the whole system, so that the heavy pil-lows constantly swayed back and forth and thus in turn produced a quaking of the whole. Now and then the mutually affecting motions became so powerful that the net would tear here and there and some of the beetles were unexpectedly freed, only to be soon lost anew with a choking hum in the billowing texture. These events suddenly hap-pening here and there gradually altered the structure of the web: in some places, inextricable knots formed, caverns in others, in which some shreds from the originally coherent mesh floated about like gos-samer. The changes in the system were irreversible; no configuration, once past, could recur. There was something unspeakably sad in this process, the hopelessness of elapsing time and of an irreparable past.56

This dream not only reads like a Kafkaesque short story but above all pro-vides a key, even the key, to a fuller understanding of Ligeti’s music. “Net,” “netting,” “web,” “grate,” “mesh”: Ligeti uses these terms frequently in ex-plaining the compositional techniques of many of his works. Some of his scores create the impression of woven patterns, and his famed micropolyph-ony is at base nothing other than a weaving technique. Ligeti was constantly in search of new ideas, new compositional problems. In Apparitions and Atmosphères, he had worked with clusters, neutralized marked diastematics and annulled rhythm as a major constructive factor. Soon there-after, however, he abandoned that position. From 1964, and more fully from 1966 on, while working on the final movement of the Requiem and above all on Lux aeterna, he canceled the diastematic neutralization by forming “inter-vallic crystallization cores”,57 and from 1968 on, he started to rehabilitate the

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(formerly neglected) factor of rhythm – most consistently at first in his String Quartet No. 2. It is well known that several composers of the 20th century developed innova-tive compositional methods. Arnold Schönberg invented the method of com-posing with twelve mutually related tones, Paul Hindemith formulated his Un-terweisung im Tonsatz, Olivier Messiaen experimented with new modi, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez paid homage, in the ‘fifties and ‘six-ties, to the principles of serialism, Iannis Xenkis translated mathematical cal-culations into music. It is characteristic of Ligeti that he did not commit himself to any fixed meth-od. While, in composing, he set out from rules that he himself devised for the purpose, he frequently deviated from them. He was a decided opponent of all orthodoxy, all rigorism. He occasionally made use of characteristic twelve-tone rows, but he never composed a single strict twelve-tone music. He based some of his pieces on innovative modi, but never raised modality to the level of a compositional principle. He had a strong interest in mathematical struc-tures, but he saw no sense in deriving principles of musical construction from formulae of probability calculus. Not only do the compositional problems change in Ligeti, but the individual techniques, too, mutate, transform themselves. A typical instance is the modi-fication the principle of micropolyphony underwent in the course of his compositional career. If in his first, sensational works he had written densely meshed voice weaves, the pieces composed since 1966 exhibit a loosening of the micropolyphony. The individual voices often stand out from the texture; the polyphony becomes graphically transparent. Similar observations can be made about the development of the cluster tech-nique. Atmosphères is distinguished by the use of diverse cluster types, the pri-mary one being the “horizontal plane” (liegende Fläche). The work begins with just such a tonal plane, a twelve-note chord played without change initially for eight bars by the woodwinds, brasses and strings. A kind of cluster also opens the Chamber Concerto of 1969/70. The five notes composing the cluster, g-flat, g, a-flat, a, b-flat, are constantly present through-out the first 14 bars. However, they are not assigned to different instruments; rather, moving, garland-like melodic lines are formed, which intertwine in a heterophonic manner (Ex. 1).

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Ex. 1 Chamber Concerto: cluster in motion (g-flat, g, a-flat, a, b-flat)

Ligeti experimented not only with new procedures in polyphony and cluster formation but also with new kinds of harmony, timbre, melody instrumenta-tion and rhythm. His works are a bonanza of formations and compositional techniques, extending from the relatively simple to the most complex. Even the seemingly simple ones, however, are marked by considerable finesse, as the following example will illustrate. Several sections in the Cello Concerto (and in other works) are based on the chromatic scale, played by different instruments starting from different de-grees and in opposite directions (ascending and descending). The minor sec-ond, however, is systematically avoided: in its place we hear large intervals – major sevenths and minor ninths. The special appeal of the construction, moreover, results from the fact that the scale is played in different rhythms by the various instruments: in mm. 58-59, the first solo violin plays septuplets and octuplets, the second solo violin sextuplets and septuplets, the solo viola quadruplets and quintuplets, the first solo cello octuplets and nonuplets, and the second solo cello quintuplets and sextuplets (Ex. 2).

Ex. 2 Concerto for Violoncello: diversely rhythmed chromaticism

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How are inspiration and construction related in Ligeti? Does he observe cer-tain rules in composing? In trying to answer this question, one should recall that during his years as lecturer on theory at the Budapest Music Academy, Ligeti authored two books on harmony, which were published in Hungarian. And those who know him also know that he thought a great deal about ques-tions of compositional technique. Thus it is not surprising that in working on the “Dies Irae” he formulated fundamental “rules” about voice-leading, har-mony, text treatment and the twelve-tone aspect – rules which at least in part retained their validity also for the works written in the ‘sixties and thereafter (e.g. Lontano).58 His notes about the dodecaphonic aspect are particularly instructive in this context. He writes:

Economy with the twelve pitches: although there are no twelve-tone rows, the notes are distributed vertically and horizontally in such a way that the same note does not return, if possible, before the others and thus the twelve tones (including octave positions) are distributed as evenly as possible. This even distribution, however, is subject to the rules of voice-leading and harmony: an early return of a tone is possi-ble if the other, more important rule prevents the even tone distribu-tion.59

In the end, however, what strikes one about Ligeti is his unconcern about norms, doctrines, prohibitions and dictates. To cite an example, Arnold Schönberg, in his sensational 1935 lecture Composition with Twelve Tones, had banned the use of doubled tones60 - a prohibition that followed logically from his dodecaphonic theory and practice. The consequence was that parallel chords (mixtures) were taboo in the New Music. For some time, Ligeti, too, respected that taboo. After 1980, however, he no longer adhered to it but be-gan to work frequently with mixtures – a technique that the chorale in his Vi-olin Concerto exemplifies strikingly. Analysis of his works shows that, in composing, he frequently starts out from specific ideas (always different ones), without, however, always developing them rigorously to the end; for he hated the stereotypical – thought little of the schematic and mechanical. Art, in his view, consists in nuance and in de-viation; its charm resides in the anomaly, the irregularity. If he had to choose between a commitment either to the “automatic”, i. e., the strict application of a “rule” once it has been set up, or to free choice, he would decide in favor of the latter.

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If one looks back over his oeuvre, it yields an impression of continuity and simultaneously of constant innovation. Like a Proteus, Ligeti ever trans-formed, yet remained true to, himself. To return to the image of the net, he never stopped reticulating the web once begun. Though rents and knots oc-cur, upon closer inspection it becomes clear that the knitting continues in an-other pattern. 1.7 Motion Types, Tonal Gestures and Expressive Characters In an interview with Josef Häusler, recorded on December 14, 1969, by Ger-many’s Southwest Radio, Ligeti pointed out that for his earlier compositions, those of the later ‘fifties, two opposite formal types or “types of motion” were characteristic. In the static forms, for which he had a predilection, music could not be perceived as a process but became a state. The second, con-trasting type, on the other hand, was characterized by being completely chopped and splintered. He cited Atmosphères as an example of the first type and the “Dies Irae” (also the Aventures and the Nouvelles Aventures) as illustrat-ing the second. From these two types of motion, he continued, he had, in the last few years, been moving on to other types, “which are neither total arrest nor completely abrupt change.”61 In studying Ligeti’s oeuvre, one finds that certain musical situations, whether “motion types”, gestures or expressive characters, do indeed recur in different works, although the particular shaping is different in each case. Judging from the frequency of their recurrence, it should be possible to extract a kind of ty-pology from the plethora of individual manifestations. Some examples will clarify what I mean. According to his own statement, the technical world is of special value as a source of inspiration to Ligeti. Clocks, clockworks, regular successions always fascinated him. He had composed, he once remarked, pieces representing “mechanical processes.”62 Several of his works, indeed, are of a recurrent type whose rigid, clockwork-like rhythmic structure reminds one of precision me-chanics. The phrase “like a precision mechanism”, indeed, occurs repeatedly. Prototypical examples are found in the String Quartet No. 1 (mm. 781-1028) and in the second movement of the Nouvelles Aventures (mm. 31-34) – a short passage headed, in fact, Les Horloges Démoniaques.”63 If the “stiff”, clockwork-like music here consists only of four bars, Ligeti later constructed entire movements modeled, as it were, on this miniature prototype. I am referring to the piece for harpsichord entitled Continuum (1968), to the third movement of the String Quartet No. 2 (1968), and to the third movement of the Chamber Con-certo (1969/70) – scores notable for their grid-like visual appearance.

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In this type we should include also the ironically meant Poème symphonique, which Ligeti arranged in November 1962 for 100 metronomes operated by two musicians. The premiere took place in September of 1963 in Hilversum, with the composer himself conducting. At the end, the performers left the stage, leaving the audience and the machines to confront each other. The piece was dismissed as mere ballyhoo. In a letter, Ligeti explained several years later that his hoax was meant to ridicule the musical situation of the ‘six-ties, the concert life and the various ideologies that left the audience in the lurch. The letter includes the telling sentence: “Artistic freedom means being free of all blinkers, even those of ‘modernity’.”64 In 1972/72, Ligeti composed Clocks and Clouds, a piece for twelve-voiced women’s chorus and orchestra commissioned by Austrian Radio for the city of Graz’s “Music Protocol.” He took the title of the work from an essay by Karl Popper about exactly measurable processes (clocks) and indeterminate ones describable only statistically (clouds). Herman Sabbe has justly remarked that the title of Ligeti’s work constituted a “metaphorical designation of two textural types” that were characteristic of the composer’s entire oeuvre.65 Li-geti himself spoke graphically about associations with a formal process “in which rhythmically and harmonically precise shapes gradually merge into dif-fuse tonal textures and vice versa”, and overlappings occur besides, so that ‘clocks’ tick within ‘clouds’ and ‘clouds’, as it were, hollow out and liquefy ‘clocks’ from within.”66 Ever since Bertolt Brecht’s notes “Über gestische Musik”67 and Theodor W. Adorno’s Versuch über Wagner,68 at the latest, pertinent publications repeatedly talk about gesture and gesturing in music. A number of contemporary com-posers, too, including Ligeti, like to speak of the “gestures” in music. The term gestus, Brecht explained, is not to be taken to mean “underscoring or clarifying movements of the hand”, but rather “overall attitudes.” The con-cept of gesture should be located in the vicinity of the “character” that music expresses, or the “tone” in which it speaks. Gestures, according to Adorno, can be “repeated and reinforced, but not really ‘developed’.” The gestural is, of course, also immanent to Ligeti’s music. Especially the conclusions of many of his works have the effect of gestures. Three kinds of such final gestures can be distinguished. To begin with, there are endings that give a new shape to the traditional gesture of extinction and lapsing into si-lence (as, e.g., in the symphonies of Gustav Mahler or the Lyric Suite of Alban Berg): typical here is the expression mark diminuendo poco a poco - moriendo – niente. Secondly, there are endings that are not “conclusions” but stop abrupt-

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ly and quasi violently. The direction” “Plötzlich aufhören wie abgerissen”, (stop suddenly as if disrupted) occurs at every turn in Ligeti. The third category consists of endings that seem as if the music vanishes into nothingness. The second, fourth and fifth movements of the String Quartet No. 2 offer instructive examples for these three categories. It is also important for Ligeti that he often notates the silence. In countless pieces we come upon the direction that the dying or else suddenly stopping music is to be followed by “absolute silence”, whose duration he more than once specifies at “ca. 10 seconds.” One of the intermediary regions that strongly interested Ligeti is that between music and language. For some time, he tirelessly studied the phonemes, the gestures, the music of language and their various expressive characters. The artistic result of these studies was the Aventures and the Nouvelle Aventures (1962-1965) for three vocalists and seven instruments – two “mimodramas”, whose imaginary, non-semantic texts consist of phonemes, vowels and con-sonants, phones and their combinations that have no semantic meaning and are artfully and organically integrated into the material sphere of the music. In both works, Ligeti created impressive examples of an innovative amalgama-tion of the vocal and the instrumental. A basic idea of the two mimoramas, which are among Ligeti’s most experimental works, is the sudden alternation of “emotional characters” – in a letter to Bo Wallner, Ligeti circumscribed these Gefühlscharaktere with the adjectives “mystical, idyllic, nostalgic, funereal, relieved, excited, ironic, erotic, touched, humorous, hypocritical, cold, indif-ferent, triumphant, pathetic, stupid, hysterical, emotionally saturated, startled, fiery, exalted, alarming, unbridled, mannered-ornate, vicious,” etc.69 – and the concept of a “polyphony of expression” (Ausdruckspolyphonie) or “counter-point of feelings.” Thus in two sections of Aventures (“Conversation” and “Action dramatique”), the recital of each of the three vocalists is subject to a constant change of the Ausdruckscharaktere.70 In this way a network results of heterogeneous and contrasting characters that are simultaneously present. Li-geti compared the peculiar disposition of this music to that of a person who is “torn between the most diverse feelings.” Ausdruckspolyphonie is thus an emblem for the complexity of the world of emo-tions, but at the same time perhaps also an allegory of the crisis of communi-cation to which modern man is exposed. The expressive characters into which the Aventures issue are angst (anxiety, fear) and despair (see Ex. 3).

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Ex. 3 Aventures: changing expressive characters in Soprano, Alto, Baritone

Speaking of music and language: among the most conspicuous characters of Ligeti’s music is that of whispering (bisbigliando). Whispering or whisper-like passages and effects occur repeatedly in the most diverse shadings in both vocal and instrumental works. There is, for example, the “especially intensive whisper directed at the audience (‘stage whisper’)” of the three vocalists in Aventures (mm. 20-37), the whisper-like passage (“like a flitting breath”) of the instrumentalists in the second movement of the Nouvelles Aventures (mm. 36-39), the “whisper cadence” at the conclusion of the Cello Concerto, or the

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fourth movement of the Chamber Concerto, which commences with whisper-like passages. Some characteristics of Ligeti’s whispering/murmuring music are note sequences to be played very fast, mostly small-stepped diastematics, an even rhythm, pianissimo and legato articulation. He evidently received a sus-tained impression from the Allegro misterioso of Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite – a fa-mous movement, whose flurry-like tonal character evokes associations with whispering. Of a character all its own is the “whisper cadence” at the end of the Cello Concerto, which the composer desired to be performed “sempre pres-tissimo, quasi perpetuum mobile (no slowing down to the end!), the different pitches to be played only on strings III and IV, but played voicelessly.” In looking over the range of Ausdruckscharaktere inherent in Ligeti’s music, one cannot but marvel at their enormous variety. They represent every degree and nuance from the subjective to the mechanical, from the tender to the brutal, from the mysterious to the ecstatic, from playful irony to rank despair. 1.8 Time and Space. Imaginary Space

“One of my compositional intentions is the creation of an il-lusory musical space, in which what was originally motion and time is presented as something immovable and time-less.”71

“For me, spatial associations within music play a very large role, but it is a purely imaginary space.”72

“To suggest space or to produce it associatively, that was something I strove for in my music.”73

“My principal compositional project is to exorcize time, to abolish its transience, to encapsulate it in the moment.”74

Since the late 18th century, the philosophical and artistic thinking of the occi-dent has simultaneously entertained two diametrically opposed conceptions of time: time as a linear process, a progressive, irreversible development, the se-quence of a before and an after; and time as a circular happening, a static mo-tion, a cyclical consciousness.75 The latter view is evidently modeled primarily on cosmic processes, such as the rotation of the planets, whereas the former, which goes back to St. Augustine, reflects rather the subjectively experiential. Bernd Alois Zimmermann, who coined the handy formula of “spherical time”, favored the idea of a “unity of time” as a “unity of present, past and future.”76 According to his conviction, past, present and future fuse in the stream of human experience and consciousness to a single whole. One can conceive this if one considers that the past is realizable really only in re-

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presentation, and that our wishes and plans, which refer to the future, are nev-ertheless likewise articulated in the present. The music of Richard Wagner, Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler, to men-tion only these three musicians, is marked by its “dynamic” traits, has a “fi-nal” character, undergoes a development: in the symphonies of Bruckner and Mahler, the Finale is always the telos toward which the preceding movements gravitate. Musical Impressionism, on the other hand, can in part be under-stood as an artistic rendering of states.77 Nobody will deny that some of De-bussy’s piano pieces (by no means all) evoke a static feeling in the listener – e.g. his “Voiles” from the first book of the Préludes. We can thus understand how Theodor W. Adorno thought he could assert that in Debussy’s music, and also in that of Stravinsky, the “spatialization” of time became absolute.78 In July of 1987, Ligeti had invited my colleague Vladimir Karbusicky, Louise Duchesneau, her husband and me to dinner. We talked about many things, including the temporal dimension of music. I brought the conversation round to Zimmermann’s philosophy of music (a composer for whom Ligeti had a great deal of sympathy) and his theory of the “spherical shape of time.” Ligeti did not accept this concept. In his view, he said, music unfolded in space; in his musical imagination, there were main rooms, subsidiary areas, labyrinths, etc. The conception of music as “frozen time” and “static form” was a favorite one of Ligeti’s. He let no occasion go by to emphasize how essential the as-pect of the “imaginary space,” and spatial thinking as such, was for his music. In his radio talk on Webern, he hinted why he valued the Austrian composer so highly: because by transposing so many of the musical figures and configu-rations of Romanticism, Webern had “annihilated” the essential formal type of that age, “the perpetual flowing on and on, the infinite melody”; form had thereby become more static, “the flux of time seemed to have become arrest-ed in it.”79 How greatly Ligeti was fascinated by the concept of “frozen time” appears al-so from the fact that he felt drawn to certain paintings and literary works – paintings by Cézanne as much as novels by Kafka or Krudy - largely because he thought they realized this idea. Unforgettable to him was the passage in Kafka’s Castle, where the surveyor K. is alone in the snowed-in courtyard and the world surrounding him seems utterly to congeal.80 Ligeti commented in similar terms about a novel by Gyula Krudy: “It is a very strange situation! Time does not pass, it is always winter, winter for a thousand years, there is

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no longer any spring, and nothing ever changes. Throughout the entire novel, time stops from the beginning to the end.”

Paul Cézanne, “The Banks of the Marne (Bridge at Créteil)” (re temporal form in Ligeti)

In the first act of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal, Gurnemanz leads the young fool to the Grail castle. To Parsifal’s question “who” the Grail was, Gurnemanz replies he would not tell. Parsifal’s line, “Ich schreite kaum, doch wähn ich mich schon weit” (I barely stride, yet seem as if I race), Gurnemanz com-ments with the famous sentence “Du siehst, mein Sohn, zum Raum wird hier die Zeit” (You see, my son, here time turns into space.)81 The deeper meaning of this utterance, which would seem to tell us something about Wagner’s phi-losophy of time/space, has to date not been definitively interpreted.82 Pierre Boulez, in 1966, entitled his obituary on Wieland Wagner “Der Raum wird hier zur Zeit”, inverting Richard Wagner’s famous dictum. He did so to express that Wagner’s renowned director-grandson had been able to set the music “in exact congruence with the scenic image.”83 Perhaps, however, he al-so wanted to hint by this inversion that in his view music was reducible above all to time, the musical time. Ligeti, on the contrary, proclaimed that his aim

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was to exorcize time, to cause it to stop. Richard Wagner’s line Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit seems to apply to Ligeti’s entire oeuvre. By his own admission, Ligeti in composing often let himself be guided by spatial ideas. To obtain an impression of this kind of idea, one only needs to study the graphic notation of the Volumina or the published sketches to the “Dies Irae.” They document that his imagination conjured up ideas of bound-less spaces and musical labyrinths. Thus in the score of the Volumina, at the number 36, we find the notation: “Texture – quick, continuous, a-periodical, very dense labyrinthine motions in irregular rhythm, with both hands over the entire extent of the manuals” (Ex. 4). Similarly instructive are also the notes to the “Dies Irae”:84 “Infinite space,85 stretched, high – low. Levels, depths, manifold echo texture” and “Quite low and quite high, organ-like (wind in-struments). In between, emptiness.”

Ex. 4 Volumina: Spaces, with labyrinthine motions

In his treatise about form in the New Music, Ligeti made the remarkable ob-servation that in our imaginative and cognitive world, time and space always appeared coupled: “where one of the two categories is a primary presence, the other one promptly appears associatively.” While listening to music, the tonal process was primarily temporal. Even so imaginary spatial relations were gen-erated on several levels: “Musical shapes and events are imagined by us as if they occupied places in the imaginary space feigned through them to begin

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with.”86 Here Ligeti indicates quite clearly that he conceived the musical event as “architecture in space.” Modern psychology distinguishes between inner and outer space, the within and the without. In a remarkable book, Gaston Bachelard endeavored to ex-plain psychologically the images of space that frequently occur in the poetry of different languages. He analyzed both images of intimate spatiality, such as the house, the hiding-place and the cave, and the “housings of things”, that is, drawers, chests, nests and shells/conches. By “topoanalysis”, he meant the systematic psychological study of the “localities of our intimate lives.”87 Bachelard’s categories and topo-analytical findings can serve to elucidate Lige-ti’s spatial conceptions in a specific direction. Many of Ligeti’s works suggest spatial ideas in the listener, evoke illusions of space: an imaginary perspective, proximity and distance, depth and height, width and narrowness. These spatial effects are called forth primarily by dif-fering degrees of volume intensity, massiveness of sound, the simultaneity of very high and very low notes, as well as by octave-doubled notes played in unison in several registers. Thus the dynamic degrees loud and soft suggest nearness and distance. Ligeti thought about the second movement of We-bern’s Piano Variations op. 27 that the prolonged fluctuating of the dynamics gave the music a quasi stereometric shape, producing associations of spatial depth: “the chords struck fortissimo seem to stand out from the structure, while the cells played piano remain in the background.”88 A massive sound produces the illusion of nearness. Very high and very low notes played simul-taneously rouse the sense of vacuum, while octave-doubled notes played sim-ultaneously in several registers evoke the illusion of spatial expanse. In several of his works, Ligeti distinguishes systematically between voices “in the fore-ground”, in a middle area and “in the background.” In the “Monument”, for example, the first of the Three Pieces for Two Pianos, the listener perceives the various dynamic levels as fore-, middle and background. Nearly all of Ligeti’s compositions evoke spatial associations. The listener often seems to register motions within the imaginary space, such as from depth to height. In other instances one gets the impression as though the music, starting from one point, gradually captured the tonal space. These and similar associations are by no means arbitrary; they result from the structural conditions of the music itself, as the following examples may demonstrate. The introitus of the Requiem, constructed according to the method of mi-cropolyphony, proceeds in the manner of a slowly moving sound train from the lowest depth to the height. The diagram (DG 2, below) designed by Erkki

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Salmenhaara,89 being not quite exact, can give only an approximate impres-sion of the course of the movement.

DG 2 Requiem: Tone Train of the Introitus

Some clarifying notes: the tonal train should be imagined as a chromatically condensed polyphonic texture. In m. 3, the basses, divided into four groups, enter with the low interval f-sharp/g. This is followed by the entrance of the al-tos, tenors and basses on the small f in m. 29, on the small a-flat in m. 46, of the mezzo sopranos and altos on the one-line c in m. 59, and finally of the so-pranos, mezzo sopranos and altos on the one-line f-sharp in m. 65. The high-est note, on which the women’s chorus closes, is the two-line d-flat. An alto-gether different course is taken by Continuum, a piece for harpsichord, which, according to Hartmuth Kinzler’s minute analysis, clearly divides into five formal sections (see DG 3).90

DG 3 Continuum for Harpsichord: Macro-form

As one can see, the tonal field with which the piece begins is located on the middle pitch region. In the first section, it opens slightly and closes again. The tonal fields of the three middle sections open increasingly and do so in both directions. The tonal band of the concluding part, however, is located in the highest register.

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In an illuminating study, Ivanka Stoianova expressed the view that the many-layered textures in Ligeti can be seen in the final analysis as “ramifications” of the tonal material.91 Interestingly enough, one of Ligeti’s works bears in fact the (original) title Ramifications. There is no doubt that by adducing the term “tonal ramification” one can describe the course of a number of his composi-tions more precisely. Continuum provides an instructive example. But the opening of the tonal field in both directions is characteristic also of the be-ginning of Lontano. Ligeti’s oeuvre also offers instructive examples for the gradual increase of the tonal expanse in a single direction. Thus the beginning of the first movement of the Chamber Concerto is based on a cluster, from whose five notes (f-sharp1/g1/a-flat1/a1/b-flat1) “minimalist” figurations are formed (eventually mi-nus the f-sharp). The first 13 bars are furnished from this tonal supply. From m. 14 on, the range gradually increases: the horn enters here on b1. In m. 16, the c2 is added, and in mm. 27/28, the note d-flat2 and d2 follow. The goal this development aims at is the e-flat, which in m. 38 is intoned in multiple octave doublings by several instruments in unison. That instantly produces the im-pression of widened space: the “narrowness” that set the character of the movement’s opening drops away. Of many of Ligeti’s compositions it can be said that they display a quasi ste-reometric sound shape. Part Two of the book will deal with this in greater de-tail. 1.9 New Sound Images – New Semantemes.

“Cystoscopy”, Vacuum and Music of the Spheres Music – at least a certain kind of music – is not just an acoustic phenomenon, not mere sound play, but also has a psychological, spiritual and intellectual dimension. Tones and tone formations often have a semantics all their own. For some time, musicologists in many countries were intent on studying only the form and structure of musical works of art. Hermeneutic questions were regarded as taboo; it was practically sacrilegious to ask questions about the ex-tra-musical “meaning” of musical works.92 Fortunately, the realization has won through during the last several decades that besides structure, the “tone”, the idiom, the expression and the semantics of music likewise deserve to be an object of reflection. As a synaesthetically endowed individual, Ligeti, as we have seen, translated both visual and tactile impulses into music. His many-facetted oeuvre is cov-ered with a dense net of associations. The eminent relevance of this associa-tive element emerges when one undertakes to study his drafts. What strikes

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one especially is that in his oeuvre certain tone images recur, in diverse shapes but with a similar or the same semantics, which is so precise that one can speak of semantemes in the sense of modern linguistics. We will discuss three of such salient tone images/semantemes. The ninth of the Ten Pieces for Wind Quintet is a “trio” for piccolo flute, oboe and clarinet. It is headed Sostenuto stridente, is to be played sempre fortissimo and takes only one minute and eight seconds to play. It begins with an ingenious unisono on the three-line e-flat (mm. 1-7) and then unfolds in the form of slow-ly changing, highly dissonant clusters, which in this high register sound so shrill that they are physically painful (Ex. 5, below): mm. 8/9 mm. 9/10 m. 10 d3 + eb3 + e3 d3 + e3 + f3 db3 + e3 + f etc. In a letter to Ove Nordwall of November 67, 1968, Ligeti called the piece a “cystoscopy”93 – an initially rather strange-seeming nomenclature, which re-fers to the accumulation of dissonances and begins to make sense when one recalls that the medical term evokes the rather painful procedure of a specular bladder examination.94 Interestingly enough, the term “cystoscopy” occasion-ally also occurs in the sketches for the Piano and the Violin Concerto, some-time in connection with Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony op. 65, whose third movement climaxes in an excited accumulation of dissonances that is likely to have impressed Ligeti. The “cystoscopic” sound image is actually a kind of topos with Ligeti, occur-ring repeatedly in his works, e.g., in Atmosphères (mm. 32-39), in the first movement of the Concerto for Violoncello (mm. 49-54), in the second movement of the Concerto for Piano (stridente, mm. 42 ff.) and in the fourth movement of the Concerto for Violin (mm. 88-98). “Cystoscopic” sounds also determine sev-eral passages in Le Grand Macabre. In the second scene (ll. 187-189), they illus-trate the perception of a “strange light refraction”, and later (l. 273) the words “Das All ist menschenleer” (The universe is void of humans or deserted). Typically, the catchword cistoscop crops up several times in Ligeti’s notes to Michael Meschke’s libretto.

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Ex. 5 Ten Pieces for Wind Quintet, Trio: cystoscopic dissonance accumulation

Another, very expressive sound image in Ligeti evokes the vacuum. A strik-ingly thin, two-voiced “movement” combines a very slowly unfolding melody train in the highest register with pedal point-like notes in the lowest one. Be-tween these extremes, there is nothing – the sense of emptiness emerges au-tomatically. At the conclusion of the first movement of the Cello Concerto, for example, the soloist, over pedal points of the double basses, intones the very “highest” notes: the 13th, the 14th and the 15th overtone (f#4, g4 and g#4). Ligeti conceived this memorable passage as a cipher for loneliness. In a commen-tary, he explained it this way:

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“In the first movement, the conclusion suggests solitude and desola-tion: the solo cello remains hanging in immeasurable height over bass-es of unfathomable depth, its perilously thin whistling flageolet tone fi-nally breaks”95 (Ex. 6).

Ex. 6 Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra: Sound Image of the Vacuum

This suggestive sound image recurs, with similar or identical semantics, in several works, either at the beginning or at the end of movements. At the be-ginning of the “Lacrimosa” in the Requiem, “very softly” entering cluster-like notes in the flutes and oboes are heard over a 13-bar pedal point of the dou-ble basses on the low c-sharp. Toward the end of the Horn Trio (Lamento-

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Adagio, mm. 76 ff.), a vacuum of several octaves initially gapes between the low pedal tones of the horn and the ethereally high melody of the violin. Again at the beginning of the second movement of the Piano Concerto, the pic-colo flute hesitantly announces itself, over a long pedal point of the double basses, with sounds of lamentation. One might add that in the fourth scene of Le Grand Macabre (ll. 623-627), a lone pedal point of the double basses on the low f, lasting for 19 measures, hints at the mental state of the prince Go-Go, who, after the putative end of the world, seems to be the only being left alive. Emptiness and vacuum are at times linked to the idea of the universe. A very impressive example is the melodramatic treatment of Nekrotzar’s words in the third scene of Le Grand Macabre (ll. 591-593): “Time has stopped, … it ex-ists no more, … for what now is are eternity, emptiness, and the great … nothing!” A detailed note about the poetico-musical conception of the open-ing movement of the Violin Concerto is also instructive in this connection. It is found in the sketches in Hungarian and translates as “Emptiness / vacuum / universe (Ür). The solo violin very high and the double basses very low (pos-sibly bass clarinet [?]. Very softly, from nowhere. In it grow the layer rows, FRACTAL, AFRIQUE, and fill the vast space. End of the movement in full density.” The head movement of the Violin Concerto in both of its composed versions has nothing in common with this plan – Ligeti evidently distanced himself from it. The notion of a gradual growth of “layer rows”, however, seems to have played a part in the conception of the Passacaglia. Ligeti had a special penchant for the immaterial flageolet sound. Several of his works include entire parts that consist exclusively or predominantly of flageolet sounds and glissandi. If in the penultimate section of the First String Quartet (from the letter UU on) such tones are still relatively simple in structure (the flageolet glissandi of the four string instruments are here based on the triads C major, G major, D major and A major), Atmosphères closes with a texture of far more complexly combined flageolet tones. According to a note in the score,

The flageolet glissandi are to be played very delicately. The individual string players are to be equalized, so that no single voice stands out. “Melodic” lines must not be audible; the individual parts should merge completely into the all-enveloping tender chromatic texture.

This note applies mutatis mutandis also to the flageolet part at the beginning of the fourth scene of Le Grand Macabre, a passage that illustrates in tone-painting the hovering of Piet and Astramor. From a note of Ligeti’s in Mi-

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chael Meschke’s libretto we can gather that he had “music of the spheres” in mind for this passage. When I once spoke with Ligeti about his highly original flageolet glissandi, he reminded me modestly that Stravinsky had anticipated the technique in his Firebird and Petrushka. That is certainly true. But how much further Ligeti de-veloped the technique, and what new sonorities he knew how to extract from it! 1.10 A “Double-Bottomed” Relation to Tradition

“I really always had a double-bottomed relation to tradition. For one thing, I underwent a very strict, traditional training at the Budapest Music Academy. For another, the musical tradi-tion has ever played an important role in my music […], not as a quotation dimension, and neither as a craft discipline, but more like an aura and allusion.”96

Ligeti’s treatise on form in the New Music includes not only discussions of form-theoretical questions and reflections but also observations on the phi-losophy of history. In a fascinating simile, he here compares the history of art to a gigantic net, which individual artists continue to weave. He admits that within that gigantic weft there are places “where the knitting does not contin-ue but the net is rent.”97 But even the tears, he thinks, are imperceptibly spun over by hanks of thread. Seen in historical perspective, even the seemingly tradition-less has secret links to the past. Ultimately, these reflections imply a belief in the force of tradition even in avant-garde art. Ligeti has spoken about his own peculiar relation to tradition, which he called not only “double-bottomed” but “cryptic” or “sly.” By way of illustration, he spoke of hidden allusions to traditional music, specifically to Bach (Volumina), and especially to Claude Debussy (Apparitions, Atmosphères), Gustav Mahler (Lontano), Béla Bar-tók and Alban Berg (String Quartet No. 2).98 In contrast to many of his colleagues, who have a penchant for quoting both themselves and others and for the musical collage generally (e.g., Bernd Alois Zimmermann),99 Ligeti very rarely quotes the works of other composers in his music.100 One exception is the opera Le Grand macabre, where quotations occur in two places (Bourrée perpetuelle and Galimathias), a literal one from Schu-bert’s “Grätzer Galopp” and a free one from Rameau’s “La Poule.” Even then, both of them are so totally integrated into their extremely complex con-text that in listening they will not be recognized as quotations. The same goes for the rhythm of the theme from the Finale of the Eroica, a rhythm that is in-toned ostinato-like during Nekrotzar’s processional entrance. Far more im-

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portant than quotations, for Ligeti, are allusions to traditional music. The aura of past music surrounds many passages in his works. Klaus Kropfinger has rightly pointed out101 that the way in which Ligeti speaks of aura reminds of Walter Benjamin, for whom this term meant the integration of the work of art into the context of the past.102 How significant allusions to traditional mu-sic are for Ligeti can also be gathered from the fact that the sketches to the “Dies Irae” contain a reference to Mahler’s First Symphony103 - a work that Ligeti prized particularly for its spatial effects.104 Ligeti’s relation to tradition changed after 1978, became closer, more direct and transparent. This is manifest most overtly in pieces like the Ciaconna and the Passacaglia ungherese for harpsichord; works like the Horn Trio, the Piano Etudes and the Violin Concerto would have been unthinkable fifty years earlier. Several compositions evoke allusions to the music of the 19th and early 20th century; the aura of that music surrounds several of the Piano Etudes. Never-theless, Ligeti’s music has not for a moment ceased to be new and original. Terms like “neotonal” or “postmodern” do not apply to it in any way. He sometimes connects to Romantic expressions (e.g., the horn fifths that every-body knows from Beethoven’s piano sonata Les Adieux op. 81a), but he does so in a completely new way. He defamiliarizes and transforms them and evolves figures from them that are miles distant from their point of origin. In terms of complexity, many of his more recent works seem to surpass eve-rything that had gone before. At the same time, however, there is a tendency in the later works to linger over certain expressive characters. Sudden, abrupt changes of expression are much rarer than they were earlier. The later works generally appear to accentuate the expressive. The Horn Trio, for example, be-gins with an Andantino con tenerezza and concludes with a Lamento, in the course of which the expression of lament and mourning intensifies enor-mously. A symptom of Ligeti’s redefined relation to tradition after the ‘seventies is the turn toward baroque compositional forms and techniques, which he, of course, treats quite originally. His predilection for passacaglias, ostinati and retrograde canons is especially striking in this connection. The idea of the passacaglia, in particular, the constraint of continuous variation of a given theme, must have fascinated him as a challenge to his inventiveness and his constructivist mind. To be sure, the passacaglias that conclude his opera Le Grand Macabre (1974-1977) and the Horn Trio (1982) have only the basic idea in common with the baroque form. Conception and execution are quite dif-ferent. Listening to the passacaglia that forms the finale of the opera, one cannot but marvel at the way in which its relatively simple eight-bar theme,

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consisting exclusively of consonant sixths, develops step by step into an edi-fice of extraordinary complexity. It is similar with the finale of the Horn Trio, whose five-bar passacaglia theme is treated so intricately that in merely listen-ing one cannot really perceive it as such. Much simpler in structure are Hun-garian Rock (a chaconne) and Passacaglia ungherese – both intended as ironic contributions to the debate about postmodernism. Of extreme complexity, finally, are the three crab canons that Ligeti wrote in the last of his Three Pieces for Two Pianos (1976), in Le Grand Macabre and in the first of his Magyar Etüdök (1983). These testify less to his link to tradition than to his penchant for the artful and artificial, the thought-out and mannered. In discussing Ligeti’s relation to tradition, one should not forget that he commanded a marvelous knowledge of the so-called occidental music. He did much listening to music and never grew tired of studying scores. He was keen about getting to know ever more compositions from the area of the Ars subtil-ior, greatly prized Gesualdo, analyzed string quartets of Haydn and Mozart – not to mention his stupendous knowledge of the music of the 19th and 20th century. In this respect, he differed radically from a composer like Iannis Xe-nakis, who had no interest whatever in traditional music. Ligeti’s astonishingly original music, it has to be emphasized in conclusion, grew from the tradition of Hungarian music. According to the composer’s own avowal, it is situated, with some exceptions, beyond the tradition of German music. It is more closely related to the music of French Impressionism (Debussy, Ravel) and to Russian music (Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich). 1.11 Diversity of Inspirational Sources.

A Universalist Concept of Art and Music “Well, what is most alive with me at the moment as far as tradition is concerned is a penchant for precise structures; behind it stand Debussy, Stravinsky, Webern, Ravel, mostly those four, although I then relate to altogether different as-pects, such as African pulsation rhythms and much else, also to Charles Ives with his technique of heterogeneous layers, to Nancarrow, and there are also several extra-musical impuls-es.”105

Hearing Ligeti talk or debate about questions of art and music, one may mar-vel not only at the breadth of his knowledge and his wide horizon but also at his unique powers of association, which enable him to draw in even remote and seemingly disparate subjects and areas. I confess that for a long time I used to regard this peculiar gift mainly as an intellectual trait of his personali-

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ty. It was only once I began to study his very detailed drafts for the Piano Con-certo and the Violin Concerto that my eyes were opened and I realized that his astonishing power of association comes to the fore also in the process of his conceiving his works – that is to say, he lets himself be stimulated by the most dissimilar areas. He is inspired by many things, and diverse, even heterogene-ous, elements meld into a single, unmistakable musical language. The following areas have served him as “inspirational sources” in the widest sense of the term:

1. occidental classical music 2. European folklore and non-European music 3. Jazz 4. works of the visual arts 5. diverse other visual impressions

Ligeti’s numerous references to both compositions and paintings, as well as to non-European music and jazz, enable us to realize that he associated the tonal ideas that he entertained during the conception of, say, the Violin Concerto, and the situations he envisioned, with parallel situations in other artists and in ethnic music. The “references” he was fond of jotting down thus signify rela-tionships and affinities, hint at predilections and a similar climate, or serve as aids to memory. Thus when he made his final decision to take on the violin concerto, he gave preliminary thoughts to the tradition with which he wanted to class his work and noted down works by Johann Sebastian Bach (the sonatas for solo violin, the chaconne, the Brandenburg Concertos), the Beethoven Violin Concerto and violin concertos of Mozart, whose elegance he admired. For a brief spell he considered keeping his eye on Mendelssohn’s famous Violin Concerto as a “model” – Mendelssohn’s “lightness” attracted him – but he soon discarded the idea again. From the start he envisioned an ideal of a mad virtuosity, such as he thought he saw realized in works by Paganini (Etudes), Ravel and Prokofiev. He thought of Ravel’s Tzigane, whose idiom and rhapsodic nature probably ap-pealed to him, and of the second movement (Vivacissimo) of Prokofiev’s first Violin Concerto, a work that repeatedly seems to evince relationships, both of technique and mood, with Ligeti’s work. The sketches, moreover, include ref-erences to works by Debussy (Études, Images), by Szymanowski and Enescu, as well as by Stravinsky (Sacre, Agon, Petrushka and Elegy). Above all, two sym-phonies of Shostakovich obtruded themselves upon his deliberations, the Fourth and the Eighth. What impressed him about the Fourth, as one can see

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from his notations, was its “suddennesses, surprises and exaggerations”: ab-rupt changes of expression and character are indeed conspicuous in this work. In the Eighth Symphony, he seems to have been fascinated by the third, very emphatic movement (Allegro ma non troppo), whose shrill dissonances at the end signalize a catastrophe: a comparison with similar passages in Ligeti – we may recall his “cystoscopy” – clearly suggests itself. A number of passages drafted for the Violin Concerto Ligeti associated with older music, including Schubert’s String Quintet in C major, Dufay’s mass Ave Regina Coelorum and Gesualdo’s fifth and sixth Madrigal Book, of whose chromaticism he was thinking while composing his fourth movement. Ligeti also had a marked interest in musical ethnology. Already in Hungary he had occupied himself with problems in ethnomusicology. In 1949/50, walk-ing in the footsteps of Bartók, he collected several hundred mostly Hungarian folksongs in Transylvania. In 1950 and 1953, he published two studies in Hungarian, about Romanian research in folk music and about polyphony in Romanian folk music.106 He was as fully versed in both European folk music and non-European music as any scholar in the field and loved to talk about and discuss both. As Béla Bartók once did with Hungarian peasant music, Ligeti drew inspiration for his diversified creations from the unexhausted music of numerous ethnicities. The geographic catchwords with ethnomusicological signification that occur in the sketches to the Violin Concerto are particularly instructive. They include references to Hungarian, Transdanubian, Transylvanian, Romanian and Gyp-sy music, to the Shetlands and Norwegian music (slâttar), to regions in Africa (Cameroon, Nigeria, Zaire, Zimbabwe, Madagascar) and in the Far East (Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, Cambodia, et al.). These intriguing notes lead to the conclusion that in conceiving many a passage he included impulses from both European folklore and non-European music. Hungarian-Romanian gypsy music no doubt had far more than a merely nostalgic significance for him. Af-rican music fascinated him above all for its confounding polyphony and poly-rhythm. He was quite familiar with the music of the Banda Linda (Central Af-rican Republic), the Gbaya (Southern Sudan), the Chokwe (Angola) and the Pygmies. For a while he was so impressed by the music of the Pygmies and the Gbaya that he thought of letting the stimulation he received from both bear fruit in two movements of his Violin Concerto, though that plan came to nothing. In a conversation with Denys Bouliane, he pointed out that his Etudes D’esordre and Automne à Varsovie, as well as his Piano Concerto, had very little to

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do with the Schönberg, Berg and Expressionism, very little also with Darm-stadt and Serialism, but a great deal with Debussy, Stravinsky, Ives and We-bern, as well as with several ethnic music cultures, not only African but also Indonesian and Melanesian. He did not want that to be taken as folklore, however, not as a melting down and neither as an “eclecticist composite of diverse elements of style”, but as a “structural way of thinking.”107 This clear delimitation from the method of Béla Bartók is plausible. Yet it can’t be de-nied that Ligeti’s more recent compositions display various ethnic “colora-tions” in places. Among the notations for the first movement of the Violin Concerto we find the following memo: “Stop the Hungarian-Gypsy-Romanian folk music manner. Keep the smoothness, the speed, the virtuosity, the bril-liance. The Transdanubian will stay but it will tend toward Balinese-Thai.” Listening to the head movement of the work attentively, one will not be able to miss the Far Eastern timbre of the marimba episode and that the pizzicato of the strings following thereupon almost sound like African xylophones. For another example of ethnically colored passages: in the sketches to the Concerto for Violin, under the heading “Burma” (the quotation marks are origi-nal), there is a partly whole-tone run in parallel minor sevenths assigned to the violin and the viola (Ex. 7).

Ex. 7 Concerto for Violin: Burma reminiscence

Ligeti utilized the run for a passage in the Finale, where it is heard in part in-tertwined contrapuntally with other ideas, at first (mm. 39/40) mixture-like in minor sevenths between alto flute and oboe, then (mm. 41-44), again mixture-like, in perfect fifths between flute and clarinet or else clarinet and bassoon, and finally (mm. 44-46) as a run in major sixths between the solo violin and a scordated violin or else viola. Closer examination might reveal wherein the “Burmese” of this passage consists. One thing is certain, however: as much as Ligeti may owe to his study of Eu-ropean folk music and non-European music, his more recent work at least has nothing in common with folklorism. The Africa and Far East, those lands that his music seems to evoke, are mainly thought out and dreamed up, as

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suggested by the twofold ethnic “colorations” in his music, such as the com-bination of “Burmese” and “Romanian” in the last of the passages just dis-cussed, or the mixed timbre of “African-Romanian” he once had in mind, judging from a note in the sketches. According to an early draft, the Finale of the Violin Concerto was to have consisted of a series of “Romanian-Caribbean” dances. Ligeti was also interested in jazz, at least in certain variants. He owned a large collection of jazz recordings, and the sketches for the Violin Concerto contain references to recordings with Oscar Peterson. Even more telling is the fact that there are jazz-like passages in both the Piano and the Violin Concerto. They are marked by pronounced rhythms and syncopated formations as well as by an instrumentation giving a preference to trumpet and trombone. Ex. 8 cites an example from the Finale of the Piano Concerto, Ex. 9 one from the opening movement of the Violin Concerto.108

Ex. 8 Concerto for Piano: close to jazz

Ex. 9 Concerto for Violin: close to jazz

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The notes for the Violin Concerto likewise contain instructive references to works in literature and the visual arts. Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, one of Ligeti’s favorite books, came into his mind while he was think-ing about the passacaglia and its “glassy landscape.” In drafting some passag-es, he visualized Seurat’s pointillist technique and the stairs in the graphics of Maurits Escher (see fig. p. 109). The con violenza section in the Finale he asso-ciated with Picasso’s famous painting “La danse” (see fig. p. 192).109 His asso-ciations extended even to early art: to van Eyck’s Gent Altar and Grünewald’s Isenheim Altar in Colmar. It is characteristic of Ligeti’s quasi universalistic thinking that one occasionally finds also names of little-known artists in the sketches, such as that of the schizophrenic poet and painter Adolf Wölfli and that of the Canadian composer Claude Vivier. A separate category, finally, consists of visual impressions and allusions. Lige-ti, who always had a fondness for picture puzzles, is particularly receptive to optical illusions such as the line patterns of a turning strobe disk, and to the many kinds of optical illusions identified with terms like moiré and zoom. Thus he once planned a piano etude for which he considered titles like “Twilight”, “Claire-obscure”, “Irisation” and, in fact, “Moiré.” One cannot but be struck by the plenitude of extra-musical ideas and con-cepts, derived from diverse areas of nature and life, that accompanied his cre-ative process. The previously cited list of concepts that repeatedly crop up in his sketches conveys a vivid sense of Ligeti’s eminent synaesthetic bent:

Universe/Space (Hungarian Ur) Clouds Crystals Water Cataclysm Weeping Lamenting Tumult Panic Rush Grid African masks Shamans, magicians/sorcerers Demons, dance Cystoscope Catastrophe

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1.12 New Ways of Transcending the Tempered System “I have coined the word Sonorität: that is, neither noise nor tone, but something in between.”110

As I look back, it becomes clear to me that, consciously or unconsciously, I have always been in search of an alternative to the twelve-tone temperament. The idea originated, I be-lieve, with my piece Atmosphères (1961). When I first heard the iridescent sound, which before I had been able only to imag-ine, I realized that what I was searching for ranged between noise and musical sound.”111

One of the leading ideas that pervade Ligeti’s oeuvre is that of an “iridescent” sound. Nearly all of the works he composed in the West are distinguished by a sonority sui generis that is hard to describe. The first work in which he was able to realize his until then merely abstract ideal of an iridescent sound was Atmosphères – an epochal composition, whose clusters and enormously dense chromatic fields opened up new sonorities. With Atmosphères, Ligeti discov-ered a unique region of sound between tone and noise. From then on he made many attempts to get away from the well-tempered system. One important stage within that development was marked by the Requiem, an exceptional work, in which, owing to the large number of vocal-ists and the hyper-chromatic way of writing repeatedly dominant, a meticu-lously correct intonation is neither possible nor desired. Upon first hearing the very vivid, hyper-chromatically determined vocal waves in the “Kyrie”, one automatically thinks in terms of an intensification of the microtonal prac-tice in Byzantine chant. Ligeti regarded the well-tempered tuning as worn out, chromaticism as used up. His endeavor was to leave both tonality and atonality behind. Though he sympathized and experimented with microtonality, he did not write any rigor-ously constructed microtonal works. Instead, he found, after numerous at-tempts, an original way between microtonality and equal temperament. One of his declared aims was quasi-equidistance: a music that suggests the illusion of equidistance, one that is generated from within equal temperament, yet does not belong to it in terms of its sound. In his later works, Ligeti developed a new kind of twelve-tone method. The listener often thinks he hears constantly changing twelve-tone fields and twelve-tone sounds. Yet their sound quality differs fundamentally both from the Schönbergian dodecaphony and from serialism. In his piano music, Ligeti achieves this novel dodecaphony by various means, viz.:

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by a combination of diatonic and anhemitonic pentatonic scales (Dèsor-dre; first, second, and fifth movement of the Concerto for Piano);

by coupling the two whole-tone scales (Concerto for Piano, 5th movement, mm. 3-22, Galamb borong);

by a combination of diverse six-tone rows (Entrelacs);

finally, by veiling the chromaticism (L’escalier du diable).

DG 4/5 Buganda/Africa: “Amadinda play”, players’ seating arrangement

At the xylophone, A starts the theme, B subdivides it, C taps out a rhythm

Attempts to annul the equal temperament strike at the very “foundations” of music and hence have been undertaken by relatively few 20th-century com-posers. Ferruccio Busoni enthused about a system of third tones,112 Alois Hába composed with quarter, fifth and sixth tones, and the composer and in-strument maker Harry Partch (1901-1973) is regarded in the United States as an apostle of “natural” tones.113

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In the decades since the ‘sixties, Ligeti took delight in heresies against the equal temperament. According to his own statement, he was constantly occu-pied with the question how to get away from it.114 He was greatly interested in the mood of European and non-European music, for natural tones and mi-crotones. When I visited him once in 1993, he was tireless in playing me a harp recording with a seven-step equidistant scale. Yet he did not commit himself to any rigid system of “microtonality” (the term is now applicable to all twelve-tone non-tempered music115). His efforts aimed in a direction be-yond both microtonality and equal temperament. Ligeti’s work with microtones and “microtonality” is many-facetted. To cite some examples, in the music edition of the Passacaglia ungherese of 1978, we find the following note: “The piece should preferably be played on an instru-ment tuned in middle-tone temperament: the eight major thirds or minor sixths on which the music is based sound pure in this tuning.” On June 1, 1993, Caroline Kirchhoff performed the piece in Hamburg at first on a nor-mally tuned harpsichord and then on a “middle-toned” one. The recital on the latter instrument produced a far stronger impression. Ramifications (1968/69) is composed for string orchestra or else 12 solo string instruments. The ensemble is divided into two groups, of which one has the ordinary tuning, whereas the other is tuned a quartertone higher. The result-ant hoverings disclose new sonorities to the listener. For the second and third movement of the Second String Quartet, the score provides for occasional microtonal pitch deviations, which, however, are not exactly determined; they can maximally attain a quarter-tone variation. Of special fascination for Ligeti is the world of pure tuning. He expressed en-thusiasm about the music of the Chokwe, which is based on pure triads with pure fifths and pure major thirds, about the polyphony of the Georgians, which likewise knows only natural fifths and major natural thirds, and also about the yodeling of the Pygmies. Already in the Horn Trio and later in the Piano and the Violin Concerto, he re-peatedly used naturally pure intervals. He had a special predilection for the natural seventh and the natural eleventh, which sound significantly lower than the corresponding well-tempered intervals (minus 14 and minus 49 cents re-spectively). For the fifth movement of the Piano Concerto, a natural horn and natural trombone are prescribed here and there. Manfred Stahnke may be right in saying that with Ligeti “microtonality” is deeply interwoven in his en-tire way of thinking, even when he is writing in well-tempered mode.116

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The Violin Concerto can be called a work of synthesis inasmuch as Ligeti here makes use of virtually every possibility of transcending the equal tempera-ment: the soloist and the solo string players in the orchestra play both on nat-ural and scordated instruments. “Out-of-tune” instruments like the ocarina and the swanee whistles (piston flutes) mix with well-“tuned” harmonic spec-trums. For the woodwinds, minor pitch deviations are prescribed here and there, and horns and trombones also produce natural harmonics.

From Ligeti’s folksong collection: Transylvanian wedding march with voice, violin and gordon

1.13 Backgrounds of Ligeti’s Popularity “In composing I do not think of a specific listener or circle of listeners. I do not care about being easily understood.”

“My music is an elitist art, but everyone can take part in it. It is a question of one’s education.”117

I believe one can listen to my music quite naively but also in a highly educated way. The access to it is really open.”118

It is a truism that the new in art (as well as in science) often meets with a fierce initial rejection. The history of the New Music teaches that epochal works did not always easily prevail. We need only think of the scandal that erupted at the first performance of Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps on May 13, 1913, in Paris. Ever since the sensational premiere of Apparitions on June 19, 1960, however, Ligeti’s works have been amazingly successful. It tells us something that at the

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premiere of Atmosphères in 1961 in Donaueschingen, the enthusiastic audience forced a repeat performance of the piece, and that the same thing happened at the Hamburg premiere of Aventures on April 4, 1963. Today, Ligeti is one of the most successful composers of our time. The friends of his music steadily increase in numbers worldwide. His composi-tions meet with favorable response not only from specialists but also from the broader public. That is not a matter of course in an age in which the demand-ing New Music has largely lost contact with the larger community of the friends of music. What accounts for the wide appeal of this music? In trying to explain Ligeti’s popularity, one needs to consider several factors: external matters, certain qualities of his music and, finally, psychological reasons. Let us consider each of these. After his sensational successes in the early ‘sixties, Ligeti rapidly became known, as the media began to take an interest in him. A contributing factor to his growing renown was no doubt the use of three of his compositions in Stanley Kubrick’s epochal film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick had worked on his sci-fi film from 1965 to 1968. The original version of the film, which is based on a short story by Arthur C., Clarke and proclaims Clarke’s philoso-phy of space and the future, was shown already in 1966. Kubrick had be-stowed great care on the music tract of his cinematic opus and experimented a good deal. After several attempts, he finally decided to use music by four composers for his film: Johann Strauß Jr. (The Blue Danube waltz), Richard Strauss (Thus Spoke Zarathustra), Aram Khachaturian (the ballet suite Gayane) and Ligeti (Atmosphères, Aventures, Requiem and Lux aeterna), with the music of Richard Strauss and that of Ligeti being utilized for practically opposite con-notations: whereas the opening bars of Zarathustra accompany the grandiose imagery of earth – moon – sun, Ligeti’s music is made to signalize danger, menace, the unknown and inexplicable.119 Given the exceptional notice and wide distribution the movie received,120 one can see why it would also draw attention to Ligeti’s music. One might add that the film maker used the music without informing the composer. The latter protested vehemently and also took legal measures but had to be content with a royalty of $ 3000. Kubrick used music of Ligeti’s again in subsequent films, e.g., Eyes Wide Shut (1999). How popular Ligeti had meanwhile become also emerges from the fact that in 1969 the widely read Radio and TV magazine Hör Zu commissioned a whole-page article on the “avant-garde professor.” Its author, Gerhard Ar-

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noldi, lauded him as a composer who found his own way and did not become a mere Stockhausen epigone.121 The same issue of the journal included a pho-nograph disk from the series Hör Zu Black Label (SHZW 904 BL) with record-ings of Atmosphères, Volumina, Aventures and the Cello Concerto. Under these circumstances it is not surprising that television, too, began to take an interest in this self-willed composer. I vividly remember a mildly sur-realist film about Ligeti that appeared on Germany’s Second Program (ZDF) in the ‘seventies or ‘eighties.

Space Odyssey: Music of Ligeti adapted to film

More important than these external factors, which undoubtedly favored the dissemination of Ligeti’s oeuvre, are certain qualities of the music itself: its coherence and sonority, its imaginativeness, its associative power and, not least, the allusions to traditional music and the spatial effects it evokes. All of Ligeti’s works are distinguished by their structural logic. Regardless of the manner or technique of composition he employed, the result is always coherent music. A friend once remarked to me that even if Ligeti were to set the telephone directory to music, the coherence of the result could hardly be doubted. The listener registers this coherence without being conscious of the inherent structural laws, which disclose themselves only to an in-depth analyt-ic study of the scores. Ligeti himself called his music “very constructed”, add-ing, however, that construction for him did not have the significance it has for Boulez or Xenakis.122 Much of the fascination of his music is due to its sonority. Ligeti had an emi-nent sense of sound: Ulrich Dibelius justly called him a “Klangbildner” (sound molder),123 and Wolfgang Burde fittingly spoke of Ligeti’s conception of “sound- space composition.”124 The novel sonorities he opened up cast a

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magic spell over the listener. In his early works he frequently paid homage to his idea of a scintillating, iridescent, oscillating sound; in his later works, he sought to undermine the well-tempered system by employing, inter alia, scor-dature, microtonal deviations, “out-of-tune” instruments and natural over-tones. The special suggestiveness of his music, again, resides essentially in its asso-ciative power. Ligeti pointed out again and again that his music was not “pu-ristic” but strongly “charged with associations” and repeatedly stated that with him the compositional process was accompanied by associations from many areas. Such music can stimulate the imagination of the listener and can awaken associations and fantasies in him or her as well. Regrettably there are to date no statistics regarding associative effects of his music. Ever since Ku-brick’s film, of course, many listeners associate Atmosphères and other pieces with outer space. Upon being asked whether he identified with that associa-tion, Ligeti replied “neither nor.” When he composed Atmosphères, he ex-plained, he had no thought of such a functional use – the piece was no film music. The title nevertheless did refer to the atmospheric, wherefore associa-tions of space or space travel were not absolutely excluded from the sphere of what could be associated.125 Ligeti’s music is original and new with every fiber, and it negates tradition. At the same time, however, as we have seen, allusions to the great tradition play a major role in it, and there is no question that such allusions build bridges toward the listener’s apperception. Ligeti remarked once that his music could also be heard without any knowledge of these associations, but that a listener who experienced it in its historical context would get more out of it, since as “Bildungsmusik” (music of erudition) its full understanding presupposed a proper connoisseurship.126 In considering Ligeti’s popularity, one must not forget certain psychological factors. Many fans of his music revere him as an original artist, who is inde-pendent and unorthodox, thinks outside the box and refuses to be confined to any single group. His music is music for individualists. In May of 1993, several concerts were given in Hamburg in observance of Li-geti’s 70th birthday. Many Hanseats were delighted to celebrate their elective Hamburger. Both the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik and the Hungarian journal Muzsika dedicated separate issues to him. Friedrich Cerha published an article entitled “Why I admire my friend” in the Austrian journal Bühne, and Marion Diederichs-Lafite invited me to conduct a conversation with Ligeti for the Österreichische Musikzeitschrift.127 And as a clinching indication of his popularity,

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five noted composers – Lucian Berio, Dieter Schnebel, Manfred Stahnke, Manfred Trojahn and Udo Zimmermann – all congratulated their renowned colleague on his 70th birthday in the Hamburger Morgenpost. Ligeti’s extraordinary popularity did not cease with his death in 2006. Wheth-er it has grown since then is hard to say. Several CD firms, in any case, have brought out complete recordings of his works. A good many of his composi-tions, certainly, are performed much more rarely now. But others have be-come representative of modernity. Atmosphères has attained the status of a classic of the New Music. Star pianists in many countries make it their ambi-tion to play his horrendously difficult piano pieces. And his anti-opera, Le Grand Macabre, has been performed in a number of European and American cities. On May 27, 2010, The New York Philharmonic Orchestra presented Le Grand Macabre with great success at Lincoln Center.

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2.1 Composing in the Homeland “Certainly that First String Quartet already exhibits some of the characteristics of my later music, but the make-up as a whole is altogether different, ‘old-fashioned’: there are plainly still melodic, rhythmic and harmonic formations in it, as well as regular meter.”128

Ligeti undertook his first attempts at composition already at the age of four-teen. In both his Cluj and his Budapest phase, he developed a restless compo-sitional activity, whose extent we can gather from Ove Nordwall’s list of piec-es written between 1944 and 1956.129 Comprising no fewer than 74 titles, it includes three cantatas, several folksong adaptations, lieder, a strikingly large number of a cappella choruses, piano music, chamber music and a few orches-tral works. Many of the compositions were written for school choir or or-chestra – Ligeti later called them gebrauchsmusik, using Hindemith’s coinage, music for general use (rather than “for its own sake”). The more demanding ones could, for reasons of cultural politics, not be performed and landed in the drawer.130 An artistically important event for the young Ligeti was his encounter with the music of Béla Bartók in the winter of 1941/42. Works like the Divertimen-to, the Violin Concerto and the Second String Quartet made a deep impression on him. Ligeti admitted repeatedly that the great model of Bartók had shaped his early work, but he also indicated that there was a time when he made an ef-fort to distance himself from Bartók and to find his own way. Oddly enough, he said that at the age of 23 he showed greater independence from Bartók than later on. From 1947 on, he modeled himself more closely on him again. Ligeti was strongly impressed also by the music of Igor Stravinsky, some of whose works (like the Histoire du soldat) he had studied, and whose Sacre du Printemps he once heard on the radio. Of the composers of the Second Viennese School, on the other hand, he hardly knew anything – a few scores of Alban Berg excepted. Side by side with the traces of an intensive preoccupation with Béla Bartók, two of the most representative works of the Hungarian period, the Musica ri-cercata for piano and the First String Quartet, also exhibit Ligeti pursuing paths of his own. Musica ricercata roughly means “recherché” music. Already the title of this eleven-piece collection from the years 1951 to 1953 thus gestures at a spirit of experimentation. As with many of the pieces in Bartók’s Mikro-kosmos, the rigor of construction here, too, is striking. There is an unmistaka-ble endeavor to develop everything from only a few elements. The first five

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pieces can be called inventions on a limited supply of tones. No. 1 is an in-vention on a single note (the note a), No. 2 one on three notes (e, f# and g). No. 3, a rhythmically intricate piece bearing some Stravinskyan traits, is con-structed with only four notes (c, eb, e and g), and No. 4, a waltz, with five or six notes (f#, g, a, bb and g# or a). No. 5, a strongly expressive Lamentoso, is based on a six-note mode, the scale of g-ab-b-c#-d-f). No. 6 is a study in the Mixolydi-an mode on a, and No. 7 is an invention on the ostinato as well as on the Mixolydian mode on f. (That pastoral-like piece later became downright “popular”). Nr. 8 pays homage to Bartók’s folklorism and barbaro spirit (the characteristic expression mark is ruvido, rough), and No. 9, Béla Bartók in memo-riam, is an invention on the top-heavy (“Lombardic”) rhythm - a specialty of the great Hungarian. No. 10, Vivace, capriccioso, obtains its unique character from the contrast between chromatically conceived and rhythmically accentu-ated passages and chains of thirds to be articulated gracioso. No. 11, finally, is an artfully and rigorously developed fugue on a theme by Girolamo Fresco-baldi (the theme of the Ricercare cromatico post il Credo from the Fiori musicali of 1635) – a six-note theme, which Ligeti expanded to thirteen notes.131 Ligeti seems to have thought highly of his Musica ricercata, since he adapted six of the pieces (nos. 3, 5, 7, 9) as bagatelles for wind quintet. A close study of the Musica ricercata and the First String Quartet will make it clear that the roots of the unmistakable Ligeti style are to be found in the ear-ly work. Several peculiarities of the later music, at any rate, are preformed al-ready in the early period. That is true, for example, of Ligeti’s interest in working with a limited tonal material (whether intervals or scales) fixed in ad-vance – a trait of several of the late piano etudes. Specifically, the above-mentioned inventions on one or three notes from the Musica ricercata strike one as early anticipations of an idea that would achieve its magnificent full re-alization much later in the “Monument”, the first of the Three Pieces for Two Pi-anos. Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 1, composed in 1953/54 in Budapest, bears the subtitle Metamorphoses nocturnes – a technically as well as poetically suggestive name: the term “Metamorphoses” can be referred to the “leitmotif” of the work, a characteristic constellation of intervals that undergoes countless trans-formations. Ligeti rather laconically remarked about it: “The basic intervallic idea, which is always present but always in new transformations, consists of two major seconds that follow each other, off-set by a half-tone.” A close analysis of the score, in fact, reveals an extraordinary art of variation, in that the two major seconds appear in the most diverse variants and rhythms (as well as in peculiarly crossed-over and chromatically “filled-in” form) – even

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change diastematically (in interval) in the course of the composition, taking on the form of minor and major thirds, perfect fourths and even minor sixths. Ex. 10 lists the most important metamorphoses.

Ex. 10 First String Quartet: metamorphoses of the basic intervallic idea

The transformations that the “germ cell” of the quartet undergoes are at times so considerable that one has trouble recognizing the connection to the original form. Thus the ostinato-like portion of mm. 609-725 seems free-composed. It takes a closer look to realize that it is designed purely chromati-cally (the first violin plays a chromatically ascending line defamiliarized by oc-taves and bizarre rhythms), and that the 21-times-repeated pizzicato figure of the cello (ab-g-eb-f-e) is nothing but a chromatic variant of the germ cell. For a closer phenomenological description of Ligeti’s music of the ‘sixties, the categories “soft” and “hard” music offer themselves. Both types appear al-

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ready in the First String Quartet – albeit frequently in different guise. In fact, the formal dynamics of the single-movement work latently divided into nu-merous sections frequently results from the abrupt succession of “soft” and “hard” portions, which form the brusquest contrasts imaginable. Accordingly, the “soft” music appears introverted, even elegiac, favors expression marks like dolce, espressivo and dolente, is determined predominantly by melody and harmony and ranges between piano and pianissimo. By contrast, the “hard” mu-sic embodies partly the barbaro type and partly the type of “like a precision mechanism.” It thrives on rhythm and rhythmic effects, its domain is the forte and fortissimo sphere, and its expression marks are ones like vigoroso, feroce and ruvido. Both types appear side by side at the very beginning of the work: if the first section, Allegro gracioso (mm. 1-68) can be labeled “soft” music, the second, Vivace capriccioso (mm. 69 ff.) represents the “hard” type. The Adagio, mes-to (mm. 210-238) can then again be classified as “soft” music. Besides these two types, a third mode of expression is present in the First String Quartet, whose primary earmark is lightness. To this category one would have to assign the scherzo- (mm. 239-521) and the waltz-like (mm. 574-599) portions of the work. A humorous effect, the unexpected tonal cadence (dominant – tonic) in mm 366/367 also belongs in this category. The multiplicity of different characters in the string quartet extends from se-renity to wildness, from elegy to mirth. The astonishing fact, however, is that a number of the musical types Ligeti constituted here can be discovered again in the later music. 2.2 Going beyond Serialism

“Keeping to one and the same basic order led to incompati-ble structures. The unity existed only on the level of the commentary, the verbal description of the composition; it was imposed ab extra upon the musical processes and re-mained psychologically ineffective.”132

“I reacted to serial music exactly as I did to my own composi-tional procedures, at once negating and extending, that is, modifying.”133

On June 19, 1960, Ligeti’s Apparitions were first performed at the Festival of the International Society for New Music in Cologne. The premiere was a sen-sation: the world took notice. The new work differed drastically from what one was accustomed to hearing. One could tell that the hitherto little-known Hungarian composer was about to discover a new universe of sound, and one

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realized that he could not be assigned to any of the tendencies of avant-garde music then paramount At the time of the premiere, Ligeti had been in the West for three-and-a- half years. He was profoundly impressed by the New Music he was getting to know. In the Cologne Studio, in 1957/58, he gained experiences with elec-tronic music. Here he studied electro-acoustics and phonetics, and here he experimented with electronic sound materials, which fascinated him not least for their similarity to phonemes. He exchanged ideas with Karlheinz Stock-hausen and Gottfried Michael Koenig and above all studied the scores of Pierre Boulez. The nineteen-fifties were the years of serial music. Serialism had spread like a religious doctrine and had put many young composers into a state of eupho-ria. They were fascinated by the idea that all parameters of a musical work of art could be fixed by series in advance. No less an authority than Ernst Krenek coined the aperçu that serialism had at last liberated the composer from the dictatorship of the idea.134 Herbert Eimert, on the contrary, protest-ed against the assumption that serial composition meant “total predetermina-tion.” It was wrong, in his view, to think that the margin of choice was re-duced to zero. The very opposite was the case, for every new serial level brought “countless new possible connections into play”, and with every newly added serial constraint the “decision coefficient” grew and differentiated.135 The pioneer of serialism was Olivier Messiaen, in whose epochal piano piece Mode de valeurs et d’ intensités of 1949 not only the pitches but also the dura-tions, the nature of the touch and the degrees of intensity are serially orga-nized. Messiaen’s pupils Karel Goeyvaerts, Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen took up from there. Thus the three twelve-member rows on which Boulez based his composition Structure Ia determine both the pitches (“tone qualities”), the note durations and the dynamics, while a ten-member row dictates the touch (Ex. 11).

Ex. 11 P. Boulez: Determinations of the twelve-tone row (“Structure Ia”)

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In a widely noted essay, Ligeti not only contributed a minute analysis of Bou-lez’ Structure Ia but also set forth a fundamental discussion of the process of serial composition. He thought he could distinguish three “work phases”: Decision I – Automatism – Decision II. The first phase involved selecting the compositional elements, choosing their particular arrangement and determin-ing the subsequent operations. In the second phase, elements and operations were thrown “quasi into a machine”, in order “to be woven automatically into structures on the basis of the relations chosen.” By means of several exam-ples, Ligeti was able to show that irregular deviations from the strictly applied serialist principle occur in Boulez’ Structure Ia, and he drew the conclusion that compositional decisions and automatisms presupposed each other: “the mu-tually affecting decisions inevitably lead to automatisms, determination pro-duces the unforeseeable; and conversely, neither the automatic nor the fortui-tous can be brought about without decision and determination.” In conclu-sion, he opined (not without some irony) that Boulez had to break out of the “ascetic, almost compulsion-neurotic posture” he had assumed in composing the Structure, in order to create something totally opposite, namely the “mot-ley, sensual feline world” of the Marteau sans maître.136 If we now look more closely at the rule of serial composition, we must first of all speak of three axioms to which the serialists referred: the doctrine that in the structure of the musical work of art all elements (pitch, duration, timbre, intensity) have equal rights; the consequent insistence that all the elements should be organized according to a uniform principle of order , such as a log-arithmic numerical row; and finally, the confidence that the pseudo-mathematical logic of the construction would also guarantee the musical one. After a detailed study of many different scores, Ligeti called the truth claim of these axioms in question, argued that the individual elements in the structure of the composition did not all have to have the same relevance, and showed convincingly that the pseudo-mathematical logic of the musical construction neither guaranteed musical coherence nor had any exact correlate in the struc-ture of psychic perception. The conclusions he drew for his own work from these findings are weighty ones and in the last analysis signify the questioning and even the nullification of the serial principles. To begin with, he annulled the law of the uniform or-ganization of the parameters. Thus in Apparitions (and also in Atmosphères) he worked, not with twelve-tone rows but with clusters. He did not, in principle, abandon the determination of the remaining parameters; nevertheless, the rhythmic relations are organized differently than the dynamic ones in his work. Finally he distanced himself in yet another respect from serialism.

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Whereas according to a serialist postulate the durational values of a row – re-gardless of whether very short or very long – should occur with equal fre-quency, Ligeti arranged the durations in Apparitions in such a way that brevity and length respectively are made the criterion of frequency: in other words, the shortest element recurs most frequently, the longest only once. How much care he devoted to durational organization is evident from the drafts for Apparitions. Ligeti’s calculations there reveal that he sought to rec-ord all possible durations and ordered them in rows. One of his tables lists no fewer than 192 durations, no.1 being a thirty-second, no. 192 a unit of three maximae (3 x 64 = 192). In another table, which lists thirteen elements, the shortest of them is one sixteenth, the longest a unit of eight whole notes; here the shortest element is intended to recur 80 times, whereas the longest values are to occur only once.137 2.3 Apparitions and the Dream of the Web

“My memory of this dream of long ago had a certain influ-ence on the music I wrote in the ‘fifties. What went on in the web-filled room transformed itself into tonal fantasies that became the starting material of compositions.”138

Of primary importance for Ligeti’s development as a composer since his emi-gration are initially his experiences with electronic music, which he had in 1957/58 at the Cologne Studio for Electronic Music. Of the three electronic pieces he produced there, only one was published. Significantly, it bears the title Artikulation139 and is conceived as an imaginary conversation in an artifi-cial language: a sequence of monologues, dialogues, trilogues and multi-vocal disputes. After that, Ligeti wrote no further electronic pieces. Neither did he try any synthesis of electronic and instrumental music, such as other compos-ers strove for and realized. Apparitions and Atmosphères, the first orchestral works he wrote after his emigration, do, however, profit from his experiences with electronic music and reside in an area between the world of sound and that of noise. That may explain why, after their respective premieres, many listeners thought the orchestra sound was manipulated electronically, or an electronically produced audio tape had been played through a hidden speaker. Ernst Thomas called Apparitions a borderline case, inasmuch “as the instru-mental timbre really verged already on the realm of electronic possibilities.”140 The genesis of Apparitions was protracted and is instructive in several respects. The earliest, unfortunately lost, version of the work had the title Viziók (Vi-sions) and probably dated from 1956 or even earlier. By then, at the latest, Li-geti had concrete ideas of a “static” music with “neutralized” sounds – albeit

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ideas he could not then realize technically: it was only the preoccupation with electronic music that enabled him to do so. A later draft, now kept in the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, is dated 1956 and bears the title Sötet és világos (Dark and light), which suggests the idea of a transition from darkness (low registers, dim colors) to light (high registers, shrill colors). Each or its two parts has certain instrumental groups assigned to it. According to Gianmario Borio, this draft represents a “preliminary stage” of the first version,141 which, scored for chamber orchestra (12 string soloists, harp, piano, harpsichord and celesta), was composed in Vienna and Cologne in 1957 and consists of three movements.142 Our concern here, however, is with the final (second) version. It consists of two movements and calls for a large orchestral apparatus com-posed of 3 flutes, 3 clarinets, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 6 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, an extensive percussion group, plus celesta, harp, harpsi-chord, piano and 46 string instruments. Apparitions can be called a prototypical piece inasmuch as the type of music it represents proved to be expandable. Moreover, the compositional techniques that Ligeti first tried out here could be developed further in later works (the Atmosphères and the Volumina). I am referring to the technique of tonal ex-panses in the special variant of the cluster technique, which is applied here in a highly original manner. Looking back, Ligeti remarked about the composi-tional situation after his overcoming of serialism:

The wornness of interval relations, that is, of all harmony, and the lev-eling out of interval characters thus caused, led me to the consequence of eliminating, for the time being, all intervals as structuring elements. I composed voice textures so dense that the individual intervals sub-merged in them and functioned no longer as intervals as such but only collectively as intervallic masses.143

This account applies doubtlessly also to Apparitions, albeit with certain excep-tions. Toward the end of the work, for example, the first trumpet, the first horn, the first trombone and the echo trumpet, all of them stopped, intone, one after the other, conspicuous signal-like motifs. Another innovation: the bar-lines appearing in the score of Apparitions are not to be taken in terms of traditional meter but serve solely to synchronize the voices, that is, to enable the conducting of the score. In this work, Ligeti ap-parently shook off the fetters of mensuration for the first time. The associations with electronic music the piece evokes, incidentally, result from the nature of the clusters, which are so densely interwoven that so-called beats (Schwebungen) are produced. Ligeti himself traced the seemingly

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electronic sound of Apparitions to the use of “motion timbre” (Bewegungsfarbe), explaining that by playing slightly off-key, illusory pattern transformations and tone colors were created that differed markedly from the timbres of the usual combinations of instruments.144 The more one delves into Apparitions the clearer it becomes that the work wants to be understood as a musical realization of the childhood dream about the gigantic web that Ligeti related. In trying to explain the structure of the work, he, in fact, used the very terms “conditions”, “events” and “transfor-mations” he had employed in the telling of the dream, and he felt he had to distinguish two basic types of musical material: delicate-sounding, soft-seeming cluster textures and firm sound groups or even singular “sound splinters”, which, as it were, perforate the sounding web. As typical of the formal development of the first movement he noted that the suddenly ap-pearing – and for the most part also suddenly vanishing – compacter sound groups would attack the stationary sounds preceding them in each case and thereby would induce transformations. In trying to understand these ideas, one should keep in mind, to begin with, that the cluster technique in this work is absolutely obligatory: both of the basic types of musical material – the stationary sounds as well as the firmer sound groups – have the cluster texture in common. At the same time, the two types are structured differently: while the stationary sounds are long-held and prefer the piano sphere, the firmer sound groups tend toward accumula-tion and toward fortissimo. The form of the piece could be defined as a two-tiered process, in which the stationary sounds provide the background and the “attacking” sounds the foreground. The impression of distance and prox-imity arises in listening. Two examples may serve to clarify what has been said. The beginning of the first movement is characterized by mostly long-held, stationary sounds con-fined to the piano sphere (mp, p, pp, ppp, pppp). Then, in m. 30, abruptly and unexpectedly a fortissimo appears, as the multiply divided strings play a strong pizzicato, the so-called Bartók pizzicato (sffff). This event triggers a more far-reaching transformation, causing a shock to the resounding web (and to the listener), and is followed by a general pause. Ligeti spoke figuratively of a tear in the sound structure. Similar, but even much stronger effects result from another sffff sound in m. 73. Like the Bartók pizzicato, this sound, too, enters abruptly but seems far harder and more massive by comparison – small wonder when one considers the profusion of instruments: three piccolo flutes, xylophone, glockenspiel,

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whip, a very high-tuned small drum, celesta, harp, harpsichord and piano, plus the pizzicato-playing strings all contribute to the production of the sound. This sound event – meant as an “attack” and marking the peripety – brings about the decisive turn in the movement. In mm. 75-77, the second violins, the violas and the cellos react to it with a “wild” eruption – an impetuous sound sequence that climbs to the highest region. In the process, the “metal-lic explosion” (in Ligeti’s words) produced by the sffff sound initiates a major shift in tone location: whereas the music until then ranged mostly in the lower pitches, the high register predominates from thence forward. The sffff sound functions as an Archimedean point. It marks the place where the dark register is relieved by the bright one, with the two parts of the movement corresponding in length approximately to the proportions of the golden section. When Ligeti conceived this movement, he was still under the impression of the theories of Ernö Lendvais, who sought to demonstrate the golden section in the works of Béla Bartók.145 Significantly, the sketches in-clude an early formal draft of the movement that is based on the so-called Fibonacci numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610 and 987, where each number (starting with the third) is the sum of the previous two (see Facsimile 6).

FS 6 Apparitions, 1st movement: form draft with Fibonacci numbers

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On June 8, 1988, after the ceremony awarding him the honorary doctorate of Hamburg University, Ligeti told me that in the United States scholarly treatis-es had been written about his music trying to demonstrate that several of his works were constructed in accordance with the law of the golden section. He said he was not conscious of such a method of construction. The Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio applied solely to Apparitions. To continue with our discussion of the work: if the static sounds of the Lento are lined up in blocks, in the Agitato they are made to fan out considerably. Ligeti spoke of “internally vibrating” planes as well as of small figures that, nearly indistinct, entangled, flare up and vanish again.146 This description cer-tainly fits the first section of the Agitato. The dynamics, confined to the piano sphere, and the extremely differentiated playing of the strings add to the ef-fect. Ligeti’s experience with electronic music here makes a real difference. The second section (mm. 25-37) stands in harsh contrast to the first. Hearing it for the first time, one might think it was conceived in an aleatory manner. In reality, the music is notated exactly down to the last quaver: a web of 46 string voices. The expression mark reads: “Wild. Ex abrupto start. With ex-treme force. Each string player plays as intensively as if he were a soloist. Lots of bowing. Verve more important than perfectly clean intonation.” That the passage is constructed through and through, to be sure, one realizes only once one has become aware that it is the earliest instance of the famous micro-polyphony, of which we have yet to speak in detail. The third section (mm. 38-43) is structured altogether differently. The origi-nality of the keenly rhythmical expanse of noise it constitutes lies less in the addition of the percussion section than in the percussive treatment of the wind instruments. The musicians blowing the two bassoons, the contrabas-soon, the six horns, three trumpets, three trombones and the bass tuba are supposed to “knock against [the mouthpiece] with the tongue” without pro-ducing a tone. Afterwards the brass players are to “strike the mouthpiece briefly and vigorously with the hand.” At the start of the final section (mm. 44-55) a dense, tremolo cluster of the flutes, clarinets and second violins provides a background for motif fragments played by the first trumpet, first horn, first trombone and the echo trumpet, with the increasingly slow vibrations, as a fully composed ritardando, signaliz-ing the imminent end – which begins in the third to the last bar with sffff sounds. There has been a great deal of guessing about the meaning of the hammer with which the bottles are to be smashed: evidently it is a suggestive

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allusion to the crushing hammer strokes in the Finale of Mahler’s Tragic Sym-phony and again in the march from Alban Berg’s Three Pieces for Orchestra.147 The sketches for Apparitions contain notations on the formal division, on the organization of pitches and durations, on the dynamics, on instrumentation and on ways to play. They also document that Ligeti associated sounds with visual ideas. Thus we encounter catchwords like “clouds” (referring to string sounds), “beetles”, “forest”, “splinter(s)”, “magicians who give off a high, shrill tone” and others. A low passage in the double basses Ligeti links to no-tions of “tumult.” 2.4 Atmosphères – a Secret Requiem?

“After the completion of this piece [Apparitions], I was far more interested in the possibilities of a differentiated inter-twining and interweaving of sound than in the formation of musical ‘objects’: I therefore concentrated on tonal processes similar to those that form the ‘background’ in Apparitions. I resolved that in my next work I would eliminate the duality of clear individual figures and dense intertwining and let the mu-sical form emerge solely from the tonal ‘background,’ though this ‘background’ can no longer be called that, since a ‘fore-ground’ no longer exists. What is at issue now is a subtle fi-brous web evenly filling the entire musical space, whose in-ternal movements and alterations determine the articulation of the form.”

The compositional idea I tried to realize in Atmosphères sig-nified, on the one hand, the overcoming of ‘structural’ think-ing in composition – a mode of thinking that characterized the entire musical development of the last ten years – and on the other, represented a disowning of every kind of dialectic within musical form. There are, in the form thus come into being, no longer any oppositional elements or reciprocal ac-tions; the diverse states of the musical material take over from each other, or one turns almost imperceptibly into the other, without the emergence of any causal connections with-in the formal progress.148

Ligeti worked intensively on Atmosphères between February and July of 1961. The initial idea for it, however, goes back to a much earlier time. As he dis-closed to the Swedish publicist Göran Fant, the piece was conceived already in the early ’fifties, while one night, desperate and hungry he was roaming around in Budapest.149

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After its sensational world premiere on October 22, 1961, Atmosphères soon became one of the most famous works of the Hungarian composer, the one-time fame of Apparitions paling as that of the new work rose and overshad-owed the earlier one. It says something that today there are only three record-ings of Apparitions, whereas Atmosphères is available on no fewer than eleven different CDs. In terms of tonal type, Atmosphères and Apparitions are related to the extent that both pieces belong, according to Ligeti, to the structural type of the “nebular-indistinct.”150 Even so, there are major differences between the two, which constitute their specific particularity. Whereas in Apparitions tonal states are time and again disrupted and changed by unexpected sound events, com-parable incidents hardly occur in Atmosphères. The music proceeds continu-ously, changing constantly but only slowly and somehow inconspicuously – a peculiarity that betrayed a critic into the following obtuseness: “Everything is standing still; during the nine minutes stretched to an eternity that the piece lasts, nothing, but nothing, happens.”151 In actuality, a great deal happens in the course of the piece, though it takes an attentive listener to realize that. The composition is divided into 22 sections of different duration (the last section consists of silence), all of which are in-dividually structured. While most of them are based on dense chromatic clus-ters – iridescent twelve-tone sounds are the norm – the individual sections differ greatly in their structure. We can obtain major insights into the conception and the structure of the work from a study of the composer’s notes, which Salmenhaara has pub-lished.152 They include specifications about both the durations and the texture of the various sections – specifications that indicate that the final form of the work largely coincides with the original conception. Thus the durations planned for the sections in seconds were taken over without change into the autograph score: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 48” 29” 55” 37” 6” 23” 33” 14” 21” 18” 5” 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 8” 10” 26” 43” 16” 9” 12” 4” 7” 71” 19” The sum total is thus 8 minutes and 34 seconds. In the printed score, Ligeti dispensed with these detailed specifications, noting the performance length in a lump sum as “ca. 9 minutes.”

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Before beginning with the elaboration of the score, Ligeti gave intensive con-sideration to the constitution of the individual tonal fields, distinguishing be-tween three basic types of such expanses: stationary planes or expanses (“liegende Flächen”), vibrating expanses and mosaic-like textures.153 The term “liegende Flächen” means primarily unchanging clusters, stationary sounds – the first section presents a prototypical example of these – although, as the second section (letter A) shows, such expanses can be shaded in both timbre and dynamics. “Vibrating expanses” are shaped by trills, tremolos and swing-like figurations or by internal motions within a broadly differentiated texture (fourth and ninth section, at letter C and H respectively). The mosaic-like tex-tures, finally, are characterized by the dissolution of lines into individual com-ponents (Ligeti spoke of “Stückchen”, bits). In sections 12, 18 and 19 (letter K, Q and R), the score resembles a mosaic even visually. As already intimated, the sections differ considerably in terms of frequency band, register, timbre combination, dynamics and also manner of playing. The diagram provided by Erkki Salmenhaara154 (see DG 6) can convey a graphic impression of the modifications of the frequency band, its narrowing in the 8th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 20th section (letters G, J, K, L, S) being particularly striking.

DG 6 Atmosphères: 22 sections in time and texture

There has been significant progress in sound analysis in the last twenty or so years, as new methods were developed and digital procedures made it possible to depict the sound shape of compositions with considerable precision. An-dreas E. Beurmann and Albrecht Schneider produced an amplitude diagram of Atmosphères, which impressively illustrates the total form of the work. Ligeti himself had said of it that it was to be realized “like a single, wide-flung arc”, with the individual sections fusing together. Beurmann and Schneider de-scribe its course as follows: “a delicate swaying in, an arrival out of nothing-ness, five areas of an extremely slow dynamic swelling and ebbing and then vanishing into nothingness, symbol of the title of this music, atmospheres, shrouds of air”155 (see Diagram 7156).

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DG 7 “Atmosphères”: amplitude diagram

At a first listening, Atmosphères perplexes by its novelty. It can be called a “classic” work of the New Music insofar as several specifics of the Ligetian music language appear here for the first time in full-blown form. The discov-eries in compositional technique that Ligeti made here proved to be promis-ing for the future. He had recourse to them repeatedly in his later works, all the while developing them further. A few examples may serve to illustrate the point. The “cystoscopic” sound image, for which Ligeti had a penchant, occurs for the first time in the seventh section of Atmosphères (mm. 33-39). This cluster field, constituted by four piccolo flutes, four oboes, four clarinets and four trumpets in extremely high register, sounds sharp and shrill. From this ex-treme height, the music plunges into extreme depth, as eight double basses in-tone an eight-tone cluster in fourfold forte tutta la forza (mm. 40 ff. 8th section, letter G). The effect is indescribable. Similar plunges are frequent in the “Dies Irae” of the Requiem.

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A favorite technique in Atmosphères is the overlapping of sound fields and sec-tions. While the double basses are still holding the extremely low eight-note cluster, the remaining strings (14 first violins, 14 second violins, 10 violas and 10 cellos) suddenly enter in fourfold piano (mm. 44-53, letters H and I). The highly complex 28-voice canon and the 20-voice mirror canon they perform provide an archetypal example of Ligeti’s celebrated micropolyphonic tech-nique 157. The brass field of the 14th section (mm. 58-65, letter M) deserves to be high-lighted because in its compactness it forms the summit of the work in terms of volume. The twelve-note cluster field constituted by the six horns, four trumpets, four trombones and the tuba commences in four-fold piano and swells in quick crescendo to fourfold forte. The use of the trumpets in ex-treme low register at this point is especially impressive – an ingenious timbre combination, which Ligeti will use again in the “Dies Irae” to dramatize the word (Tuba mirum spargens) sonum. As peculiar as it is original, again, is the “wind episode” (17th section, mm. 76-79, letters P and Q). According to a di-rection in the score, the brass players here are to “blow very softly” into their instruments “without producing a tone.” The noise effect here is thus com-posed in. We already noted that the 18th and 19th section (mm. 79-84) represent the type of mosaic-like texture. To be emphasized is the enormous differentiation in the playing techniques prescribed for the various string groups: at once with mute and without, on the fingerboard and at the bridge, sul tasto and col legno, gettato and legato. As a result, and because of the many tremolos, the lis-tener seems to hear a trembling on the surface of the sound. A special sound effect is reserved for the penultimate (more properly the last) section (mm. 88-102, letter T). Supported initially by flute, and toward the end by trom-bone and tuba, clusters, the 56 strings play exclusively flageolet glissandi. An immaterial quality clings to the flageolet clusters produced in this way, the unu-sual sound image evoking associations with music of the spheres – a type Li-geti had a soft spot for in later years as well.158 Atmosphères is dedicated to the memory of Mátyás Seibers. Seibers (b. 1905), a Hungarian composer and writer about music, who had emigrated to England in 1935, was killed in an accident on September 25, 1960 in Johannesburg, South Africa. His teacher Zoltán Kodály dedicated his Media vita in morte sumus for mixed chorus to him. Ligetyi felt obliged to Seibers, in part because he had championed him and helped him at a time of indigence after the emigra-tion. The dedication prompted Harald Kaufmann, who in 1962 broadcast a lecture about the piece on West German Radio Cologne, to engage in some

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speculations. Supported by conversations with Ligeti, he proposed the thesis that Atmosphères should be regarded as a secret requiem: “While composing the work, Ligeti in fact thought of the representation of a funeral mass within the material sphere. He wanted it to be imagined that a requiem is in progress quasi in the cellar, in a far distance, in the realm of the subliminal. Since there is no room for traditional musical form phenomena, the material texture must admit of associations that have points of contact with the associations accord-ing to the old requiem sequence.” Starting from this premise, Kaufmann thought he could identify passages in the structure of the piece that refer to parts of the Latin mass for the dead. The stationary cluster sound at the beginning reminded him of a distant murmuring of the Requiem aeternam. The narrowing of the frequency band in mm. 53/54 made him think of the beginning of the Dies irae. The bunching of all the brasses seemed to him a sound image of the Tuba mirum, the wonder-sounding trumpet. The place at which the chromatic cluster thins out into a diatonic one (69-74) he associated with the Agnus dei, dona eis requiem. And the “portal” of the narrowed frequency band, “after which fear reigns no more”, he thought he could read as a conciliatory Lacrimosa.159 Kaufmann’s views attracted widespread attention among critics. Erkki Sal-menhaara adopted them,160 and Ove Nordwall spoke of “an instrumental par-aphrase of the requiem mass.161 I asked Ligeti what he thought about these surmises. He replied that he did not think of any part of the funeral mass while conceiving the piece: Kauf-mann’s correlations and associations were wholly subjective. However, the peculiar restraint characterizing Atmosphères, he thought, did legitimate it as a commemorative composition. 2.5 Micropolyphony

“I called this type of composition micropolyphony because individual rhythmic processes in the polyphonic network dip below the line where they become blurred. The texture is so dense that the individual voices are no longer perceptible as such and only the fabric as a whole is apprehensible as a su-perordinate form.162

Among the compositional methods Ligeti developed, his micropolyphony is not only one of the most original but also the one most widely known. So it is all the more astonishing that neither the genesis nor the technical presupposi-tions of the procedure have been adequately explained to date. In his articles,

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Ligeti repeatedly mentioned his micropolyphony, but he did so rather general-ly and by the way. A closer study of Ligeti’s micropolyphonic structures reveals three peculiari-ties, which can at the same time clarify the differences from the traditional practice.

1. The basis of micropolyphony is the canonic manner of composing, that is to say, one and the same diastematic (melodic/intervallic) line under-lies the contrapuntal texture of the voices. But whereas in the tradition-al canonic technique the voices as a rule enter successively, in Ligeti they enter at the same time (although a parallel example can be found in early music history as well: in the so-called mensuration or proportion canons of the 15th century, all the voices also start simultaneously).

2. In the traditional canon, the rhythmic relations governing the basic me-lodic line remain the same in each of the imitating voices. In Ligeti, on the other hand, they are for the most part radically altered in such a way that no voice is like any other in a rhythmic respect. This, too, prevents the canonic process from being recognized as such in the hearing.

3. Whereas the traditional canon prefers two, three and four voices, the micropolyphonic textures in Ligeti favor an extreme number of voices. To put it more precisely: instead of the individual voices, we get whole blocks – dense voice combinations that are all treated canonically, the canon technique being frequently linked in ingenious ways with the cluster technique. The polyphonic procedure takes possession of every fiber of the extremely dense fabric and permeates the smallest detail. Ligeti coined the term micropolyphony to hint at the listener’s inability to register the subtleties of the polyphonic texture.

The earliest instance of the technique occurs in the second movement of Ap-paritions, in the section headed wild (mm. 25-37) – a 46-voice texture of the strings. The 12 divided first, and 12 divided second, violins, the violas, the cel-los and the double basses add up to five groups of voices, which are orga-nized strictly according to the technical principles outlined above. All of the voices enter simultaneously on the note g. The canonic structure, however, is not based on a single sequence of notes, but on four such sequences. Apart from a few exceptions, the first and second violins are structured according to a chromatically descending line. A mingled chromatic-diatonic ascending line furnishes the material for the canonic structuration of the violas, a third, like-wise diatonically-chromatically ascending line underlies the web of the cellos, and a fourth tonal sequence is recognizable in the pitch organization of the

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double basses. The canonic process within the individual groups is strictly regimented insofar as the intervallic relations remain unchanged. In point of rhythm, however, no voice equals another. As in Apparitions, the micropolyphony in Atmosphères is limited to a single sec-tion of the work, in this case to mm. 44-53. But the handling of the technique here is more artful, more consistent and, in a way, more unified. The mi-cropolyphonic fabric here consists of 48 voices, (14 first, and 14 second, vio-lins, 10 violas and 10 cellos) and is structured clearly as a canon and mirror canon. While the violins play a 28-voice strict canon, the violas and cellos ar-ray themselves into a 20-voice inverted mirror canon. That is to say, the mir-ror canon represents a faithful mirror image of the canon insofar as the se-quence of the underlying melodic line proceeds in the exact opposite direc-tion. Likewise as in Apparitions, all the voices of the micropolyphonic web enter simultaneously, but they do so not on the same note, but on all degrees of the chromatic scale. The intervallic relations of the cantus-firmus-like melody are again identical in all the voices of the giant canon, while the rhythmic propor-tions undergo significant modifications and are organized according to a dif-ferent principle. The complexity of the rhythmic organization, moreover, beggars description. Suffice it to say that the strings play at three different speeds: if the recital of the second violins and violas observes a quasi normal tempo (four counting units per half-measure), the cellos play more slowly and the first violins faster (three and five counting units per half-measure). The first of Ligeti’s works in which entire movements are structured accord-ing to the micropolyphonic method is the Requiem. The parts that are worked strictly micropolyphonically here are the “Introitus” and especially the “Kyrie Eleison” – a movement offering perhaps the most impressive example of this novel technique. Looking only at the vocal parts, this “Kyrie” is a 20-voice double fugue. Sopranos, mezzos, altos, tenors and basses form five vocal groups of four voices each, all of which are worked strictly canonically. Char-acteristically for the conception and the dense micropolyphonic structure of the movement, both underlying themes, the Kyrie and the Christe theme, enter simultaneously (Ex. 12). Both themes are based on twelve-tone rows, which, however, are treated not according to the strict principles of dodecaphonism but with remarkable freedom. Let us look more closely at the Christe theme. It appears not in a single form but in numerous variants and metamorphoses. Its characteristic interval sequence echoes the twelve-tone row of Luigi No-no’s cantata Il canto sospeso (1956). But how drastically it has been modified by Ligeti! Whereas Nono’s twelve-tone row is a so-called all-interval series (in

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Ligeti’s view only apparently so, since in reality it consisted of “the interpola-tion of two minor seconds tending in opposite directions”163), the diverse forms that Ligeti’s characteristic “row” assumes prefer the minor second – apart from the fact that Ligeti’s “row” does not contain either a major second or a perfect fifth (Ex. 13).

Ex. 12 Requiem: Simultaneousness of the Kyrie and Christe themes

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Ex. 13 Nono, All-interval row; Ligeti, Requiem with Christe entrances in the “Kyrie”

As one can see, Ligeti’s row comes about gradually: it is incomplete at first, consisting of only 9 or ten notes; only at the fourth entrance does it appear in complete form. Besides, Ligeti time and again changes the position of indi-vidual notes, thereby unhesitatingly violating both the rules of the Schönber-gian dodecaphonism and the principles of serialism. VII is an exact transposi-

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tion of VI, IX is the inversion of VII, and XI reveals itself as the retrograde inversion of IX. The development of Ligeti’s micropolyphonic technique was inspired in part by a study of Guillaume de Machaut and the old Netherlanders, especially Ockeghem. In a 1988 conversation with Detlef Gojowy, Ligeti stated that he was still profiting from his rigorous studies of counterpoint back in Buda-pest.164 Ockeghem’s polyphony, “in which no voice dominates but everything is in steady flux, like tumbling waves”, had been a model for him already in the Requiem. To all appearances he was strongly impressed, above all, by the prolation canon of the 14th and 15th century. He continued to speak enthusi-astically about compositions like Ciconia’s Le ray au soleil – characteristically a three-voice proportion canon. 2.6 Language and Music in the Requiem

“Oui, mon Requiem, mes Requiems ne sont pas liturgiques. Je ne suis pas catholique, je suis d’origine juive, mais je n‘ ap-partiens à aucune religion. Alors, j’ ai pris le texte du Requiem pour son imagination de l’ angoisse, de la peur de la mort, de la fin du monde.”165

“I think – but of course I may be wrong – that the Requiem, and above all the Dies irae, is the best I have composed thus far.”166

While Ligeti was working on the “Dies Irae” of his Requiem in December of 1964, he was in a state of euphoria: he had the feeling that he had created something significant. In a letter to Ove Nordwall, he called the work a turn-ing point in his creative career: “a kind of summation” of his “hitherto mode of composing”, and at the same time the exposition of something new. Hav-ing the idea in mind at the time of writing an opera, he was convinced that the “Dies irae” was seminal for future compositions, and that in the Requiem he had anticipated something of the dramatic art he hoped to realize later on in his opera. For that reason he regarded the Requiem “as a kind of dividing line between the hitherto pieces and the future ones.”167 Ligeti’s assessment proved accurate. The four-movement Requiem would become one of his most renowned works, and this for several reasons: the loftiness of its subject, the gigantic size of its instrumental apparatus (the score calls for two female solo-ists, ca. 200 vocalists and a grand orchestra), the novelty of its sonorities and its staggering expressivity. In February of 1989, Ligeti discussed some of his works at the Hamburg Mu-sic Academy. When he was asked why of all things he had chosen to set the

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text of the Catholic funeral mass to music, he replied that as a Jew and the son of an atheist he could not claim to have a particularly close relation to the Catholic Church. He had decided on the text mainly for two reasons. For one thing, he had a special fondness for the Dies Irae, Thomas of Celano’s cele-brated sequence. The apocalyptic quality of this poem of the 13th century, whose double stanzas he admired, had fascinated him ever since his youth, just as he always felt drawn to the representations of hell by Peter Brueghel and Hieronymus Bosch. For another, the persecution of Catholics in Hungary after World War II had deeply shocked him: he had drafted a requiem already in 1953. More than ten years were to pass before he was able to complete the projected oeuvre: he began to work on it in the summer of 1963 and did not complete the score until January of 1965. His Requiem does not include the entire text of the funeral mass but is limited to the Introitus, the Kyrie, the Dies Irae and the Lacrimosa, which latter is textually part of the Sequence but forms a separate movement in the compo-sition. The reasons for this limitation, as the composer himself explained, are musical ones: “the Sequence forms the central part, after which the Lacrimosa serves as an epilogue.” He could certainly have included additional parts of the mass, but he did not do so because he regarded the music of the half-hour work as a “complete, self-contained construction.”168 Of the Requiem’s four movements it can be said that structurally, as well as in terms of expression, they differ as decisively as possible from each other. Each has its own unmistakable physiognomy. Design, texture and character are entirely different, and each movement is governed by special principles of handling the language. In the above-mentioned letter to Nordwall, Ligeti threw out some interesting hints about the individual character of the move-ments. The “Introitus” and the “Kyrie”, he thought, continued from the type of Volumina and Atmosphères, though they developed it further by means of the counterpoint. The “Dies Irae”, on the other hand, represented a type re-lated to the Allegro Appassionato of Aventures, though definitely going be-yond it both technically and in terms of expression. The “Lacrimosa”, finally, – without chorus, written merely for two soloists and orchestra – functioned as a sort of epilogue, “very simple and tranquil.” When Ligeti began with the composition of the Requiem, the so-called speech composition was in topical fashion.169 Ever since Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Ge-sang der Jünglinge (Song of the Youths) – an epochal composition that premi-ered in Cologne in 1956 – several avant-garde-minded composers (among them Lucio Berio, Mauricio Kagel and Dieter Schnebel) took, in their vocal works, to demolishing the syntactic structure of language and to using lan-

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guage as purely phonetic material. They deliberately dispensed with textual in-telligibility and sought to partly strip language of its semantic function. Not yet satisfied, some composers went as far as to use neither texts, nor words, nor morphemes but only phonemes in their works. With his Aventures and Nouvelles aventures, Ligeti himself made two important contributions to the genre of “phone (or phoneme) composition” (Lautkomposition). His Requiem, to be sure, cannot be called “speech composition”, since its text is dismembered neither phonetically nor semantically. But although, owing to the extraordinarily dense musical structure, listeners for the most part will not be able to understand the words – Ligeti probably assumed that they would be familiar with the text of the Latin funeral mass anyway – it is important to note that the composer took care to translate the emotional content of the text into musical terms and to some extent let himself be stimulated by the suggestive images of the funeral mass. In doing so, he succeeded in achieving a unique amalgamation of language and music. Certain words of the liturgical text, moreover, he treated in such a way that they were clearly understandable. The Introitus expresses above all the pleas for eternal rest and eternal light, as well as for the prayers being heard and granted. Ligeti evidently let himself be guided musically by the idea of the lux perpetua, the eternal light to shine upon the dead, since he shaped the movement as a gradually brightening sequence ascending from the depth to the height. Beginning in the lowest register, the music systematically “rises” higher and higher. The sequence, which consists of micropolyphonically worked blocks, gradually conquers the middle pitch region and finally the high register. At first only the basses, divided into four groups, intone in the lowest register. Then the tenors and altos, each likewise divided into four groups, join in. A mezzo and a soprano solo, entering im-perceptibly in mm. 50/51, introduce the final section, which is reserved to an eight- and a twelve-voice women’s chorus. Thus the extraordinarily dark tim-bre of the beginning gradually lightens up. What is novel is the fact that the brightening of the sound is brought about not by the usual tone-painting means but by the disposition of the tonal material. The application of the micropolyphonic technique makes it inevitable that the text for the most part remains unintelligible, since, owing to the dense struc-ture, different vowels are sung simultaneously. There are two exceptions to this, however: in mm. 14-16 and 45/46, two solo basses, like Tibetan monks, declaim in lowest register the words Domine […] exaudi orationem meam – the only words of the Introitus that the listener can really understand.

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Compared with the “Introitus”, the “Kyrie Eleison” is greatly intensified, both tonally and in terms of expressiveness, tending, as it does, to the colos-sal. Thus the chorus, maximally twelve-voiced in the “Introitus”, here thick-ens to twenty voices. Powerful effects issue from the two themes, the Kyrie and the Christe theme, which, though treated in the manner of a multi-voiced double fugue, enter simultaneously at the start. If the Christe theme is distin-guished by prominent intervals, the Kyrie theme, as the movement progresses, is increasingly endowed with chromatic features. The contrapuntal intertwin-ing of the two theme complexes under the micropolyphonic banner leads to an excessive, potentiated chromaticism, one could well say a kind of hyper-chromaticism that constitutes an absolute non plus ultra. One seems to hear myriads of trembling voices. It is no wonder that Kubrick used this music as a background for his cosmic film. The movement is likewise remarkable for its dynamics and its manner of per-formance generally. Whereas the dynamics of the Introitus never leaves the piano sphere, the music here traverses every volume degree from fourfold pi-ano to fourfold forte. Swelling and subsiding waves define the picture. Cre-scendos and diminuendos take constant turns, and since the vocal groups en-ter successively thanks to the fugal technique, the waves tumble over each other. Spatial effects also result from the fact that the Kyrie theme is to be in-toned at first pianissimo and espressivo, while the Christe theme is to be per-formed pppp non espressivo and in the background. Later on, this order is frequent-ly being departed from, at times even stood on its head. Of all the movements of the Requiem, the “Kyrie” attains to the greatest densi-ty and tonal fullness. The entire tonal range and tonal volume are enlisted. Although the crescendos at times (mm. 78, 84 and 88) conduct to ecstatic climaxes and then suddenly break off (“as if torn off”), there are no real rup-tures in the macro-texture, since these breaks happen only in individual voice groups and never in all of them simultaneously: despite these local discontinu-ities, the listener receives an impression of continuity, that of an uninterrupt-edly flowing polyphonic current of sound. In a lecture given in 1965 in Jyväskylä, Finland, Ligeti pointed out that during his work on this movement Johann Sebastian Bach’s eight-voice motet Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (Sing a New Song unto the Lord, BWV 225) had been in his mind as the concept of a great contrapuntal form.170 It needs to be stated emphatically that Ligeti’s “Kyrie Eleison” occupies a preeminent position in the history of requiem composition. Never before has the supplication for mercy been given musical expression with such poignan-cy.

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A word still on pitch organization: in a letter of February 9, 1970, to Harald Kaufmann, Ligeti made some important remarks about the sequence in which the Kyrie and Christe themes enter in the Requiem.

If you write out these individual notes, the result is a melodic line that contains the twelve notes twice over and whose second half is [the] inversion of the first (except for the exchange of two notes in the sec-ond half); there is a constructive reason for this, but it would be too complicated to describe that here.171

A closer study of the score indeed reveals fairly complicated relations. There are 12 Kyrie and 11 Christe entrances (at the beginning of the movement, the Kyrie and the Christe theme enter synchronously). If we compile the notes of the altogether 22 entrances, we get the following succession: Mm. 1 7 13 18 23 25 29 33 40 44 45 bb a ab b g f# c c# f d e 60 61 61 79 82 83 86 89 91 94 102 d# f d g gb db c ab bb a b As one can readily see, the opening notes of the first twelve entrances form a twelve-tone row that, transposed, agrees exactly with the tonal material of the ninth entrance of the Christe theme (cf. Ex. 13, p. 93). The connection to that row of the ten remaining entrance notes, on the other hand, remains unclear. About the “Dies Irae” Ligeti wrote to Nordwall that it was “very dramatic and rich in contrasts” and should be sung with great verve and expressivity. Of critical importance for any discussion of the movement are the sketches that Salmenhaara has published.172 The notes and key words of which they consist strike one at times like stage directions for an imaginary opera. These notations once again convey an impression of Ligeti’s synaesthetic endow-ment. Musical matters and technical terms are paralleled to psychic states, emotions, spatial perceptions and individual pictures. The key terms Fear”, “hysterical nervosity”, “persecution.” “panic”, “terror and swarming”, “blows [or “strokes”] and emptiness, “hallucinations and entreaties” are particularly characteristic of Ligeti’s conception. Taken together, they offer a “modern”, psychologizing exegesis of Thomas of Celano’s famous poem, inspiration to countless painters and musicians. Discontinuity, dissociation and deep ruts caused by extreme contrasts are throughout inscribed in this composition. The art of contrast, dramatically

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heightened, takes hold of every dimension of compositional technique. It ex-tends to the organization of pitches as well as to the durational level, to com-positional style as well as to changes in tone coloration. Extreme contrasts be-tween high and low, wide and narrow, slow and fast, loud and soft, light and dark, whispers and shrieks, homophony and polyphony, choral singing and solo parts shape the physiognomy of the movement. And it is only fitting with this concept that especially dense, musically eventful passages are fre-quently followed by episodes of appalling “emptiness”, to use one of Ligeti’s own favorite expressions. The relation between language and music in the “Dies Irae” must be called an extremely complex one. The musical setting is again such that the text re-mains generally unintelligible – with all the more importance accruing to the occasional text fragments that are to be articulated clearly. Language is de-familiarized in numerous ways: by speaking hastily; by excessive stretching out of individual words and syllables; by polytexture (simultaneous recital of dif-ferent verses); finally by “splitting up”, i.e., the distribution of individual sylla-bles of a word over different voices. The rather odd thing here is that the dis-tant models Ligeti sought to orient himself by in the “Dies Irae” are evidently the Passion and sacred plays generally. Any discussion of the movement should start from the fact that in the pub-lished drafts Ligeti distinguished between a “main layer”, two “contrast lay-ers” and individual “objects” within the structure of the composition. A close study of the score will in fact reveal several levels of style and expression. A first level is constituted by the choruses, which are set after the manner of the turbae. Turba means tumult, crowd, people. One seems to be hearing a screaming multitude. The text is uttered in such a hurry that one cannot un-derstand a single word. The expression mark at the beginning of the move-ment reads “Molto agitato, mit größter Aufregung [with extreme agitation].” In the sketches, Ligeti characterized this level with the catchwords “Choruses: turbae, ffff, large leaps (possibly inexact), wild exaggerated, swinging, menac-ing.” Extremely brisk rhythms, large interval leaps and multiple fortes are in-deed the stylistic characteristics of these choruses. Ligeti reserved this manner of composition for those sections of the text that describe the general mood of the Last Judgment, primarily for the stanzas:

Dies irae, dies illa, Solvet saeclum in favilla: Teste David cum Sibylla. Quantus tremor est futurus, Quando judex est venturus,

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Cuncta stricte discussurus! Liber scriptus proferetur, In quo totum continetur, Unde mundus judicetur. (Judex ergo cum se-)debit, Quidquid latet apparebit: Nil inultum remanebit. Juste judex ultionis, Donum fac remissionis ante diem rationis.

Hieronymus Bosch, “Hell”

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A second layer in the “Dies Irae” is represented by the two female soloists, a so-prano and a mezzo, who invite comparison with the soliloquists of the Baroque passion. Typical for them is, above all, the sequence of, in part, extremely high and extremely low notes, which are either uttered very fast and in haste (noteworthy here is the expression mark con paura [with dread, fearfully] in mm. 79, 84 and 107) or else held strikingly long. The abrupt change of register creates the impression of the music being “chopped” – a device faintly reminiscent of the medieval hocket. Ligeti’s notes on this stylistic/expressive level in the drafts read: “Solo: agitated, dramatic, frequent climaxes presaging evil, jumbled, ffff. Hocket, even syllabically. Large intervals.”

Shock-like effects follow one on the heels of the other over large stretches of the “Dies Irae.” Unexpected turns stun the listener and keep him in constant suspense. Thus the very hurried “speaking” of the first turba chorus issues in a long-held sharply dissonant dyad of the bassoons, horns, trombones and tuba on the contra-B-flat and the contra-A (m. 11). Then the mezzo soprano enters sinistro and minacci-oso with the “Tuba mirum”, the text being at first mercilessly “chopped up”: while the syllables “Tuba mi-” are held long, the remaining syllables, “-rum, spargens sonum” are to be recited molto vehemente and presto. Ligeti, by the way, did not miss the opportunity of dramatizing the word “sonum” musically by means of fanfare-like runs of the brasses (trumpets, trombones and tuba). In a letter to Harald Kaufmann, he pointed out that “the especially dark and baleful sound” at this point was due above all to four trumpets in lowest register – “a sound color combination never tried out before.”173

A third level in the “Dies Irae” consists of the lines that are to be articulated clearly: the “Mors stupebit et natura / cum resurget creatura” and the “Rex tremendae majestatis / qui salvandos salvas gratis.” Something impersonal, oracular, mystical adheres to both of these passages, and both have in common the syllabic declama-tion of the text by the chorus. Yet how differently are the two passages shaped, and what a degree of complexity does the treatment of the language attain to!

The “Mors stupebit”, to begin with, is to be recited pianissimo (first syllable sffpp) and sotto voce in a whispering tone. “The word Mors”, Ligeti notes in the score, “is to be recited with great force, like a strongly breathed, hoarse outcry. With stupebit fol-lows the actual sotto voce; but even in the pp the whispering is to remain very in-tense.” In spite of the voicelessness (breathed = much air, little tone), the text is to be clearly understandable. After a relatively brief but quite intense crescendo, the sec-tion closes in fourfold forte, with the last syllable of the word creatura to be pro-nounced voce ordinario. The “Mors stupebit” is, moreover, superimposed by the in-tonation of the verses “coget omnes ante thronum”, whose melody is distributed

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syllable by syllable over diverse voices – an impressive example of both polytexture and splitting up.

The “Rex tremendae majestatis” follows a very different course. At the start, the chorus intones the word “Rex” “with full force” and “quasi shouting” in fourfold forte. Bit by bit the volume then decreases. For the words “qui salvandos salvas” sotto voce poco a poco is prescribed. But with the last two syllables (“gratis”), the voice is to nearly fade away (whispering tone). As a kind of counterpoint to this very dif-ferentiated scanning, the soprano soloist initially recites the “Quid sum miser” in an extremely “choppy” manner – as being in great terror – and then, at the “recordare,” describes zigzag-like, wide-spanned melodic lines.

A fourth level of style and expression, finally, is constituted by passages worked ac-cording to the polyphonic web technique. I am referring to the “salve me, fons pietatis!” and the “Oro supplex et acclinis / cor contritum quasi crinis, / gere curam mei finis – two widely separated, prayer-like passages assigned to the twelve-voice women’s chorus. Whereas the “salve me” begin in a fourfold piano and rises up to threefold forte, the “Oro supplex” is to be recited ppp sempre, quasi lontano (from afar) and “restrained.” With this passage, the “Dies Irae” ends.

The more attentively one listens to the movement, the firmer one’s impression grows that its unique drama results from the intensity of the contrasts and from the recurring alternation between the stylistic and expressive levels I have described.

The concluding “Lacrimosa”, functioning as an epilogue, is scored only for the two soloists and for an orchestra reduced to chamber-music dimension. The chorus falls silent. In his sketches, Ligeti made the following notes for this movement:

After the great tutti, two soloists are by themselves again, over an in-different emptiness (initially without accompaniment, then faint fl[ute], cl[arinet] or something comparable) 2 solos, Lacrimosa. Low, calm, muted part procession or chorale (episode). Possibly to be grouped according to timbres: low drums (or bass drum) trombones, horns and tubas (W[agner]-tuba and cb [contrabass]-tuba). Dreamlike transformation of the complicated masses, purification, transition to a weak swinging (1-3, 1-2).

A close look at the score will reveal that many of these ideas were realized. Thus the movement commences with a pedal point of three double basses on the low C-sharp. Later, two piccolos and a flute join “softly.” This sound im-age evokes “emptiness”, a vacuum. Even later (at letter F), we come upon the muted part of the sketches: a relatively short passage of muted strings.

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Compared with the “Kyrie” and the “Dies Irae”, the far simpler relations of the “Lacrimosa” are particularly striking. Ligeti regarded the latter as an act of purification. The movement therefore, which is dipped in delicate tints, moves entirely on the piano level. Particularly characteristic of the conception is that fact that the litany-like duet of the soloists repeatedly issues in pure consonances: perfect fifths and perfect octaves. In the previously cited lecture at the Hamburg Music Academy, Ligeti shared a further piece of information that deserves our attention He indicated that there were considerable similarities between the “Dies Irae” of the Requiem and his opera Le Grand Macabre, man’s fear of the end being the subject of both works – except that in Le Grand Macabre the theme was treated in an ironic manner. Our discussion of the relation between language and music in the Requiem has shown that, apart from some passages, the text is unintelligible. Even so, the music is able to translate the gesture of the language and to communicate very suggestively diverse psychic states such as supplication, horror, anxiety and dismay. In addition, the several clearly articulated text fragments – the words “Domine, exaudi orationem meam” in the “Introitus” and the “Mors stupebit” and “Rex tremendae majestatis” in the “Dies Irae” – act like signals evoking associations of existential exigency, of death, judgment and prayer. Ernst Bloch said of the music of the great requiem settings that it procured, not aesthetic pleasure, but shock and consternation. Although for nearly two centuries the ecclesiastical text of death and damnation has no longer been believed by most people, he noted, it continued to be alive in the music, which had a profound understanding of Ends.174 To support his thesis, Bloch cited the requiem masses by Mozart, Cherubini, Berlioz and Verdi. To this il-lustrious company one will be permitted to add also Ligeti’s Requiem. 2.7 Lux aeterna

“Like Apparitions in 1958, Lux aeterna of 1966 is again a cor-ner-stone in my work.”175

“With this piece, the mode of composing in ‘total chromati-cism’ has been transcended.”176

After the completion of the Requiem in January of 1965 (the world premiere of this monumental work took place in Stockholm on March 14, 1965), Ligeti turned to other projects: in December of 1965, he was able to complete the Nouvelles Aventures. Even so, the parts of the mass that he had not composed seem to have continued to occupy him. Especially the communio of the funeral

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mass and the idea of the “eternal light” expressed in it must have affected him. When Clytus Gottwald made him an offer to write a piece for the Stuttgart Schola Cantorum, he did not hesitate long. In July and early August of 1966, he wrote the Lux aeterna for sixteen-voice a cappella chorus. Lux aeterna represents not only a new but an important step in Ligeti’s com-positional development. In this work he succeeded in overcoming the chro-maticism and the counterpoint reigning in the “Kyrie eleison” of his Requiem and in once again, after a long time, opening up a new harmonic dimension for his music. Because of this innovation, he regarded Lux aeterna, also in view of Lontano, as a prototypical work.177 In studying the work, it becomes clear that, along with canonically worked portions, there are homophonically conceived passages, which Ligeti called “stationary” sounds or “harmonies.” Importantly, however, these so very dif-ferent parts are not simply juxtaposed but flow into each other. An original technique of transformation is at work here: from complexly fashioned ca-nonic parts, which, viewed harmonically, form clusters, by and by stationary sounds crystallize out, from which, in turn, canonic formations containing clusters develop. Listening to the piece, one obtains the impression that dif-fuse sound images alternate with harmonically smooth expanses: cluster-containing material morphs into consonance-like harmonies and vice versa.

FS 7 Lux aeterna: Ligeti’s construction plan (first publication)

In his introduction to the piece, Ligeti spoke of “harmonic” sound complexes and more or less chromatically “muddied” sound expanses and commented:

One could compare this process to a stage set that at first is clear to sight in all its details, but then a mist arises, and the contours of the set become indistinct, until finally the set itself has become invisible;

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then the fog dissolves, new contours emerge at first only in vague out-lines, until, the mist having dissipated, a new image appears178.

Visual ideas are thus likely to have played a role in the conception of this iri-descent piece. Brightness and clouding are optical associations that will occur also to the listener. Perhaps because it is one of Ligeti’s most popular pieces, Lux aeterna has been discussed repeatedly.179 Of fundamental relevance for any analysis, however, is Ligeti’s construction plan, which here is published for the first time (Facsimile 7). Upon close inspection, the ten sections into which it is divided reveal them-selves as marking the various tonal fields. Formally, however, the piece actual-ly divides into four parts, each of which commences with a canon, which is then followed by a “stationary” sound. At the start of the third part (exactly in the middle of the composition), the beginning of the new canon and the “sta-tionary” sound coincide. The following rough formal division may facilitate a first orientation: Section I mm. 1-37 Female voice complex mm. 24-37 a1-a2 held by the sopranos and tenors: luceat mm. 37-41 Domine invocation of bass falsetto (quasi eco) Section II Mm. 39-61 Complex of male voices Section III Mm. 61-90 Tutti, then from m. 80 male voices only Mm. 87-92 second Domine invocation Section IV Mm. 90-119 Female and male voices, at the end only alto voices Mm. 94-102 b1-b2 held by sopranos and tenors: luceat The stationary sounds deserve our special attention because they serve as formal piers that clarify the overall course of the work. What is striking, to begin with, is that in three places (mm. 24 ff., 61 ff. and 94 ff.) Ligeti uses oc-taves. If we ask why he would resort to the most perfect consonance in a composition that has nothing in common with tonal music, we should note

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the high pitch of the tone in two of the places and its brightening quality: the word luceat is thereby underlined semantically. Quasi-consonantal in effect in this environment are also the thirds-seconds sounds f#1-a1-b1 (m. 37), b2-a2-f#2 (mm. 94-102) and g1-bb1-c2 (m. 61), as well as the related second-third sound e-g-a in m. 87. The quasi-stenographic notation of the canonic parts with the conspicuous arrow-like lines indicates the gradual formation of the clusters, from the first note (or notes) to the final sound. Ligeti’s very informative construction plan also helps us to realize that the suddenly entering tutti sound in m. 61 divides the piece, which consists of 119 bars, in two nearly identical halves, between which numerous symmetries ob-tain, without there being any question of an exact mirror-symmetric disposi-tion. Several things in this context are worth noting: the piece begins on the note f1 and closes on the dyad f/g; to the highly pitched luceat in Part I (mm. 24 ff.), an even higher exclamation corresponds in part II (mm. 94 ff.); in both parts a Domine invocation occurs in the form of a stationary sound (mm. 37-41 and 87-92); and the third-second sound f#1-a1b1 of the first part (m. 37) recurs in the second, except transposed an octave higher (m. 100). Opinions are divided on the meaning of the Lux aeterna. Clytus Gottwald in-terpreted the work in light of Dieter Schnebel’s call for a “negative sacred music” demanded by our time, and thought that the eternal light in the piece appeared as “vanishing,” “as a curtain that, withdrawn, opens the view to the true eternity, that of suffering.”180 Hans Michael Beuerle, by contrast, held that the Lux aeterna, “like all works aimed at autonomy”, was “affirmative”, not, indeed, in terms of dogma and liturgy, yet in terms of its text.181 In my view, the decisive factor for Ligeti was his poetico-musical conception: the vi-sion of the changeable light, occasionally flashing up, but for the most part shining rather dimly. It is indicative that the composition is kept throughout in the piano and pianissimo sphere. The differentiation of the music is achieved not by dynamic means but by the spatial disposition of the sound and by the unique fluctuation of the harmony. 2.8 Continuum

“As Maurits Escher sought the illusion of a non-existing per-spective, so I seek the illusion of unplayed rhythmic struc-tures.”182

Ligeti commanded a profound knowledge of the tonal and technical peculiari-ties of individual instruments. All of his instrumental works are suitable to the instruments used in both conception and execution, and that goes for the keyboard works as well as for the chamber music, and of course for all the

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concertos. About his Continuum, composed in January of 1968, he wrote to his friend Ove Nordwall in February that “technically” it was “invented entirely from the possibilities of the harpsichord” and was to be played on two manu-als in the same position183. In a listener coming from traditional music and hearing the piece for the first time, Continuum might create the impression of a perpetuum mobile. In any event, it represents the type of “mechanical” music. The sketches indeed in-clude the note “like a precision mechanism”, and Ligeti in fact initially thought of entitling the piece “Mechanismus” but then called it Continuum. A continuum in mathematics is a continuous geometric construct created by the connection of numerous points, such as a line or a circle. It is very likely that in settling on the definitive title Ligeti had this mathematical concept in mind: in the quoted letter to Nordwall he compares the plucking of the strings to “points” that fuse into lines. In the printed edition, Ligeti writes about the piece:

Prestissimo = extremely fast so that the individual notes are hardly perceptible any longer but fuse into a continuum. To be played very evenly without any articulation. The correct tempo will have been at-tained if the piece (without the final pause) takes less than four minutes. The vertical dotted lines are not bar lines (there is no beat or meter) but only serve for orientation.

The remark not only is important for the recital but also provides insight into the conception and character of the piece. The sketch also has the note: “The legato comes about in that the keys remain depressed during the next notes and [are] let up only when necessary for the new [?] stroke.” This direction was suppressed in the edition, but Ligeti wrote to Nordwall: “The sounding together of the strings (direction: key to be left depressed until the same fin-ger is needed again) creates the impression of continuity.”184 Ligeti’s calculations as to the length of play in the sketches are instructive. Both there and in the printed edition the orienting “bars” comprise 16 notes (strokes) each. The piece was initially conceived with four seconds for 48 = 3 x 16 strokes (thus 12 strokes per second) in mind. Accordingly the duration of the piece was to be 4’32”. The definitive direction prescribes an even shorter recital length: “less than four minutes.” To attain that, the pianist must manage to play 14 strokes per second. Continuum has no rests or breaks. Nevertheless, latent caesuras enable one to detect a division into four parts:185

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first part mm. 1-56 second part mm. 57-91 third part mm. 92-152 fourth part mm. 153-204 While the first two parts make a rather static impression in spite of the unin-terrupted figuration, the third part is dynamically agitated: the two hands begin in the middle position and move quasi chromatically in opposite direc-tions. The last part stays in the highest register and ends abruptly. Beginning with Continuum, Ligeti distanced himself from his micropolyphony and its highly complex rhythmic structures and gives artistic expression to a different idea: that of a simple and uniform rhythm. The principle according to which the piece is constructed is that of an ostinato repetition and gradual transformation of figures comprising from two to eight notes, which are played on both manuals. There are passages where both hands concurrently play figures of two, three, four, five, six or eight notes, and others where fig-ures of different length are counterpointed. For example, in mm. 13/14, the right hand plays a three-note, the left a two-note figure. In mm. 15/16, three-note figures appear in both voices, but in a characteristically off-set manner. In m. 17, a three-note figure (right) is combined with a four-note one (left), and in mm. 218-20, a four- with a five-note one (Ex. 14). As one can see, the notation is grid-like, and in fact Ligeti called the technique of the simultane-ous combination of differently structured figures “Gitterüberlagerung” or “grid superimposition.”

Ex. 14 Continuum: Grid superimposition

For a different example, in a number of places, the same figure is played by both hands but in quasi canonic displacement (Ex. 15).

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Ex. 15 Continuum: Grid superimposition

Ligeti professed an aesthetic of the illusionary: he had a soft spot for deceptions, both in visual art and in music. He prized the prints of Maurits Cornelis Escher above all on account of their optical deceptions. He once observed about this artist:

Aesthetically, I do not even regard him as so great an artist, but in terms of his ideas and their executions he is akin to me. My way of working with constructions that yet are not mathematics, with geo-metric and arithmetic divisions, nets, grids – they resemble his way of working. As he sought the illusion of non-existing perspectives, so I seek the illusion of not-played rhythmic structures. But I found pat-terns of rhythmic illusion long before I ever knew Escher – already in my piece for a hundred metronomes or in Continuum (1968).186

M. C. Escher, “Upstairs and downstairs”, detail: (re Ligeti’s aesthetics of the illusionary)

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Continuum indeed yields impressive examples of acoustic deceptions. One illusion-ary effect is the manner in which motion, despite the extreme speed, seems to pass over into stasis: in several places one seems to hear slowly changing, densely struc-tured clusters. No less remarkable is the fact that, along with the real motion, the impression of an “ideal” motion often makes itself felt, which, in Ligeti’s words, “results from the tonal superposition, like two billowing motions that are alternate-ly coincident with and displaced against each other.”187 Thus the motion in mm. 125-149 lets the “ideal melody”, formed of the high crest notes g2 – g#2 – a2 – a#2 – b2 – c#3 flash up, while the corresponding counter-motion in the bass suggests a melody formed of the low keel notes f – e – eb – d – c#. Ligeti may have been quite surprised when he read Gerhard Kubik’s account of inherent tonal sequences and melodies in Central-Africa music,188 since numerous such patterns are concealed in his own harpsichord piece.

Like Lux aeterna, Continuum is a key work for Ligeti’s compositional development. The direction he entered upon with this piece he continued to pursue in subse-quent compositions for the piano, for example in the second of the Three Pieces for Two Pianos of 1976. Even the tricky polyrhythmics and polymetrics of the Piano Etudes, it would be no exaggeration to say, are rudimentarily preformed already in the Continuum. 2.9 New Conceptions of the Concertante: Notes on the Cello Concerto

“The entire construction of the music, on the other hand, is shaped in a concertante manner.”189

Looking over the repertoire of instrumental concerti composed in the 20th century, one will find numerous variants of the genre: next to concertos that revive Baroque practices and those that pay homage to Romantic or neo-Romantic ideals, there are others that are oriented on serialism or sound composition (Klangkomposition).190 Bernd Alois Zimmermann articulated the view of many of his fellow composers when he wrote that in concert pieces of the ‘sixties there should be no longer any question of concertare, of any “contest of the soloist or soloists for the palm of virtuosity.” Even so he spoke of the undiminished “fascination” emanating “from the instrumentalist and his play, and not least from his instrument.” In conceiving his cello con-certo, he, Zimmermann, had had “a stronger mutual pervasion of the former opponents” (soloist and orchestra) in mind.191 Ligeti wrote his much-played Cello Concerto between July and December of 1966 for Siegfried Palm. In a commentary, he set great store by a clear under-standing that the piece was not in keeping with the Romantic type of the symphonic concerto. Neither should the concerto character of the piece be

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interpreted “as though the solo cello and the orchestra were two separate units confronting each other in competition and contrast.” He thought it im-portant to state that the concertante character permeated “the entire con-struction of the music.” However, he defined the relation between soloist and orchestra as follows:

Ever new instrumental groupings continue to reticulate the motions, with the solo cello steadily serving as the foundation of the varying in-strumental combinations; beyond that, it also stands out in virtuoso voice-leading as concertante principal instrument, although its unity with the orchestral happening remains always in effect.192

The premiere took place in Berlin on April 19, 1967. Some of the attending critics wondered about the conspicuous disproportion between the enormous difficulty of the work and the acoustic result. Thus Hans Heinz Stuck-enschmidt opined:

The solo cello, to be sure, becomes the pedestal for a monument of the most cunning virtuosity; a player of less skill than Siegfried Palm would have to despair before such a parade of finger-technical, into-national and dynamic artistry. Yet his feats are built into the total sound in such a way as to stand out very little. We see a man evidently performing trapeze acts of cello play without his efforts becoming re-ally audible.193

This impression is apt to arise if one associates concerts with an expectation of a music of maximal bravura and occasional noisiness. There is in fact noth-ing pompous and nothing conventionally affirmative about Ligeti’s Cello Con-certo. The piece is “poetic” music through and through. Both beginnings and conclusions of its two movements are altogether unusual. Thus the work opens with an extremely soft, all but endlessly held note of the solo cello (its entrance is to be “inaudible”, “as if coming out of nothingness”), and it closes with a highly original “whisper cadence” that disappears back into nothing-ness. The music often conveys the impression of coming from far away. Its domain is the piano and pianissimo sphere. In the first movement that sphere is practi-cally never left. Some interjections in three- or even fourfold forte do occur in the second movement, but they strike one as somehow exterritorial: the piano level dominates here as well. Whispering, a murmuring, whisper-like music is the mark of the Cello Concerto. On the soloist’s “whisper cadence”, with which the work closes, Ligeti re-marked in the score (p. 48): “sempre prestissimo, quasi perpetuum mobile (no

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slowing down to the end!); various pitches to be stopped on strings III and IV, but to be played tonelessly.” Numerous passages in the second move-ment, in which the instrumentalists execute sixteenths and thirty-seconds fig-urations pianissimo, have a whispering effect. And, of course, tremolando, trill- and flautando-like passages likewise contribute to the whispering effect. A bisbi-gliando is explicitly prescribed twice for the harp: once in the first movement (mm. 18-20), and once in the second (mm. 37/38). There are indications that in conceiving his whisper-like music, Ligeti was in-fluenced by Alban Berg, who in the Allegro misterioso of his Lyric Suite of 1925/26 had created an archetype of this genre.194 The following passage from a letter to Ove Nordwall of February 7, 1967, clearly refers to that: “In the instrumentation you will, more than hitherto, find traces of my preoccu-pation with Alban Berg (although the music itself has hardly anything to do with Berg, certainly it lacks any kind of pathos or romanticism […].”195 In the same letter, Ligeti tells Nordwall that the concerto was originally planned as a single movement and divided into 27 seamlessly merging sec-tions. In composing, however, he wrote, the form changed: one of the sec-tions became independent and now formed the first, slow movement, where-as the remaining 26 sections formed the second. He added that the music of the first movement was akin to the Atmosphères-Volumina-Lux aeterna type, as well as to the “Lacrimosa” from the Requiem, whereas in the 26 sections of the second movement he thought he could detect “instrumental” Aventures.196 An outstanding trait of the Cello Concerto is its transparency. the work’s cham-ber music-like character is prominent throughout. All of the instrumentalists are treated like soloists – the cello soloist is only primus inter pares – and all ha-ve to contend with exorbitant technical difficulties, especially in the second movement, where virtuoso play is foregrounded. At the same time, however, virtuosity is nowhere flaunted. Cadence-like figurations are given not only to the cello soloist but also to other instrumentalists, such as the trombonist, the bassoonist, the hornist, the trumpeter and finally the double basssist (2nd movement, mm. 44-49). On p. 32, the score has the following remark:

The entrances of the figures are metrically fixed, but after their en-trance, the figures are played independently of the meter and the bar limits, independently also of the other instruments, as fast as possible, quasi flitting away, with the rhythm of the figures not having to be ab-solutely even but, depending on the playing technique, small rhythmic irregularities being permitted to occur.

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A further important aspect of the work’s conception is that most of the virtu-oso and capriccioso passages seem like improvisations, although everything is notated down to the last detail, and that in some places the players seem to lose their self-control and to break out into playing “wild” (first in mm. 50-57 of the second movement). Each time, however (as in mm. 57-66), these “wild” eruptions are followed by retarding sections that are “mechanically precise.” A listener interested in the specifics of Ligeti’s tonal language of the ‘sixties will discover several characteristics in the Cello Concerto. These, to name only a few, include, in the first movement, the abruptly entering five-octave unison of the strings (mm. 36 ff.), the “cystoscopic” accumulation of dissonances in a high register (mm. 49-54), and the suggestive sound image of the vacuum (mm.54-63) of which we spoke earlier;197 and in the second movement, the technique of the strongly interferential mobile clusters (mm. 1-8 and 28-30), the quasi-ethereal flageolet passage (mm. 28-33), the above-mentioned repeated alternation between “wild”, extremely forceful stretches and indifferent, me-chanically precise” ones (mm. 50-66), and finally the prescribed “absolute si-lence” at the end.

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2.10 On the Three Pieces for Two Pianos “The three pieces are connected, they add up to a self-contained, if loosely joined whole. There are corresponden-ces, quasi formal rhymes, in the construction of the individual pieces. All three begin with the exposition of a relatively sim-ple musical idea, which then unfolds in the direction of in-creasing complexity. They are not genuine developmental forms, however, a motive-thematic conception is altogether lacking, yet the forming processes are not static or open, ei-ther: they have a clear direction, and the formal construction is self-contained. I propose the terms unfolding form or mo-tion form for this sort of forms: specific types of motion are steadily transformed, more and more ramified and interwo-ven with each other.”

“The playing is done exclusively on the keys, the givens of the piano and of the hands are incorporated into the music, as in Scarlatti, Schumann, Chopin (this solely from a pianistic point of view: stylistically, the pieces have very little to do with the traditional piano music – only in the third piece are there some allusions to Schumannesque and Brahmsian Ro-manticism).”198

Among Ligeti’s compositions, the Three Pieces for Two Pianos stand out in terms of both bulk and weight. Written between February and April of 1976 for the Brothers Kontarsky, they were premiered in Cologne on May 15, 1976. The composer furnished them with an introduction, which was repeatedly reprint-ed. The following remarks take it into account but are primarily the results of analysis. Like the Continuum, these three pieces, too, are invented out of the “spirit” of the instrument: Ligeti utilizes several tonal possibilities resulting from the in-terplay of two pianos. The three pieces, which bear suggestive titles, are as different as imaginable in character. Each is based on its own structural idea, and each harbors a specific, unmistakable expression. At the same time, there are relations, analogies and commonalities between them: each one represents a manifestation of that original formal idea for which Ligeti proposed the terms “Entfaltungsform” or “Bewegungsform” (unfolding or motion form). The idea is connected with the “weaving technique” so immensely character-istic of Ligeti’s music, that is, the procedure of modifying microstructures and motion types so slowly that the impression of continuity is created in the lis-tener.

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About the first piece (”Monument”) Ligeti stated that the “principal technical task” in it was the differentiation of the dynamic values.

At the start of the piece, there are only two levels of volume: ff and f; but as it progresses, other levels or layers are added: mf, mp, p and pp. These dynamic levels are fixed, there are neither crescendos nor di-minuendos, and the different layers are simultaneously present: the ff, for example, is linked to two specific recurrent pitches (these pitches then change in time, but always in such a way that one can follow the “wandering” of the ff), the same goes for the f, etc. In close succes-sion and abruptly, the pianists play ff, p, f, mp, pp, etc., in ever chang-ing permutation, but for the listener all the ff’s appear as one layer, all f’s as a second layer (lying quasi behind it), all the way to the “hind-most” pp layer. In a precise realization of the dynamic differentiation, the music appears as if it were three-dimensional, like a hologram standing in an imaginary space. This spatial illusion lends a stationary, immobile character (= Monument) to the music.

Besides the dynamic differentiation, the rhythmic one likewise plays a promi-nent role. The first piano begins with an octave sound, which is repeated thir-teen times at regular intervals. It is followed by a two-note cell, which is re-peated in diverse rhythms and is then expanded to a three-note cell. The sec-ond piano enters later and “imitates” what the first is playing on different de-grees, so that at length constantly changing six-tone fields are presented by the two pianos. Since the first pianist plays in four-fourth, the second in six-eighth time and the cells are constantly rhythmicized in new ways, the result is the most intricate polyrhythm imaginable. The piece evokes a spatial illusion as well as the impression of hammering, building and growing. Thus “Monu-ment” resembles a study in martellato. In 1972 Ligeti became acquainted with the music of the American “minimal-ists” Steve Reich and Terry Riley. He recognized analogies in it to his own earlier pieces (especially Continuum) and reacted by deliberately working with elements of minimalist music in his Clocks and Clouds of 1973. The points of contact with the two composers are even more obvious in the second of the Three Pieces for Two Pianos, which bears the self-ironic title “Self-portrait with Reich and Riley (and Chopin is in it, too).” In his introduction, Ligeti stated that he here melded techniques developed by Reich and Riley with his own procedures of the “grid superimposition” and the “oversaturated” canon. He had also, he said, utilized the technique of key blocking developed by Karl-Erik Welin and Henning Siedentopf and further developed it into “mobile key blocking”: “one hand depresses the keys soundlessly and in changing se-

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quence, the other hand plays both on the sounding and on the momentarily blocked keys, thereby producing novel rhythmic configurations.” Of fundamental relevance to the construction are figures of between two and thirteen notes, which are repeated several times, gradually transformed, super-imposed upon each other and played in phase displacement. The piece, which is marked Presto: as fast and evenly as possible, is clearly divided into four part. In the first, the pianists simultaneously play similar but differently structured fig-ures, which are repeated several times and gradually transformed. Each figure complex is distinguished by simple, regular pulses. But the “superimposition” of the figures in both pianos results in complex, irregular rhythmic entities, which produce the impression of pulsation, scintillation and oscillation. The appearance of the notation is grid-like. Ligeti used this technique of the “grid superimposition” also in the harpsichord piece Continuum and in the pizzicato movement of the Second String Quartet. In the second part of the triple “Por-trait” (“spirited, energetic”), the phase displacement technique is applied: the pianists play the same figures, but successively, i.e., in imitation. The part of the second piano has the marking Quasi eco. The rhythm of this part is capri-cious. A brief canon (cantabile) appears at the end as a counterpoint to the fig-ures. At the start of the third part (impetuoso), the pianists take turns playing the same or similar figures, the play then morphing into one in phase dis-placement. The fourth part is mostly marked by a uniform triplet motion in unison and in pp, with occasional sudden brief bursts of fast fff play. How are we to take the title? In his introduction, Ligeti places his techniques of phase displacement and pattern repetition in direct relation to Reich and to Riley, while referring to the grid superimposition as a technique characteristic of himself. If we connect these indications with the results of our analysis, we will realize that the first part of the piece is conceived by Ligeti as a self-portrait, the second and third part as homages to Reich and Riley respectively and the fourth part as an allusion to the famous presto of Chopin’s Sonata in B minor op. 35 (1939). The sense of allusion follows from the type of motion and the aura of the eminently pianistic. In the third piece (In gently flowing motion), both pianists play quasi arpeggioed tone figures, at first in descending direction, later in contrary motion. Longer-held notes form cantabile melodies in the upper voices (an allusion to Schu-mannesque and Brahmsian Romanticism). The first 30 bars are to be recited piano and a tempo. Then the motion waxes into an accelerando and a crescendo that swells to a five-fold forte. The constructive idea of the third, as of the first, piece is the gradual expansion of the pitch range: both pieces begin in the middle region and “then grow in the direction of the high and low registers.”

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But whereas the motion in the first piece (as well as in the second) “oozes away” into nothingness, the third concludes with a chorale, one that is com-posed as an eight-part mirror canon and dies away into pianissimo. 2.11 Mad World Theater: Le Grand Macabre

“I held on to the idea of a hyper-colorful, comic-like musical and dramatic action: characters and stage situations should be direct, terse, non-psychological and stunning – the contrary of the literary opera. Action, situation, characters should be brought to life by the music, stage events and music should be dangerously bizarre, wholly exaggerated, wholly crazy: the novelty of this kind of music theater was to manifest itself, not in the externalities of the production, but in the interior of the music, by the music. The musical texture was not to be symphonic: the musico-dramatic conception is to be worlds away from the region of Wagner-Strauss-Berg. Closer to Poppea, to Falstaff, to the Barber, yet different, not really linked to any tradition, not even the tradition of avant-gardism.”199

“Music and language of my opera are direct, non-psychological, at times coarse, drastic. I wanted to get away from the operatic ideal of the 19th century as well as from the anti-opera of the recent past. The Grand Macabre is more nearly in the tradition of the medieval dance of death, of the mystery play and the Punch and Judy show, of the carnival and suburbs theater. Already Ghelderode’s play was close to Jarry’s Ubu Roi: it was the immediately grabbing/gripping ef-fect of Jarry’s manner that I tried to realize in music.”200

Along with Apparitions, Atmosphères and the Requiem, the opera Le Grand Maca-bre is a central work of Ligeti’s creative middle period. Considering that the opera opens an access to his intellectual-spiritual world, to his entire thinking and his conception of art, one should not hesitate to call it in fact a key work. Some authorities have placed it in the vicinity of the theater of the absurd.201 A decisive factor for any interpretation, however, is that in spite of all its ab-surdities and all its “crazinesses”, the opera conveys a whole series of messag-es that can be more or less precisely formulated. Ever since 1965, Ligeti had the idea in mind of writing a piece for the Stock-holm Opera, something Göran Gentele, general manager of the Stockholm Opera, had asked him for. Ligeti at first thought of some kind of opera with the title “Kilviria”, the imaginary country of his childhood. In 1969, he draft-

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ed a mythological libretto on the Oedipus story, but dropped the plan when, in July of 1972, he heard of Gentele’s lethal accident in Sardinia. His ideas now circled about another subject, “some tragic-comic, altogether exaggerat-edly terrifying and yet not really dangerous Last Judgment.” In searching for such a subject, Ligeti’s collaborator, the stage designer Aliute Meczies late in 1972 remembered Michel de Ghelderode’s La Balade du Grand Macabre of 1934, a play about the imminent end of the world and man’s creaturely fear of death.202 After reading the Balade, Ligeti was instantly electrified. “This play”, he remarked later, “was as if made for my musical-dramatic conceptions: an apocalypse that then does not really take place, Death as a hero who in reality is perhaps only a petty juggler and charlatan, the broken, yet happily thriving world of booze and whoredom of the imaginary ‘Breughelland’”.203 He in-stantly realized, however, that the ironic pathos of Ghelderode’s language was poorly suited to being set to music and thus asked Michael Meschke, the stage director and manager of the Stockholm Marionette Theater, to write a libretto in the manner of Alfred Jarry: “very terse, non-psychological, like a puppet play, very direct, but still sensuous.”204 A first libretto version that Meschke presented already by the end of March 1973 was not yet concentrated enough for Ligeti. So Meschke produced a second version in the summer, which Li-geti then versified and improved rhythmically, making countless major chang-es in Meschke’s text in the process, until it had the shape that satisfied him. After some preparatory sketching in the summer of 1974, he started on the composition in December of the same year. The work took two-and-a-half years to complete: by the end of April, 1977, the last page of the score was finished in clean copy. The premiere of the opera took place on April 12, 1978, at the Royal Opera of Stockholm.205 It is impossible to discuss either the genre and character of the opera or the composer’s intentions without having the action clearly in mind. Here is Lige-ti’s own synopsis of the plot:

The action of the opera takes place in the totally run-down yet happy-go-lucky thriving principality of Breughelland, one ruled over by the gluttonous, babyish Prince Go-Go. The prince is tyrannized by his two corrupt ministers, the leaders of the two mutually hostile parties, the White and the Black, who, however, do not at all differ in their outlook. Thus the business of the state is conducted in a thoroughly muddled fashion. All the more efficient is the reign of terror perpetrated in the house of the court astrologer by his dreadful wife Mescalina. Astramadors has to sweep the floor, wash the dishes, darn the socks, and hardly has any

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time for his real occupation of star-gazing. When, regimented by Mes-calina, he does reach for his telescope, he spots a comet that is rushing toward Earth. He swiftly calculates the collision course of the celestial body and realizes that the comet will devastate our planet still today, exactly at midnight. The main actor of the opera is Nekrotzar, the Grand Macabre, a sinis-ter, shady, demagogic figure with an unshakable sense of mission. He claims to be Death himself, come to Breughelland to wipe out, with the aid of the comet, the entire population, and therewith the world as a whole. In darkly magnificent pomp, he enters the princely palace and there, sure of victory, proclaims his apocalyptic threats. But he gets caught up in the vortex of the all-too mundane life of the Breu-ghellanders and is inebriated so thoroughly by the court astrologer and his boon companion Piet-vom-Fass [of the Vat] that by the time mid-night rings out he is so drunk that the lofty gesture with which he an-nounces the end of the world falls totally flat. In their intoxication, the Breughellanders think they are already in heaven, but it gradually be-comes apparent that in heaven everything happens exactly as it does on earth. Everybody is still alive, only Nekrotzar, the Grand Macabre, dies of grief at having missed his hallowed aim. If he was indeed Death, then Death is now dead, eternal life has thus set in, and Earth equals the Kingdom of Heaven: the Last Judgment has taken place. But if he was only an arrogant charlatan, a dark, false Messiah, and his mission only empty phrases, then life goes on as usu-al: Everybody dies someday, but not today, not right away.206

“Le Grand Macabre”: Amando

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Le Grand Macabre – Nekrotzar: death, a juggler, the false Messiah? – (Stockholm, 1978)

In a conversation with Hermann Sabbe, Ligeti provided some pointers for a deeper understanding of the work. To get to know the work better, he said, one needed to proceed from its overall form. The opera was designed as a kind of hugely magnified bar form. While the first three scenes were compa-rable to stollen, the much shorter fourth scene functioned as abgesang. All three stollen had in common that they issue in progressively surpassing crescendos. First scene: idyll between the two lovers Amado and Amanda, followed by the entrance of Piet-vom-Faß and later of Nekrotzar. Second scene: another idyll, although this time malicious, between Mescalina and her Astradamors, here, too, great crescendo, crowned by the arrival of Nekrotzar accompanied

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by Piet-vom-Faß. Third scene: again idyll (or a variant of the idyll) in the throne room of Breughelland, this time between the prince and his ministers, an idyll leading to the most dramatic of the crescendos, the entrance of Ne-krotzar, now accompanied by Piet and Astradamors. The fourth scene, much more concentrated than in Ghelderode, forms the epilogue.207 On the surface, the opera exhibits some tragicomic aspects. Its principle, Li-geti said, was a strangely iridescent ambiguity. Everything was constantly am-biguous: the serious was humorous, the comical deadly serious. Even the “stupid” texts, perhaps annoying to some viewers at first hearing, were actual-ly tragic at their deeper level.208 Le Grand Macabre, to be sure, is no tragicomedy in the ordinary sense, but a work that cannot be reduced to any cliché – an opera sui generis, that owes much to pop art and, as Ligeti said, is, if anything, in the tradition of the me-dieval Dance of Death, of the mystery play and the Punch-and-Judy show, as well as of the carnival and suburbs theater. In conceiving the work, Ligeti de-rived impulses both from literature (Franz Kafka, Fritz von Herzmanovsky-Orlando, Alfred Jarry and Boris Vian), from the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, and from the English pop art of Peter Blake. A propos of Jarry in particular, Ligeti knew, and greatly esteemed, the well-known stage play Ubu roi (King Ubu) of the French writer Alfred Jarry (1873-1907). First performed in Paris in 1886, the play burlesques tyranny and the greed for power, was praised by Dadaists and Surrealists, and is regarded as a forerunner of the Theater of the Absurd.209 The ruler of Ligeti’s Breughelland, the gluttonous and babyish Prince Go-Go, bears some resemblance to the primitive, cowardly, gormandizing and power-obsessed Père Ubu, who suc-ceeds in usurping the Polish throne and to tyrannize the population with his selfish tax policy. A number of vulgar turns of phrase in Ligeti’s piece, too, were sponsored by corresponding turns in Jarry’s play. Ligeti was no real friend of psychoanalysis. It is therefore all the more peculi-ar that he nearly always argued in a psychologizing manner when he talked of Le Grand Macabre. The basic theme of the opera, he thought, was the defeat of fear through defamiliarization or alienation (Verfremdung) – fear being the fear of death and of the end generally, but also the fear of human civilization be-ing destroyed by atomic death. Fear could be overcome only by caricature, by ridiculing, making fun of serious things. It was very important to keep an ironic distance to things. Verfremdung is indeed one of the leading principles of the work. False Latin, false rhymes, out-of-context quotations, pseudo-quotations, distortions and

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transmogrifications are the order of the day in it. During his third entrance, Nekrotzar paraphrases the Dies Irae and misquotes from the Book of Revela-tions. Well-known things are twisted out of shape in ironic refraction. Well-known musical quotations are verfremdet by diverse changes. The music fre-quently takes on the function of ironizing, burlesquing, parodying, travesty-ing. Michael Meschke had completed the second version of the libretto on August 10, 1973. During the summer of 1974, at the latest, Ligeti began to worry about a definitive shape of the text, about stylistic details, and naturally also about the musical setting. He made so many changes in the original, frequent-ly during the act of composing, that the final text differs substantially both from Ghelderode’s Balade and from Meschke’s libretto. Of special signifi-cance are his borrowings from the Apocalypse of St. John, from the Dies Irae and from Goethe’s Faust. Meschke’s typescript contains numerous entries and marginal comments in Ligeti’s handwriting that permit inferences about the process of the play’s gestation (see Facsimiles 8 and 9, below). The bizarre, the ludicrous, the grotesque and extreme irony are the most prominent earmarks of Le Grand Macabre. Nothing is in sync, everything is askew, everything shows in distorted perspective. Ligeti, as is clear from his earliest notes, imagined the imaginary Breughelland, a “broken world” that knows no worries, as a kind of Cockaigne, where roast chickens fly through the air and rivers flow with wine. In the first scene, to begin with, the love re-lationship between Amando and Amanda is ironized. Love is reduced to the purely sexual: in Meschke’s libretto the lovers originally bore the “drastic” names Clitoria and Spermando. In the second scene, the sado-masochistic al-tercation between Astramadors and Mescalina, a specific variant of the rela-tion between the sexes is drastically burlesqued, with the crude, coarse, vulgar and obscene approaching the nauseous. Mescalina stands for the bestial side of man and for human cruelty. The third scene travesties the (totalitarian) state and the political system, the infantile potentate, the corrupt functionaries of the state and their fiscal policy.210 Death, too, is included in the ironic process. Though certainly outfitted with numerous daemonic traits in the definitive version of the play, he succumbs to intoxication and cannot carry out his work of annihilation – the fearful end of the world fails to occur. Crazily enough, the only figure in the opera that really dies is Nekrotzar himself. Accordingly, the court astrologer Astra-madors poses the question in the concluding scene: “Was he Death, or per-haps only a mortal, like us?”

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FS 8 Scene 3: “…tam tam, bossa nova, bird chirping,

codetermination, Heidegger jargon…”

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FS 9 Ligeti’s insertions into the stage directions of M. Meschke’s libretto

Nearly everything remains up in the air in the final scene: pure illusionism reigns at the end. The question remains open whether the Breughellanders are in heaven or on earth, whether eternal life has already commenced or death still impends. Amando and Amanda expound their idea of eternity in these terms:

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For the best that there can be Is to make love exhaustively. If one does that, time stands quite still, Besides eternity there then is nil.

Among Ligeti’s numerous interventions in Meschke’s text, one deserves spe-cial mention. After Nekrotzar has proclaimed his “evangel” that “all who are born are to die!” he orders Piet to bring him his paraphernalia from the grave. The obedient Piet hands him the scythe and the trumpet and drapes a wrap that is studded with little bells around his shoulders. Thereupon Nekrotzar asks in Meschke’s version:

Well? Who am I On the eternal world theater?

Ligeti thought the passage needed to be elaborated and gave it the following form:

Nekrotzar: Well? What do you say to that? Tell me, who am I? Piet: Hm…an actor. An opera singer, hahahaha! Nekrotzar: Yes! Actor, hahahaha! Actor – on the stage Of the great world theater!

The emphatic reference to the “great world theater” at this point is especially noteworthy. In considering the genesis of the opera, it is important to know that Ligeti developed concrete musical ideas concurrently with his work on the textbook. From the start, he had a colorful, “dangerously bizarre”, “altogether exagger-ated” and “quite mad” music in mind that should be indebted to no tradition. His musico-dramatic conception should be altogether remote from the Ger-man tradition of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss and Alban Berg and rather closer to the Romance tradition of Monteverdi, Verdi and Rossini. The earli-est notes for the composition in fact include numerous references to Rossini and sporadic ones to Verdi’s Falstaff and Otello, to Bizet’s Carmen, even to Jacques Offenbach. The notion of a stretta in the manner of Rossini may well have fascinated Ligeti from the start, since Meschke designed the scene be-tween Prince Go-Go and his two ministers as a sequence of “accelerations.” But there are also allusions to the rhythm of the anvils in Wagner’s Rheingold in Ligeti’s notes, as well as to the stormy scene between Brünnhilde and Waltaute in Götterdämmerung. Le Grand Macabre differs from German music drama also insofar as the tex-ture of the music is not “symphonic” and lacks an elaborate system of leitmo-

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tifs. Yet Ligeti did not want to do without leitmotiv-like linkages altogether. The approaching apocalypse, the theme common to the first three scenes, of-fered plenty of opportunities for cross-references – opportunities Ligeti knew how to use. Toward the end of the first scene, for example, upon Nekrotzar’s threat to mow the good and the bad down indiscriminately, a chorus of “spirits” be-hind the stage intones – at first in a two-voiced version and a little later again in a four-voiced one – the following “chorale”:

Doom is already nigh: Thou art in misery For Death comes certainly! Beware and hark, At midnight dark Thou’lt die!

(The tune of this “chorale”, which is altogether absent in Meschke, unmistak-ably echoes the Protestant chorale “O Welt, ich muss dich lassen” [O world, I have to leave you], though it is a mere “allusion” rather than a quotation [Ex. 16)]).

Ex. 16 “O Welt, ich muss Dich lassen” (top), Le Grand Macabre, scene 1, piano score 56/57 (above)

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Then, in the third scene, after the grand entrance of Nekrotzar and his words “For now is come the great day of wrath!” another (mixed) backstage chorus, now representing the people of Breughelland, intones ffff always forzato the lines:

Alas, o Prince, and woe! See our dreadful throe! We’re in distress, warned of duress: Thy aid and comfort show!

This renewed chorale-like intonation clearly recalls the earlier “spirit chorale” in scene 1 and connects thematically to it: what was prophesied in the first scene has now come to pass. A leitmotiv function can also be ascribed to the apocalyptic music given to Nekrotzar. There is, to begin with, the signal of the bass trumpet, which in the first scene sounds three times, behind the stage, during the intonation of the “spirit chorale” and then again, in the third scene, five times at the door into the hall during Nekrotzar’s entrance – always in a different variant. At the beginning of the grandiose entry (no. 457), it exhibits the dodecaphonic form reproduced below (Ex. 17), with the two last notes repeating the first two.

Ex. 17 Apocalyptic trumpet signal

Then, toward the end of the entry parade, the trumpets and the trombone blare out, in unison and five-fold forte, a longer fanfare (no. 470), which will be intoned twice more later on, first in a two-voiced version (no. 475) and then in a four-voiced one (no. 481). The music of the “heavenly trombones”, too, sounds three times (nos. 489, 495 and 518), the first two times following upon Nekrotzar’s apocalyptic proclamations. The mad world in which the action of Le Grand Macabre takes place can only be mirrored by an equally crazy tonal realm. Ligeti accordingly avails himself of an “abnormal” set of instruments. The bass trumpet is only one of the many unusual instruments the score calls for: harmonica, sirens, diverse swa-nee, signal and alarm whistles, and lots of brasses, often played in extreme registers. In order to give the music a woodcut-like character, Ligeti deliber-

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ately dispensed with the usual large string ensemble. “15 solo strings, mixed with woodwinds and horns”, he wrote, “represent the lyrical elements: espe-cially in the singing of the transfigured lovers Amando and Amanda, who, blissfully unaware, sleep together, in Nekrotzar’s tomb, right through the supposed end of the world.”211 The prelude to the first scene is modeled on Monteverdi’s Toccata but is played, not by trumpets, clarinets and trombones, but by twelve automobile horns. Ligeti commented: “The denaturalized, choking, stiff sound of the car horns, a kind of malfunctioning brass section, signalizes the broken world of Breughelland.” No less “crazy” is the prelude to the third scene, which is in-strumented for six doorbells! In line with the crazy world of sound, Ligeti evidently also set great store by casting the figures of the opera with the most diverse vocal types, as a glance at the list of characters will show:

Dramatis personae Chief of the Secret Political Police (Gepopo) [cf. “Gestapo”!] Coloratura soprano Venus High soprano Amanda Soprano Amando Mezzo soprano (trouser role) Prince Go-Go Boy soprano or high countertenor Mescalina Dramatic mezzo soprano Piet- vom-Fass High buffo tenor Nekrotzar Character baritone (demonic role) Astradamors Bass Ruffiack [“ruffian”] Baritone Schobiack [“scoundrel”] Baritone Schabernack [“prankster”] Baritone White Minister Speaking part Black Minister Speaking part

The distribution of vocal types is often logical. That the childish, fat and glut-tonous Prince Go-Go should be cast as a high countertenor makes immediate sense. By contrast, it may seem odd that the role of the chief of the secret po-lice should of all things be assigned to a coloratura soprano and that Ligeti endowed it with traits of a trilling, chirping songbird. The explanation may lie in the fact that in the palace scene in Ghelderode’s play a whistling, piebald

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bird appears to transmit messages and reports from the chief of the security police to the prince and his two ministers.212 A closer look at the musical treatment of the various character types reveals characteristic stylistic levels and idioms. To cite only a few representative ex-amples: the music of the two lovers, who seem in a perpetual trance, is throughout lyrical in nature. Their voices prefer narrow intervals and over long stretches are set parallel (at times even in thirds!) – a musical emblem of total harmony. In working out their love duets, Ligeti had in mind an idiom close to that of the 14th-century composer Johannes Ciconia. As a stage direc-tion tells us, he imagined Amando and Amanda as “a young, very beautiful pair of lovers, as if from a Botticelli painting.” In Ghelderode, Nekrotzar, the Great Macabre, is “endlessly tall, thin as a rail” and has “deep-set, piercing eyes.”213 In Ligeti’s opera, he is given a more de-monic appearance. He is, as an important stage direction has it,

costumed as Death. His head can be a skull, his body a skeleton. Cos-tume and make-up should, however, also include something ambigu-ous and threadbare; one is to get the discordant impression that Ne-krotzar could be Death or perhaps only a charlatan pretending to be Death. Since at the end of the opera it turns out that Nekrotzar is in fact Death itself, the sense of “Death” should predominate. The sense of his being a juggler, a “false Messiah” is to play only a subliminal part. Nekrotzar is very tall and gaunt, he should appear larger than human. . . . At no. 38, Nekrotzar enters very suddenly. The door to the burial chamber bursts open and Nekrotzar steps out of the vault. This should occur in a surprising, trick-like, wholly dumbfounding manner. Nosferatu’s sudden rise from his coffin in Murnau’s film can serve as a model.

Nekrotzar’s vocal part is distinguished above all by large, zigzag-like interval leaps. The aforementioned signal of the apocalyptic bass trumpet serves as his personal leitmotif. His entrances or his words are frequently underscored by very deep double bass and/or contrabassoon, trombone and tuba tones. At the end of scene 2, (nos. 274-275), such tones conglomerate into clusters sounding as brutal as they are massive. Within Ligeti’s oeuvre, Le Grand Macabre marks an important stage also in compositional technique, inasmuch as he first developed a procedure here that would become virulent in his later work. I am referring to the “artificial folklore”, the cultivation of certain contrapuntal forms, such as the passaca-glia and the mirror canon, as well as the simultaneous use of different tempo levels.

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Ex. 18 Le Grand Macabre, scene 3: artificial folklore

How are we to interpret the peculiar term “artificial folklore”? In devising the part of the Chief of the Secret Police in the third scene, Ligeti explained, he had conceived “a bizarre, non-existent folklore”, which combined dissimilar constituents in a certain way, including Brazilian samba and Andalusian fla-menco elements, Bulgarian rhythms and others. The result, he said, was a

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strangely “artificial folklore.” First he had made a rhythmic sketch, then had fitted the text to the music or else written a text at the same time so that it corresponded to the music.214 The passage in the third scene to which Ligeti alludes (nos. 395-401) is distin-guished by an asymmetrical meter (11/8 = 4 + 4 + 3), by the use of “exotic” instruments such as temple blocks, conga, bongos and castanets, by folkloris-tically tinged melody, and by its leggiero, scherzando or capriccioso character (Ex. 18). In an interview, Ligeti brought up the significance of contrasts in Le Grand Macabre. Contrasts, he noted – “all but brutal contrasts” – played an im-portant role in the dramatic action as well as in the music. The question then arises, however: what holds the music together, and what establishes the work’s thematic coherence? Basically one can say that the music is throughout fitted to the scenic events and supplies a background for the stage action. It is frequently gestural, has many illustrative traits, often forms tonal images, and also tends toward self-contained forms. Theatrical gestures are almost always in correspondence with musical ones. Thus a two-voiced run tutta la forza in the first scene at no. 38 illustrates the abrupt jumping up of Nekrotzar, who until then has lain in the burial cham-ber, and later on, too, underscores his peremptory gestures (nos. 78/79). Again, Ligeti could not pass up the opportunity to suggest the canter of Ne-krotzar and Piet at the end of scene 1 (at no. 104-106) with a tone-painting ostinato rhythm ♪. ♪ – a deliberate allusion to the noise-like music of the anvils in Wagner’s Rheingold. The second scene – the sadomasochistic altercation between the court astrol-oger and his domineering wife – is marked by rapid changes in the scenic sit-uation. The music accordingly undergoes quick changes in character as well. The result is a motley series of contrasting images, which often pop up in iso-lation from each other, separated by general pauses. One is tempted to speak of musical comics or cartoons. To give some examples: after Mescalina has floored her husband with a karate chop, she is afraid for a moment of having killed him and begins to lament. The music reacts ironically with novel sigh-ing figures (no. 152-155). To test whether Astradamors is really dead, she then lures a gigantic hairy spider from the corner and holds it under his nose. Her singing (agitato erotico) is accompanied by the harpsichord and the organ (nos. 158/159). Astradamors’ inarticulate shrieks evolve into a highly virtuoso vocal passage, which is supposed to be performed “like a crazy Baroque aria” (no. 1690-162). A little later (no. 169), Mescalina and Astradamors begin a

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“grotesque and shameless dance”, as the stage direction has it. Even later, when Mescalina orders Astradamors to go to his telescope and peer at the stars, a “beautiful” and ethereal music commences (no. 187-190). The phe-nomenon of a peculiar refraction of light (“It seems to me…as if the spectral rays of the twilight are undergoing a red shift”) is illustrated by “cystoscopic” tone clusters. In light of the fact that the music of Le Grand Macabre nestles against the sce-nic incidents or else, as it were, comments ironically upon them, it may seem strange that Ligeti here and there refers back to historic forms and tech-niques. The music for the copulation scene between Mescalina and Astrada-mors in scene 2 is written as a bourrée perpetuelle; the grandiose entrance of Ne-krotzar in the third scene has the shape of an ostinato; the music accompany-ing his dying is constructed as a mirror canon; and at the conclusion of the opera we hear a passacaglia. Yet we cannot speak of a real discrepancy – for one thing because even in these cases there is either an astonishing congru-ence or a deliberate contrast between stage event and musical form; and for another, because the traditional techniques are so much refined and devel-oped that something entirely new is created. In scene two, Nekrotzar enacts a “violent” love scene with Mescalina. Where-as Venus, remaining always in the background, follows the scene lustfully, Piet and Astradamors react cynically, regarding it “like a sports event.” Ac-cording to an important stage direction, there should be “a grotesque, highly charged contradiction between the vivid action and the music running along as if behind an insulation glass.” Despite the vehement happening, the scene is sung sotto voce. There is thus an ironic contrast between the rather brutal ac-tion and the eminently graceful music of the bourrée. The diverse quotations, pseudo-quotations and allusions that are heard simultaneously with the bour-rée at this point are likewise meant ironically. Ligeti here loosely quotes Jean-Philippe Rameau’s La Poule and then, note for note, Schubert’s Grätzer Galopp. Toward the end of the scene, four different tunes play at the same time – much as in the famous dance scene in Don Giovanni. Along with the “atonal” bourrée music of the orchestra, the E piano plays the Schubert gallop in G major and in 2/4 time, the harpsichord a dance-like tune in E major and 2/4 time, and the organ a different dance-like tune in F major and in 3/4 time. The chaos is complete when the three instruments, which begin in the tempo of the orchestra, gradually accelerate their parts and end at different times (Ex. 19).

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Ex. 19 Le Grand Macabre, 2nd scene: a kind of collage

The music accompanying Nekrotzar’s entrance parade is undoubtedly one of the grand moments of the opera. In terms of compositional technique, it real-izes a whole slew of new and original ideas: it unites the concept of the osti-nato with the ideas of the collage sonore and the simultaneity of different tempo

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levels. The basis of the music is a four-beat rhythmic period that recurs, osti-nato-like, 23 times. Its rhythm is borrowed from the celebrated bass theme of the Eroica’s finale – a portentous allusion that makes fun of Nekrotzar’s pompous heroics (Ex. 20)

Ex. 20 Rhythmic allusion to Beethoven

Importantly, the pitches of the ostinato bass (the rhythmic period consists of 13 notes) are organized according to a twelve-tone row, which in the first twelve periods thus recurs thirteen times. That means that each of the first twelve periods starts with a different note: the second period with the second note of the row, the third with the third note, and so on.

It is constitutive for the ostinato technique that a persistently repeated bass theme is accompanied by ever new melodies. In Ligeti’s entrance music, a violin, a bassoon, a piccolo clarinet and a piccolo flute, entering one after the other, play four melodies that contrast as harshly as conceivable with each other. The violin plays a ragtime two-step, the bassoon a tune alla danza, the piccolo clarinet a capricious melody and the piccolo flute a tune that is marked leggiero. Meter and tempo of the four melodies differ: the melody of the violin is in 2/4 time, that of the bassoon in 6/8 time, that of the piccolo clarinet in 3/4 time and that of the piccolo flute in 4/4 time; and the metro-nome markings are = 60, = 80, = 138 and = ca. 192. From that one can already see that Ligeti here first realized ideas that he had had in mind for some time: the ideas of the collage sonore and of “poly-tempos.” A note in the score reads: “The representation of the various independent levels is only proximate, it does not provide an exact picture of the polymetric process coming about.” The totality of the entrance music makes a rather ambivalent impression. Its character wavers between solemnity and jollity. This is deliberate and fully corresponds to the scenic situation. At no. 457, the score has the following stage direction:

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Here begins the magnificent entrance of Nekrotzar plus entourage (roughly at the drum or bass trumpet signal). Nekrotzar is riding on Piet, the four musicians (picc., Eb-clar., bssoon and vl.) appear in cos-tume, the remaining retinue (ad lib. dancers) are wearing medieval carnival masks (devils masks). Their bearing is now solemn, now bois-terous. Nekrotzar wields the scythe and “blows” the trumpet ad lib.

From this direction, at the latest, we realize that the ragtime music of the vio-lin is a deliberate allusion to Stravinsky’s L’histoire du soldat and that the solo violin is to sound like a devil’s fiddle. Well suited to the ambivalent character of the music are also the cha-cha sounds that become clearly audible at the climax (no. 460) (Ex. 21).

Ex 21 Nekrotzar’s entrance: collage sonore and poly-tempo

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The motif of intoxication plays a prominent role in Le Grand Macabre. The Breughellanders, we know, are bibulous – Piet-vom-Faß is a wine taster by profession. After the apocalyptic threats uttered by Nekrotzar in scene 3, Piet and Astradamors get drunk and seduce even the Great Macabre into tippling. For the inebriation scene that immediately follows upon the scene of drinking Ligeti uses the music of the bourrée perpetuelle from the second scene, varying and paraphrasing it and now titling it Galimathias (blather, palaver). The head-ing refers primarily to the confused chatter of Nekrotzar, who starts to sput-ter about his past deeds of annihilation. No less impressive than the entrance music is the “cosmic” music Ligeti wrote for the conclusion of the third and the beginning of the fourth scene. The vision of global annihilation clearly forms the climax of the opera, sceni-cally as well as musically. After the celestial trombones have sounded a final time at nos. 565 ff., the totally plastered Nekrotzar does remember his mis-sion and asks what time it is. Learning from Piet that it is a few seconds be-fore midnight and suddenly recovering his senses, he calls for his scythe, his trumpet and his horse, whereupon Prince Go-Go and Astradamors carry him to a rocking-horse and mount him upon it. In a visionary pose, he now pro-claims the end of the world:

Now time stands still, … it is no more, … For what there is is eternity, emptiness And the great … Nil! And I saw and I see: The cruel midnight, The last, the very last midnight strikes! … In the name of the Almighty I dash to pieces now the world!

This entire section is styled as melodrama. Suggestive tonal planes of the or-chestra underscore Nekrotzar’s apocalyptic proclamations. A whole series of highly expressive tone columns form a tonal field initially located in the mid-dle and low region and slowly opening on both sides of the tonal space in such a way that the rising sound train gradually attains the highest register, while the falling one “sinks” lower and lower. In that way, an ever expanding vacuum stretches between the two tonal trains – a sound image that vividly emblematizes the arrest of time, but above all emptiness and nonentity. Shortly after Nekrotzar’s “In the name of the Almighty I dash to pieces now the world” (at no. 597), the horns and trombone sound misterioso slowly falling

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chorale-like triads that sound oddly consonant. In a weirdly lurid light, Ne-krotzar sings the words “yes, it comes about, … about, … comes about.” The light goes out, it grows completely dark, and Nekrotzar falls off the rocking- horse. A backstage boys’ choir sings “Consummatum est!” on the note of a pseudo-Gregorian intonation. The curtain falls slowly, the darkness becomes complete. The orchestral interlude at this point is surely among Ligeti’s most brilliant in-spirations. Technically, it could be described both as a cluster composition and as an invention on the tritone, with striking tremolos, swelling sounds and, toward the end, a rapid reduction of the spatial volume – the music plunges into the abyss. According to a marginal note in Meschke’s libretto, Ligeti had “dark, deep, black music” in mind from the start for this interlude. The fourth and last scene commences with a phantasmagoria: “Dense fog. Unreal, dream-like light. Piet and Astramadors are floating free in space: they dream of being in Heaven.” Astramadors, who speaks of “metamorphosis”, thinks he is floating toward paradise. Piet thinks he already hears the harps. Lines like Astramadors’ aperçu “I’m growing wings!” are also meant as ironic allusions to the concluding scene of Goethe’s Faust Part II. The ethereal back-ground of the “music of the spheres” in this scene is produced by flageolet harmonies of the cluster-like disposed strings. Harmonica, horn and organ tones add a somewhat saccharine note to the music. With the entrance of the three thugs Ruffiack, Schobiak and Schabernack, at the latest, the unreal character of the scene vanishes. Twelve automobile horns recall the listener to the reality of Breughelland. Nekrotzar becomes the center of a final grotesque scene. Now wanting to die, he staggers toward the burial chamber. At that moment, Mescalina leaps from the vault like a fury, rushes toward him and wildly chases him. She reaches him, holds him fast and is about to plunge a spear into his breast, whereupon he utters a “fright-ful”, inarticulate “shriek of fear.” The action is meant as revenge for the vio-lent sex episode in the second scene, in which Nekrotzar embraced Mescalina brutally and finally bit her in the neck like a vampire. Later the Grand Macabre dies in fact like a vampire. According to a stage di-rection, after the sun has risen slowly, he stands motionless for a while, then begins to shrink, collapses, becomes smaller and smaller, contracts to a kind of ball, continues to dwindle and finally vanishes, becoming one with the ground. “The sun stands in full splendor above the horizon.” For this process of dying, Ligeti wrote an artful, almost artificial music: a mir-ror canon for strings. It begins with two voices, related to each other like im-

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age and its mirror image, and then gradually becomes four-part, six-part, eight-part and finally ten-part, with the basic two-part scaffolding remaining unchanged. At the start (no. 666), the strings play pianissimo, very tender and es-pressivo. At no. 669, a long diminuendo commences, which, in accordance with the scenic happenings, closes with a morendo al niente. After Nekrotzar’s evanishment, Astradamors and Piet deliver a kind of funer-al oration on him. Thereupon Amanda and Amando step from the burial chamber, clasped in each other’s arms. “Although grossly disheveled, they are of a wondrous gracefulness. They are blinded by the sunlight and at first are oblivious of their surroundings.” Astonished, Piet asks them:

Hello, children … Aren’t you aware that the end of the world is here?

The lovers protest to have no fear of death: for them there is “only here and now!” That slogan then becomes the watchword for everybody. At the end, the entire cast sings:

Do not fear death, good people, nay! It comes sometime, but not today. And when it comes, well, then it’s here … Till then live well in mirth and cheer!

The passacaglia for this final scene is a stunt of consonant music. Its eight-bar theme consists entirely of major and minor sixths. Later, when the vocalists enter, triads of every kind occur; more complicated chords are rare. The con-sonant “building-blocks”, to be sure, are put together in such a way that the passacaglia is everything but tonal. “And this oddly consonantal music.” as Ligeti interpreted the piece, “is in some way very solemn and sad. A life alto-gether without fear, a life of pure pleasure is in truth deeply wretched.” Le Grand Macabre holds a special position within contemporary musical thea-ter. In 1971, Mauricio Kagel’s anti-opera Staatstheater premiered in Hamburg – a work that critically dismantles the traditional operatic genre and takes the experimental trend to its limits. Ligeti avowed to have received a strong im-pression from this work, and for a time he thought of likewise writing an anti-opera. Yet what became of this anti-opera plan was, in double negation, an anti-anti-opera, namely Le Grand Macabre, a piece that has also little in com-mon with the much-discussed Theater of the Absurd. For while Ligeti’s work, in the final analysis, treats of the absurdity of human existence, it is based on a quite “logically” progressing action and, in contrast to the Theater of the Absurd, by no means dispenses with “rational devices and discursive

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thought.”215 Le Grand Macabre, an opera sui generis, which mixes the comical with the tragic, the silly with the demonic, is grotesque musical theater – cracked world theater. A revised version of Le Grand Macabre was premiered on July 28, 1997 in Salzburg. In a conversation, Ligeti explained the reasons for the drastic revi-sion. In the first version, he said, the portion of spoken text was considerable, as Michael Meschke originally had a play with music in mind. From the start, however, Ligeti thought the proportion of sung and spoken text to be unbal-anced. Thus he got in the habit of progressively trimming the spoken dialogue from production to production – the piece was staged more than twenty times over the years. After 1988, his decision to systematically revise the work in this respect became firm. From December 1995 to August 1996, he worked intensively on this revision. In August of 1996, a fire broke out in his Vienna apartment, which consumed a number of manuscripts. Miraculously, the score of Le Grand Macabre was spared by the conflagration. The new version, in which the spoken text was substantially abridged, is sung nearly throughout. Spoken text occurs in relatively few places, and speech song is assigned to others. One of the most massive interventions is the trans-formation of the two ministers, who were originally speaking roles, into com-ic vocal parts. Their comical entrance at the start of the third scene is hilari-ously shaped as a fast waltz. Major changes were also made in the fourth sce-ne, which in the first version divided into several smaller numbers. Here, the whole had to be freshly assembled. Besides, the concluding passacaglia was substantially expanded, Ligeti feeling that it had ended too abruptly in its orig-inal version. The reworking of the score was not an easy matter: Ligeti’s style had greatly changed in the intervening twenty years, yet he wanted to preserve the original manner. One of Meschke’s guiding ideas in developing the libretto had been the inten-tion to shock, to “épater le bourgeois.” That explains many rather uncouth textual passages in the first version. They were softened in part by Ligeti, “not from prudishness”, but rather “from dignity.” Major changes were also made in the instrumentation. A number of passages in the first version came to seem over-instrumented to Ligeti. He wanted to make the sound more transparent. Here he also benefitted from the experi-ences he had gained from diverse productions of the work. Since the low pe-dal-point notes are hard to produce on the trombone, he decided to reassign them to the contrabassoon and the double basses.

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In the new version, Le Grand Macabre strikes one as far more operatic than the first version. The spoken word was reduced to a minimum. The ambivalence and dubiousness, but also the illusionary and lofty qualities seem to take effect more strongly than in the old version. 2.12 The Turning Point ca. 1980

“I would say the year 1980 was a major turning-point for mu-sic and art, including my music.”216

“For now, the Great Composing Machine is still utopian, but today, in the second half of the ‘eighties, we stand at the threshold of fundamentally new regions of art. At the mo-ment, that applies above all to the visual arts, but the reper-cussions for music will not be long in coming. This threshold, I think, was first reached by experimental mathematics, when Benôit Mandelbrot for the first time pulled the ‘apple mani-kins’ from his high-speed printer in 1980.”217

After the completion of Le Grand Macabre, Ligeti’s compositional productivity stalled. During the period until 1982, he did not succeed in completing any new work. The starts he made into composing a piano concerto did not lead to any satisfactory results. People who were close to him and knew his usually admirable productivity began to speak of a creative crisis. There were several reasons for this situation. For one thing, Ligeti twice needed prolonged hospi-tal treatments. For another, the believed he might experience a decisive turn-ing-point in contemporary art and music – one that gave him a great deal of trouble. He would not, and could not, take the road to the then rapidly spreading post-modernism. But neither did he feel that he belonged any long-er to the avant-garde. While searching for a new direction, he received impulses from the American composer Conlon Nancarrow, from the study of Central-African music, and from fractal geometry, especially the viewing of fractal images. In addition, there were stimuli he had gained from the area of computer music that had now become virulent. From January to July of 1974, Ligeti resided at Stanford University. Here he was introduced to the realm of computer music by John M. Chowning,218 who worked at the Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence. What interested Ligeti in this area was the projection of sound into space, the transformations of sound color (timbre), the control of pitch and time and, not least, the precise construction of tonal systems. Upon his return to Europe, he ceaselessly propagated the new medium.

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In 1980/81, he then became familiar with Conlon Nancarrow’s music for mechanical pianos. Here what fascinated him, besides the technical perfec-tion, was especially the concurrence of several tempo levels – a compositional possibility that had occupied him already earlier.219 In the fall of 1982, the Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra drew Ligeti’s attention to recordings of instrumental and vocal music of the Banda Linda, a tribe active in the Central African Republic.220 After repeatedly listening to the recordings, Ligeti was stunned by the complexity of this both polyphonic and polyrhythmic music (see the graphic representations, p. 64). Later he also had opportunities to hear other recordings of sub-Saharan music, especially music of the Pygmies and the Gbaya.221 In the spring of 1984, he met the ethnomusicologist Simha Arom in Jerusa-lem, who had made the recordings of the Banda linda music. Arom showed him his transcriptions of Central-African music and explained its melodic and rhythmic structures to him. Ligeti quickly noticed a remarkable discrepancy between the formal structure of this music and its internal nature: the un-changing repetition of periods of equal length contrasted sharply, he thought, with the highly complex inner structure of these periods, which were notable for their superimposition of diverse rhythmic patterns.222 Arom’s essays, his further recordings, and above all his voluminous book Polyphonies et polyrhyth-mies instrumentales d’Afrique centrale acquired a fundamental importance for Li-geti. Once Ligeti’s interest for sub-Saharan music had been aroused, he sought to expand his knowledge of the subject. In 1986, he read the book Musik in Af-rika, edited by Arthur Simon and published in 1983 and was particularly taken with the contributions by Gerhard Kubik, especially his disquisitions about xylophone music (amadinda) in the ancient kingdom of Buganda and about “inherent patterns.” By “inherent patterns” Kubik meant “audible, structured tone patterns that stand out from the total picture of a musical process as if from a picture-puzzle.” Emerging only in the act of perception they are “not played as such by the musicians but nevertheless are compositionally provid-ed for in most cases.”223 Considering Ligeti’s lively interest in the illusionary, Kubik’s theory was bound to fascinate him. Ligeti was strongly fascinated also by pictures of fractal shapes, which he saw for the first time in 1983. The following year, the biochemist Manfred Eigen presented him with a catalogue of the exhibition Morphologie komplexer Grenzen (complex liomits) of the Bremen research group headed by Heinz-Otto Peit-gen and Peter H. Richter – a volume containing highly impressive illustra-

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tions. In 1986, he became acquainted with Peitgen and Richter’s book The Beauty of Fractals,224 which increased his already potent enthusiasm for the sub-ject (see the fig. below).

Computer fractal image of increasing resolution (see Ligeti, “Computer and Composition”, below)

Fractal geometry is a branch of mathematics established in the 1960’s by Be-noît Mandelbrot.225 In contrast to Euclidian geometry, which analyzes rela-tively simple figures such as circle, triangle, square, etc., fractal geometry con-cerns itself with the morphology of the “amorphous.” It endeavors to de-scribe the irregular and splintered forms of nature, starting from the realiza-tion that clouds are not spherical, mountains not conical, coastal lines not cir-cular. “Bark is not smooth”, Mandelbrot says, “and lightning does not force its way in a straight line.” To describe these irregular forms adequately, Man-delbrot coined the term fractal, derived from the Latin adjective fractus = bro-ken. The most useful fractals, he thought, encompassed the fortuitous in its regularities as well as its irregularities.

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With the aid of a computer experiment, Mandelbrot, in 1980, obtained the famous Mandelbrot set, sometimes called “apple manikin”, whose chief as-pect is its self-similarity: up to infinite magnification, parts of a figure display always the same structure as the parent figure. Now Ligeti, as we know, al-ways took a lively interest in the results of the latest branches of mathematics, as well as in computer composition. Yet he saw little sense in a direct transfer of mathematical principles to the realm of composition. As much attention as he paid to the ideas, methods and results of Gottfried Michael Koenig,226 Ian-nis Xenakis227 and Klarenz Barlow, he confessed to have reservations about algorithmic composition. What seemed particularly problematic to him was the tendency to put the main emphasis in composition on the method and to regard the result as secondary. In his view, what matters is less the production of the artifact than the work of art “as value in itself.”228 He expressed similar misgivings about the naïve transfer of computer-generated images to music – an experiment made by several composers in Western Europe and the United States. He argued that such computer pic-tures were spatial structures that could not simply be converted to temporal analogues. His object was to find musical analogies to fractal images without a computer and without mathematics. In the fourth movement of his Piano Concerto, for example, there were melodic sources, he explained, that are built into an iterated, that is to say, feed-back system. “The music starts very thinly, with isolated figures; it gradually thickens in that the figures are multiplied with themselves.”229 “Only the imagination has to be kindled”: with this turn of phrase Ligeti ex-pressed his conviction that impulses alone do not suffice for the creative act, but that they have to be fertilized. His Piano Etudes, his Piano Concerto and his Violin Concerto demonstrate impressively that he was able to convert the im-pulses he had received from various directions creatively. In his essay, “Computer and Composition”, he spoke graphically of an “igni-tion effect”, which the interaction of the rhythmic worlds of Nancarrow and the music of sub-Saharan Africa, the computer impulse from Stanford and the fractal images had had on his latest creations.230 Undoubtedly, the occupation with Central-African music was one of the artis-tically most fecund experiences in Ligeti’s life – an experience that left deep traces in his oeuvre. He owed to this music an inspiration as rich as the one Pablo Picasso had derived for his art from African masks (see fig., p. 192). It enabled Ligeti to supply his music with new, unworn rhythmic energies and to develop highly ingenious polyrhythmic techniques.

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On October 23, 1986, I attended the world premiere of the three-movement version of the Piano Concerto in Graz. Profoundly impressed by the novelty of the work, I gained the conviction that with it Ligeti had entered a new phase of his creative career. “You will understand the work better”, Ligeti told me when I spoke with him about it, “once you have examined the Piano Etudes more closely.” He was right, as it turned out. 2.13 Épater l’Avant-garde: Retrospective and Forward-Looking Ele-

ments in the Horn Trio “This is not a personal crisis, but, I believe, a crisis of my en-tire generation: the generation that in Darmstadt and in Co-logne in the second half of the ‘fifties developed something new, something original. Gradually we are becoming endan-gered by academicism. And since I am an anti-academic, I want personally to fight against this danger within myself – that is, not to continue to compose in the old avant-garde cli-chés, but also not to lapse into a back-to-earlier-styles. Espe-cially in the last few years, I have been trying to find an an-swer for myself personally – a music that is not a rumination of the past, not even of the avant-garde past.”231

“I have in mind a strongly affective, contrapuntally and met-rically very complex music, labyrinthine in its ramifications, with melodic figures audible through it, but without any ‘back-to’ gesture, not tonal, but not atonal, either. I don’t have a name yet to designate this compositional direction, and I am not looking for one, either. What I have in mind is a spiritualized, strongly condensed art form. I am trying, be-yond every kind of modernity, to recreate in music something of today’s sense of life.”232

No matter from what direction one approaches the Horn Trio of 1982, the unvarying impression is that one has to do with a key work. If one looks at it from the vantage point of the sensational “experimental” works of the ‘sixties or else from that of the Second String Quartet, it each time exhibits a different physiognomy: Ligeti seems to be using an entirely different musical language. It is therefore no wonder that many listeners at the premiere in Bergedorf on August 7, 1982, were wholly taken by surprise. To Sabine Tomzig, the critic of the Hamburger Abendblatt, the composition appeared “more melodic, more perspicuous than earlier works, and with all its formally impressive construc-tivity, surprisingly inspired by feeling”;233 and Ute Schalz-Laurenze, of the

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, referred to diverse links to tradition, “both in forms and in the contrasting expressive characters.”234 The truth is that, along with numerous retrospective traits, the Horn Trio ex-hibits an astonishing amount of originality. It is among the works that point to the future and represents a turning-point in Ligeti’s compositional work. Let us first try to pinpoint the “retrospective” aspect of the piece. The qua-ternary of the movements is only seemingly a symptom of tradition. The work was originally conceived in five movements: the slow fourth movement was to be followed by a virtuoso finale. More important than the four-movement design are the characters of the movements, which give rise to as-sociations with past music: an introductory movement of a tender character (Andantino con tenerezza), a dance-like second one (Vivacissimo molto ritmico), a march-like third (Alla Marcia) and a lament finale. One feels reminded, on the one hand, of Beethoven’s chamber music and, on the other, of the symphon-ic tradition of Late Romanticism, of Mahler and Tchaikovsky. “Retrospec-tive” is, secondly, the formal design of the movements. The first and third movements, to one’s surprise, are constructed according to the all-too-familiar A-B-A’ schema (with a varied recapitulation); the second movements has the markings of an ostinato, and the finale suggests the scaffolding of a passacaglia. About the musical language of his Horn Trio, Ligeti, in an interview with Monika Lichtenfeld, thought that it was “different” from that of his earlier works: the melodic lines were “developed far more strongly as independent shapes.”235 And to Ulrich Dibelius he said on July 15, 1983: “My music should become much more melodic, in a kind of non-diatonic diatonicism.”236 The subterraneous strands that connect the Horn Trio with the tradition light up in a flash when one looks more closely at some facets of the musical sub-stance, that is, some of the idiomatic turns, from which a part of the melody in the two outer movements springs. Of special significance in this respect are, on the one hand, the horn fifth model and, on the other, the lamenting chromaticism. The most distinguished historical example of the horn fifth model occurs, of course, in Beethoven’s E-flat major sonata Les Adieux op 81a (Ex. 22).

Ex. 22: Beethoven, “Les Adieux” op. 81a

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Ligeti unequivocally refers to that work, but uses the model in a significant transformation, which he calls a “skewed variant” (schiefe Variante). “A melod-ic-harmonic germ”, he wrote in a commentary for the premiere – “major third (g-b), tritone (eb-a), minor sixth (c-ab) in descending succession, a ‘skewed’ variant of the ‘horn fifth’ – is developed in all four movements into transparent, metrically complex polyphonic structures”237 (Ex. 23).

Ex. 23 “Horn Trio”: Skewed variant of he horn fifths

It is symptomatic for Ligeti’s delight in variation that the model appears in a further transformation at the beginning of the Lament finale (Ex. 24).

Ex. 24 Lament finale – additional transformation of the horn fifth

In speaking of retrospective traits in the Horn Trio, one must not forget the lamenting chromaticism of the concluding passacaglia. Ligeti treats it in a new, very imaginative way so as to create a very moving “dirge.” When he spoke with Ulrich Dibelius about the movement in 1983,238 he referred to his-torical models: the Lament Bass and madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi, and the concluding lament of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Several years later, he remarked to Denys Bouliane that, for all his love of the lament bass, he had been impressed rather by the Romanian dirges, the so-called Bocet. They were, he said, structured somewhat differently than the [Romanian improvisa-tional folksong type] Hora lunga, though often similar in both style and ex-pression.239 One last retrospective element in the Trio is its marked cyclical conception. There are conspicuous links between the four movements. The skewed vari-ant of the horn fifth model that sets the character of the opening movement recurs reminiscence-like in the second (mm. 273-276) and third (mm. 49-52, 65/66 and 66/67, here always on the piano), as well as repeatedly, in charac-teristic variants, in the Finale, including several times toward the end. In the recapitulation of the Alla Marcia movement, moreover, the horn picks up the signal-like motifs from the first movement.

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How are we to interpret these symptoms? In an interview Ligeti gave eleven years after the completion of the Horn Trio, he called the work a “provocative-ly ‘conservative’ piece”, even as “a piece in opposition to the established norms of the avant-garde.” The mainspring in creating the work, he said, was the “Épater l’avant-garde”, as he had dared to write A-B-A forms and melo-dies – which was chalked up against him as treason.240 To understand these statements fully, one has to remember that, in their striv-ing for a total renewal of musical language, the serialists also were anxious to create new forms and concerned about the “open work of art.” They criti-cized the fact that Schönberg had based his dodecaphonic works on such tra-ditional forms as the sonata and the rondo. Thus one can understand that Li-geti’s turning to melody and to elementary musical forms was bound to stun adherents of the erstwhile Avant-Garde. We must not, however, interpret Ligeti’s stylistic reorientation in the early ‘eighties as being regressive. What he had in mind, he protested in the conver-sation with Monika Lichtenfeld, was by no means a retrospective glance at the late 19th century.241 If one studies the Horn Trio in detail, one can observe em-bryonic compositional innovations that Ligeti was to develop fully in subse-quent works. To these innovations we will now give our special attention. Most conspicuous in the Andantino con tenerezza is the regularity of the overall formal structure. The symmetry of the A-B-A’ design (the recapitulation is strongly varied, above all rhythmically) extends also to the pronounced period formation – something new in Ligeti. While the outer parts are each com-posed of four clearly delimited periods, the shorter B part consists of three periods. A mark of the movement is the echo technique, the old question-and-answer game, which is realized in a completely new, poetic manner. Each of the four periods in the outer parts bears the imprint of four signal-like horn calls, with the third call being answered by an echo-like passage of the now stopped horn. The part of the violin, though quite independent in sub-stance, is similar in structure: the echoic passages are to be bowed sul tasto [over the fingerboard], flautando.

A matter apart is the threefold change in tempo in the B part: three times a Piú mosso ( = 112) alternates with a section a tempo ( = 110). Decidedly echo-ic passages are absent from this part. However, there is something echo-like about the interjections of the leading horn in the a tempo passages. The man-ner in which the end of the B part coincides with the beginning of the reca-pitulation is extraordinarily artful, and it is precisely at this point that we en-

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counter rudiments of a poly-temporality – an idea that would fascinate Ligeti later on: the violin and the horn here play in a different tempo ( = 100) than the piano ( = 112). Incidentally, as the sketches make unmistakably clear, Li-geti originally planned to base the finale of the trio on both a polymetric and a “polytemporal” structure. The following meters and metronomic notations were provisionally assigned to the three instruments: violin 5/4 = 75; horn 3/2 = 40; piano 4/4 = 60 – a plan, to be sure, that was to undergo major modifications. The second movement (Vivacissimo molto ritmico) can, to begin with, be called a study in polymetrics. Ligeti’s commentary for the premiere states:

The second movement is a very fast, polymetric dance, inspired by di-verse kinds of folk music of non-existent ethnicities, as though Hun-gary, Romania and the entire Balkans were situated somewhere be-tween Africa and the Caribbean. The movement exhibits a complex hemiolic formation, similar to the hemiolas in Schumann and Chopin, due to the distribution of the basic pulse of eight beats into 3 + 2 + 3, 3 + 3 + 2, etc. Since different distributions always sound simultane-ously in the three instruments, the result is a very rich polymetric structure.

The movement is, moreover, an invention on the ostinato, whose character of a perpetuum mobile is a predominantly diatonic, ascending figures of eighths, played, in diverse variants, almost without interruption. If one focus-es on the treatment of this rhythmic ostinato, the following division of the movement becomes visible and audible: Mm. 1-10 : Introduction 11-144 : A part (the ostinato figure beginning on c sounds unchanged initially 92 times and then 39 times) 145-225 : B part (mm. 169-79 the figure with d, mm. 191-224 with a#) 226-269 : A’ part (mm. 226-248 the figure with c, mm. 249-262 with g) 270-272 : General pause 273-294 : Coda (with the horn fifth model of the first movement) For the melodic structure of the Vivacissimo, two twelve-tone rows are deci-sive. The notes of which they consist are constantly given different rhythms and accents, and at times are also combined in dyads and chords or clusters, so that in listening one will most likely not perceive the individual executions

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of the rows as “variants.” The first row (f c d e f# a# c# d# g a b g#), played by the right hand of the pianist, is heard in mm. 15 ff. and later in mm. 226 ff. at the beginning of the recapitulation. The other row (e d f# f db eb bb c g b a g#), intoned initially in mm. 27 ff. by the violin, is taken over by the left hand of the pianist in mm. 75 ff. The first two movements of the Horn Trio form the greatest contrast imagina-ble to each other. If in conceiving the Andantino con tenerezza Ligeti had the idea “of a far distant, tender and melancholy music” in mind, the Vivacissimo molto ritmico, bearing as it does, the expression marks “dashing, sparkling, light, dance-like, floating”, strikes one as quasi impish. The earliest sketches for the Horn Trio (dated December 1981) tellingly include the catch words Jekel (Hungarian for symbol) Puck - Oberon – evidently an allusion to Shakespeare’s Midsummer-Night’s Dream. Would it be too much to say that the Andantino re-fers to the King of the Elves (whose instrument is the magic horn), the Vi-vacissimo to the fabulous goblin of the comedy? The third movement of the Horn Trio, Alla Marcia, invariably makes the same impression on the listener: its outer parts, very energetically intoned, sharply rhythmic, and sounding both hard and dissonant (cross-grained), make for a strong contrast to the evenly flowing, homophonic, mellow and consonant-seeming middle part (Piú mosso).The march-like parts are also more interesting in terms of compositional technique, inasmuch as in them Ligeti tries out two procedures that will become virulent in his later music: the procedures of iso-rhythmy and of metric displacement. It may sound paradoxical, but one can comprehend the construction of the march-like parts more easily if one calls to mind the technical principles of the isorhythmical motets of the 14th and 15th century, the Talea and the Color. The parts are each 30 measures in length and are divided into ten isorhythmic periods (taleae), all of which have the same rhythmic structure (Ex. 25).

Ex. 25 3rd movement, “Alla Marcia”: isorhythmic period

This rhythmic model recurs ten times unchanged in the piano part, though each time implemented with different sounds. How complex the construction is, to be sure, one begins to realize once one takes the violin part into ac-

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count. Piano and violin initially “march” in lockstep, but from m. 11 on, the violin begins to “limp.” Its part is dislocated at first by one sixteenth, then (at m. 17) by two, and at m. 23 by three sixteenths. The result is an ingenious canon, greatly confusing to the listener – that, too, may explain the impres-sion of contrariness the music evokes. The emotional climax of the work is the Lament-Adagio – a movement of which Josef Häusler rightly remarked that nowhere else in Ligeti has grief, pain and resignation been sung out so undisguisedly.242 Here is Ligeti’s own commentary on the finale:

Whereas the first three movements are mainly diatonic, the conclud-ing movement is a chromatic variant of the previous ones, in the form of a passacaglia. A five-bar harmonic model – a variant of the horn fifth germ – provides the scaffolding, while descending chromatic me-lodic formations are the lianas that increasingly grow through the scaf-folding, until the sequence of five chords is completely dissolved. A very gradually occurring dramatic intensification in the growth of the “weeping and lamenting” melodic lianas provides the basis of this formal process. This intensification leads to the transformation of the piano into a percussion instrument. The echo of this imaginary, gigan-tic drum lingers in the pedal tones of the horn; the horn-fifth germ al-so echoes as a reminiscence in the piano and the violin, but is oddly defamiliarized - the photo of a landscape that has meanwhile gone up in nothingness.

The movement commences pianissimo and closes moriendo a niente. The “dra-matic intensification” referred to by the composer takes the form of a tre-mendous crescendo poco a poco (mm. 52-76), with the piano here and there be-ing treated as a percussion instrument. The expression marks are telling: mit äußerster Wildheit, schwarz (with extreme wildness, black) (mm. 71-73) and quasi tamburo (drum) (m. 72). The conclusion (from m. 77 on) evokes a sense of vacuum: while long-held, lowest pedal tones are played by the horn, the canti-lenas of the violin are located in the highest registers. The more closely one studies the Horn Trio, the more distinctly emerge the traits that point to the future. The techniques of polymetrics, polytemporality, of the ostinato, of isorhythm and metric displacement developed here occur repeatedly again in later works. And Ligeti will have recourse to the type of the lamento movement in both his sixth Etude and in the Piano as well as the Violin Concerto. The composition of the Horn Trio was commissioned by Hamburg’s Hauni Works, with a glance at Johannes Brahms, the great son of the Hanseatic city

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In the previously cited commentary, Ligeti wrote: I dedicated by Horn Trio as an homage to Johannes Brahms, whose Horn Trio floats in the musical heaven as the incomparable instance of this genre of chamber music. There are, however, neither quota-tions from nor influences by Brahmsian music in my piece – my trio was written in the late twentieth century and is, in construction and expression, music of our time.

2.14 Notes on the Hölderlin Fantasies “Why I picked Hölderlin: he is a favorite poet, and not only to me. But for the ‘composing’ I actually chose the poetic fragments because of their wonderful imagery and their emo-tional aura. […] Some phrases I have treated in a ‘madrigal-esque’ manner, for example the wind onomatopoeia in “Hälfte des Lebens” [Midlife]. In the “Abendphantasie,” an association with Altdorfer’s Alexanderschlacht [Battle of Al-exander at Issus], its grandiose scenery of cloud formations with the sun’s rays breaking through them, also played a role: that may be an altogether arbitrary association of mine; I do not know whether Hölderlin ever saw the Alexan-derschlacht.”243

Friedrich Hölderlin’s richly reflective lyricism has not nearly been set to music as often as, say, Goethe’s, Mörike’s or Eichendorff’s. That is owing to its ele-vated diction, the high demands it makes on the reader, its wilful syntax and its partly abstract content – certainly not to a dearth of musical qualities: its pronounced sonority is rightly celebrated. Since the ‘seventies the interest in Hölderlin has become more intense again, which may explain Ligeti’s turn toward him. His choice of the poems on which he based the Drei Phantasien he dedicated to Eric Ericson is, to say it at the outset, a most felicitous one. The three poems fit as well together as if they constituted a cycle. Central to them is the contrast between illusion and truth, between appearance and reali-ty, between a happy past and a painful present. Idyllic, visionary verses alter-nate with agonized eruptions. The dominant theme is the solitude of the homeless, whom winter and age await. Ligeti also proved to be skillful in abridging the poems. In “Hälfte des Le-bens” (Midlife) he dropped two lines, “Wenn aus der Ferne” (When from afar) and “Abendphantasie” he shortened by about one half, deleting portions that speak less to us today. And the overall title of the choruses, Phantasien, clearly refers not to any structural aspects of the compositions, which are put together with remarkable rigor, but to the imagery of the poems.

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The Three Fantasies, composed in 1982, are written for 16-voice, mixed, unac-companied chorus (4 sopraos, 4 altos, 4 tenors and 4 basses). Having thus the same cast as Ligeti’s Lux aeterna, they suggest a comparison with the earlier work of 1966. Such a juxtaposition, however, will yield more differences than likenesses. Although in the Phantasien Ligeti remains faithful to micropolyph-ony – a basic principle of his work – he treats it in a new, original manner. He also makes use of additional techniques. Altogether, one thus has to speak of new conceptions. The fundamental differences to Lux aeterna can be grouped into four points:

1. In Lux aeterna, the voice-leading is for the most part strictly canonic: chordal passages occur only exceptionally. In the first and third of the Phantasien, on the other hand, canonic and chordal parts are evenly bal-anced.

2. As paradoxical as it may sound, micropolyphony in Lux aeterna serves the formation of expanses of sound and the transformational tech-nique. A listener who does not have a score in hand will hardly notice the canonic texture of the voices. The technique of canonic interweav-ing creates novel “harmonies”, which become gradually dim and then clear up again. By contrast, the horizontal, linear dimension is more prominent in the Phantasien, as well as more clearly perceptible.

3. The chief idea of Lux aeterna, according to Ligeti’s own statement, was “the idea, translated into musical forms, of the ‘eternal light’.”244 In the Phantasien, on the other hand, Ligeti seeks to do justice to the changing images of the poems. The structural diversity reveals itself as a mirror image of the contrasting expressive color values.

4. The musical structure of the Phatasien is substantially more complex than that of Lux aeterna. In the three choruses, Ligeti is not content with the chromatic possibilities of the tempered scale, but frequently al-so takes in quarter tones, which function as transitional notes. Even more symptomatic is the preferential leading of the voices in con-trasting blocks: strictly canonic voice combinations often overlap with differently structured ones. Micropolyphony is, as it were, coupled with, or grounded in, individual voices or else more chordal formations.

Hölderlin’s poem “Hälfte des Lebens” is composed of two antithetical stan-zas. The first stanza conjures up the idyllic image of a lake landscape with yel-low pears, wild roses and graceful swans; the second gives expression to the fear of winter, which drives the already solitary speaker into total isolation: “The walls stand speechless and cold, the weathervanes shriek in the storm

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blast.” The setting takes this antithesis into account; more, it artfully makes explicit the drama only implied in the poem. The idyllic picture of the begin-ning is portrayed in downright impressionistic soft focus (dolcissino, later espres-sivo and caloroso). Then, in mm. 13-16, when the canonically led women’s voic-es tell of the kiss-drunk swans, there follows a brief, but very intense agogic (accelerando) and dynamic (crescendo) heightening, at whose climax the tenors and, one bar later, the basses burst out “Weh’ mir!” (Woe is me!) in triple forte (tutta la forza). Most of the lines in the second stanza are then strictly chordal in multiple forte. One exception is the phrase “im Winde” (in the wind), which Ligeti emphasizes quasi with tone-painting or onomatopoeia and treats almost in concertante fashion: on both syllables of the word “Winde” he erects an eight-voice canon twenty bars in length (mm. 29-48), which describes an “un-folding or moving form.” The motif starts on the small a-sharp and rises like an ascending vortex in dynamic crescendo higher and higher until all of the women’s voices reach the two-line c. The concluding words “klirren die Fahnen” (clatter the vanes) are set homophonically again, with the two final cords to be recited “like two shrieks, but in exact pitch.” “Wenn aus der Ferne” tells the story of a tender love that ends in separation. The first eleven stanzas revel in memories of a happy past. Only the twelfth (penultimate) stanza brings the painful admission: “Ah, woe is me, those were such lovely days. But mournful twilight followed thereafter.” Knowing, as we do, of Ligeti’s predilection for the idea of music from afar (e.g., in Lontano), one can well imagine that the poem would appeal to him largely because of its first line. Within the Three Fantasies, this second one (Andante con tenerezza) rep-resents the slow movement. The basic mood of the composition, correspond-ing to that of the poem, is soft. At only one point (mm. 46-48), the outburst “Ach, wehe mir”, does Ligeti set quasi dramatic accents. The form of the composition is eminently polyphonic: the piece receives its characteristic physiognomy from multi-voiced canonic structures and the counterpoint of the vocal blocks described. Ligeti’s method occasionally reminds of the old contrapuntal motet, in which it was customary to base every line of the text on a separate “theme” and to treat it canonically. Typically for Ligeti, howev-er, the “themes”, which at first sight seem so independent, turn out, upon closer inspection, to be ingenious rhythmic and intervallic variants of an ur-model, as Ex. 26 will illustrate. That explains why the passage “es waren schöne Tage” (mm. 49 ff.) after the “wehe mir” sounds almost like a recapitu-lation.

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Ex. 26 Second Fantasy, “Wenn aus der Ferne”: a core in five themes

The poem “Abendphantasie” owes its title to the dream that spring might blossom in the evening sky, and the wish that in the golden world of the pur-ple clouds love and sorrow might dissolve into light and air for the tortured speaker. But once gain the wishful thinking proves to be illusory: “But, as if chased by such foolish asking, the magic flees; darkness falls, and lonely under the heavens, as ever, am I.” In setting this text Ligeti followed every sugges-tion of the poem. Lines and single words are interpreted according to their semantics, poetic images are transmuted into musical ones. Compositional technique, preferred pitch level, dynamics, agogic, expression – everything is engaged in the service of interpreting the text. Chordal and canonical passages frequently take turns, and in the canonical ones Ligeti is fond of letting each voice enter a half-tone higher (mm. 4-11, 40-42). Individual words, such as dark, youth, cheerful, age, are given emphasis by diverse means. The word “purpurne” (purple) receives a concertante treatment similar to that of the words “im Winde” in the first fantasy. “Common” sounds are at times re-placed by falsetto ones. As in the first fantasy, the agogic is subject to drastic changes. Several expression marks correspond to the image content. Thus the recitation of the strongly alliterative lines “und möge droben in Licht und Luft zerrinnen mir Lieb und Leid!” (and may up there dissolve in light and air both love and pain) is to be “dancelike effusive.” The chorus closes, to be sure, morendo in a low bass region. Complex and dense structure, rich tonal imagination and subtle textual inter-pretation beyond all doubt make these three Hölderlin settings rank high within Ligeti’s overall vocal oeuvre.

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2.15 Construction and Imagination: Principles of the Piano Etudes “My ideal of piano music – and probably the ideal of all pia-nists – is embodied in Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, but also in much of the earlier piano music, e.g. Scarlatti. The distin-guishing mark of this genuine piano music is that the musical structures seem to emerge immediately from the keys and the position of the ten fingers, that is to say, are not developed abstractly but are derived quite sensuously from depressing the keys.”

“In reality, piano music is my main area. For the piano etudes, the sound worlds of Debussy and Ravel played a ma-jor role […] although my piano etudes are not at all Cho-pinesque or Lisztean, and not Debussy-like either.”245

“In the piano etudes, too, there are things that are based on the European tradition, especially that of the 19th century; to be precise, my great love for the piano music of Schumann and Chopin and the concept of the hemiola – not only 3 x 2 and 2 x 3 but diverse other asymmetric hemiolic formations – with the so-called Bulgarian rhythms, which Bartók has used in the Mikrokosmos, the Southeast European folk music gen-erally, and my knowledge of salsa from the Caribbean and samba from Brazil playing a role as well. Yet you will find in the piano etudes neither folkloristic material nor really Chopin-Schumann-Brahmsian 19th century. The entire sphere of Schumann-Chopin, plus ethnic cultures like folklore from Latin America, genuinely African ethnic music and Nancar-row – all that has somehow been amalgamated and formed into something entirely different.”246

In seeking to account for the enormous popularity of Ligeti’s piano etudes, written between 1985 and 1994, one has to consider that, besides their origi-nality and expressivity, they reflect, perhaps more clearly than his other works, the tradition of the genre. What exactly is their position in the history of the piano etude? If we trace the evolution of the genre in the 19th and 20th century, we are con-fronted mainly with two different conceptions. The piano etudes of Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann are conspicuous for their concer-tante style and their demanding musical content. They do not just serve the

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perfecting of pianistic skill but have musical value per se. By contrast, a num-ber of 20th century composers were bent on dealing with both pianistic and compositional problems. In other words, they regarded the etude as an “exer-cise” for themselves, in which they sought to set up a certain compositional problem and to solve it adequately. Thus defined, the etude represents a chal-lenge to the discipline and the ability of the composer – the challenge of bringing a maximum of art to bear on more or less limited tone material. It is in this sense that we have to understand the Douze Études of Claude De-bussy and a number of the pieces in Béla Barók’s Mikrokosmos, all of which are conceived as inventions on individual intervals – e.g., the second or the seventh. Olivier Messiaen’s Quatre Études de Rythme, which center on diverse rhythmic problems, belong in this category as well. Ligeti’s etudes are to be viewed against this background. Considering the enormous technical demands they make on the player, it makes sense to de-scribe them as a kind of Gradus ad Parnassum for master pianists. At the same time, however, they constitute a kind of compendium of Ligeti’s more recent compositional techniques. Each etude represents, as it were, the solution of a certain compositional problem, mainly tone-systematic, polymetric, poly-rhythmic ones, besides others. Some etudes, like the second and the eighth, can be described as inventions on a specific interval – the fifth. In many oth-ers, Ligeti works with note material fixed in advance. For some time he thought of calling the pieces Études polymétriques or polyrythmiques, but he aban-doned the idea, evidently because the designation appeared rather narrow to him. Except for the tenth etude (“Der Zauberlehrling” – The Sorcerer’s Appren-tice), all of them bear French titles – a homage to the renowned Liszt and Debussy tradition (significantly, the sketches contain references to Chopin’s opus 10, Liszt’s “Campanella” etude and Debussy’s “Pagodes”). The titles al-lude to musical and poetic themes as well as to technical concepts. The syn-aesthetic relations so typical of Ligeti’s music obtain here as well. In January of 1993, Ligeti disclosed to me that the two volumes of etudes were designed cyclically, with contrary conclusions. While the sixth etude “Automne à Varsovie”) was a somber piece, which ended on a plunge into the abyss, he said, the final one was to conclude with a radiant section, a kind of paradisiacal vision. After various rearrangements, to be discussed below, he realized this conception. Interestingly enough, the titles “Désordre, “Vertige” and “Joie” appear in the left margin on the first page of the facsimile clean copy of the Études pour piano.247 “Désordre” is the definitive title of the first

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etude, “Vertige” that of the ninth. “Joie”, however, certainly circumscribes the poetic and emotional climate of the last etude. Ligeti began work on the First Etude in November of 1984. His notes in the sketches reveal a great deal about the original conception of the piece. Of primary importance are the headings En blanc et noir and Pulsation. En blanc et noir refers to the piano keyboard and means that the right hand of the pianist is to play on the white keys and the left on the black ones. In mu-sicological terms, the tonal system of the etude can be defined as a combina-tion of the seven-note diatonic scale (b - c - d - e - f - g – a) and the (anhemi-tonic) pentatonic one (d# - f# - g# - a# - c#). The listener perceives this com-bination as a suspension of the equal temperament.

The term Pulsation indicates that Ligeti started with the idea of a continuously pulsating music. The asymmetrical rhythmic division of 5/8 (= 3 + 2) + 7/8 (= 3 + 4) was to have served originally as the model for this pulsation. The definitive version of the etude, however, is distinguished by an enormous pol-yrhythmic complexity and differs fundamentally from this relatively simple rhythmic order. Thus one can understand why Ligeti eventually dropped the title Pulsation, even Pulsation irregulière, and gave his piece the title Désordre. The disorder and chaos suggested by the definitive title result from the im-mensely complex rhythmic conditions. At the beginning – for three bars – both hands play the same rhythm: 3/8 plus 5/8. But already in the fourth measure, the voices diverge. The figuration of the right hand counts seven, that of the left eight, eighths. The result is a rhythmic canon between the two voices: at first at an interval of one eighth, then of two and later of three eighths (Ex. 27).

Ex. 27 “First Etude for Piano”: rhythmic canon

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The melody set in octaves in the right hand forms the “theme” of the etude, which is sequenced fourteen times, each time a half-tone higher, so that the fourteen theme repetitions traverse exactly two octaves.248 A more detailed analysis of the resulting fourteen periods will yield instructive observations about design and structure of the piece. The first three periods are of the same length, numbering 109, 108 and 109 eighths. In the fourth period, a rhythmic heightening commences, and in the seventh period a dynamic one (crescendo from single to triple forte). At the same time, the periods become shorter: 4th period = 80 eighths, 5th and 6th period = 42 eighths each, 7th peri-od = 41 eighths, 8th period = 39 eighths, 9th period = 37 eighths, 10th period = 29 eighths. The climax of the etude is an sfff in m. 98.The immediately fol-lowing second part proceeds at the forte level without dynamic modification and comprises three periods of approximately equal length and a fourth shorter one: 11th period = 113 eighths, 12th period = 112 eighths, 13th period = 112 eighths, 14th period =- 93 eighths. Like many of Ligeti’s pieces, Désordre, too, exhibits a quasi stereometric shape. The tonal expanse with which the piece commences is located in the middle region of the diapason and then gradually opens in both directions: while the right hand occupies the tonal realm up to the extreme height, the left take possession of the lower region down to the lowest depth. This opening of the pitch range goes hand in hand with the noted tonal heightening. A second, shorter development starts at m. 98. Here, too, the hands drift apart, though no longer as strongly. Only in the last two bars, where the music fades away, they move parallel. Whenever one listens to Désordre, associations with extra-European music crop up, which Ligeti no doubt had in mind, as the sketches contain refer-ences to the heterophony of the Banda Linda and to gamelan music. The Second Etude, Cordes vides, can be called an invention on the fifth. The construction of the piece is based from the first to the last note on the fifth interval. What is especially admirable here is the inventiveness of the compos-er, who organizes the entire tonal universe according to the principle of the fifth, without for one moment lapsing into monotony. The piece gains its élan from its highly differentiated polyrhythmic organiza-tion. As a sketch that extends to only a few measures indicates, Ligeti original-ly thought of superimposing the meters 6/7 and 7/8. The final version exhib-its far more complex relations. A “remnant” of the original conception sur-vives, however, insofar as in the first nine bars, the articulation of the se-quences of fifths in the left hand suggests a latent 7/8 meter, while the right

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hand prefers a variety of groupings, namely, “motifs” consisting of 6 + 6 + 4 + 9 + 5 + 6 + 4 + 6 + 7 + 7 + 4 + 8 eighths (Ex. 28).

Ex. 28 “Second Etude for Piano”: polyrhythm

Another essential aspect of the piece’s rhythmic complexity is the gradual rhythmic acceleration that commences in m. 12 and reaches its climax in mm. 29-32, after which the rhythmic current issues into a fully composed ritardan-do. This acceleration of the rhythmic momentum, however, is not uniform but proceeds, as it were, in two strands, as the following outline will show: mm. 1-11 eighths in both hands 12-21 eighths in one hand, triplet eighths in the other 21-23 triplet eighths in one hand, triplet sixteenths in the other 24 triplet sixteenths in both hands 25-29 sixteenths in one hand, triplet sixteenths in the other 29-32 eighths, triplet eighths and triplet sixteenths in the left hand, cascade-like figurations of thirty-seconds in the right 32-38 fully composed ritardando

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The piece contains also some poetic references that are worth noting. In the above-mentioned sketch, it bears the title Quintes and in brackets the heading Cordes vides, meaning essentially “open strings”, a reference to the tuning of the violin and the viola, which in mm. 11-14 is actually alluded to in dotted eighths (dotted eighths do not occur anywhere else in the etude). Then, at the end of the piece, we hear a seemingly distant horn-like signal (cantabile, quasi un corno da lontano) and immediately thereafter, as though as a reminiscence, again the unstopped strings of the violin and viola – significant allusions cre-ating a subliminal connection to the Horn Trio. Touches bloquées, the Third Etude, is an invention on a specific pianistic tech-nique, that of the “mobile key blocking”, which Henning Siedentopf devel-oped,249 that is, the silent depressing and holding of certain keys. The basis of the first section of this tripartite etude consists of diverse long, for the most part chromatically rising and falling eighths figures. What makes this figuration unusual is that certain notes in it, which are fully written out, are not sounded, since certain keys are blocked. The result is frequent short rests and hence an irregular, intricate, capricious rhythm, which accounts for the enormous charm of this music. The middle section – Poco meno presto (ma presto assai, impetuoso) – stands in starkest imaginable contrast to the outer parts. It is dominated by shorter fig-ures of two to five notes that are separated by caesuras and are to be per-formed in unison with isolated characteristic grating seconds (Reibesekunden). Moreover, the technique of the mobile key blockage is altogether absent. The Fourth Etude, suggestively entitled Fanfare, is actually a study of the osti-nato. An unchanging figure, consisting of the notes c - d - e - f - f# - g# - a# - b and metered in the Bulgarian-rhythm of 3 + 2 + 3 eighths, runs throughout the piece, recurring in 208 of the altogether 212 bars. This ostinato is dotted by “fanfares” – fanfare-like “melodic phrases” (as Ligeti calls them in the fac-simile autograph), which frequently remind of trumpet and horn signals, and all of which are developed from a distorted horn fifth model (Ex. 29). The tension of this Etude results not only from the differing lengths of the ostinato figures and the horn fifth models– the former consist of eight eighths, the latter of eleven – but also from the artfulness, with which the lat-ter is treated. It undergoes countless metamorphoses, appears in ever new variants, which, though similar to each other, are never alike. The variations in the model involve both the diastematic (intervallic) and the rhythmic com-ponent, as well as the number of voices. Thus it resounds in a two-voice ver-sion at the beginning, later (mm. 63 ff) in a three-voice, and following that

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(mm. 75 ff.) in a monophonic one; in m. 88, then, another two-voice version enters. As for rhythmic changes, the model is both diminished and augment-ed, reduced to five or seven eighths (mm. 146 ff. and mm. 116 ff., respective-ly) and then again enlarged to 14 and 20 eighths (mm. 188 ff.); in addition it also gets furnished with “prefixes” and addenda.

Ex. 29 “Fourth Etude for Piano”: ostinato plus horn fifths

Of special importance in this Etude is the illusion of spatial perspective. Since the ostinato remains mostly in the “background”, the fanfare-like motifs come to the fore. At the very beginning of the etude, we find the note: “Dy-namic balance: always emphasize the melodic phrases, the ostinato always remains in the background.” The distance, to be sure, from which one hears the fanfare motifs, does not remain constant but varies. They sound from afar (da lontano, mm. 116 and 202), “closer” (m. 123), “farther off” (m. 130) and very close (mm. 187-201) – spatial illusions evoked largely by the dynamic, which extends between multiple piano and multiple forte. Ligeti’s sketches for the Fourth Etude and his first complete autograph of the composition enable us to realize that from the start he connected the idea of a homage à Bartók with the conception of the Fanfares, vascillating, as he did, be-tween entitling the piece Fanfares or Bartoque pour fêter Bartók. Interestingly enough, two related ideas are notated in an early draft: one is headed Fanfares, the other, Bartoque, exhibits Bartokisms, that is, an accumulation of those Reibesekunden so characteristic of Bartók’s “savage” style. And it seems telling in this connection that Ligeti originally thought of supplying the first and fourth notes of the ostinato figure with such seconds. Ex. 130 shows the be-ginning of the discarded sketch, in which a particularly striking aspect is that

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the fanfare motifs in the right hand are embedded in a 7/8 meter, in contrast to the octal rhythm of the ostinato (Ex. 30).

Ex. 30 Sketch for the “Fourth Etude for Piano”: proximity to Bartók

In a conversation Ligeti had with Denys Bouliane in 1987, he thought that his new composition contained, besides “almost Stravinsky- and Webern-like” objective pieces also very “emotional” ones, naming as representatives of the two types Désordre, the first, and Arc-en-ciel, the fifth etude, the latter a piece, he said, that built a kind of bridge between Chopin and jazz.250 The observa-tion appears plausible in light of the fact that this Andante molto rubato is an ex-traordinarily sensitive and expressive piece rich in mellow sounds, which is to be recited con eleganza, with swing, dolce, con tenerezza, sempre legato and molto espres-sivo. A close look at the piece indeed reveals an affinity, on the one hand, with Chopin, the first number of whose Etudes opus 10 seems to have been in the composer’s mind in conceiving his own etude, and on the other, with the sty-listic world of a sentimental kind of jazz fond of seventh chords of every stripe. A painstaking study of the harmonics of Arc-en-ciel will certainly find that it is frequently based on a layering of thirds, though one could not speak of any kind of inherent regularity. It is also notable in this connection that one repeatedly encounters jazzy triads-with-sixte-ajoutée (m. 11, left hand, first sixteenths; m. 19 first eighths, m. 21 right hand, first sixteenths). As for the rhythmic organization of the etude, one might be tempted to call the piece a study of the hemiola. While the right hand orients itself on the 3/4 meter, the left hand goes with a 6/8 beat (Ex. 31).

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Ex. 31 “Fifth Etude for Piano”: hemiolas

This simple proportion, however, forms no more than the frame of a compo-sition that attains a high degree of complexity – and not only in a rhythmic respect. Arc-en-ciel- presents an outstanding example of how Ligeti departs form his own rules and creates complicated relations by means of countless irregularities, including triplets, quintuplets and sextuplets in the right hand and above all syncopated formations, which in mm. 3/4, 9/10 and 17/18 suggest a 3/8 meter. The spatial shape is no less instructive. The piece begins piano as a relatively narrow tonal band in the higher register, then gradually captures the entire tonal space, attains the greatest fullness of sound in the middle and concludes in the higher register, the music quasi vanishing into the highest height. The volume relations likewise reveal a systematic disposition. The dynamic climax of the 23-bar piece, a triple forte, occurs exactly in the middle, i.e., in mm. 11/12. Several suddenly broken-off crescendos determine the musical scene in both the first and the second half, but with a difference. Whereas each new crescendo in the first half exceeds the preceding one in intensity, the tendency of the second half is mostly retrograde, This, too, makes the piece appear somehow arc-like. The rainbow is at once a natural phenomenon, an aesthetic image and a sym-bol. In the Old Testament, it serves as the sign of God’s covenant with man (Gen. 9:1-17), as a symbol of peace and reconciliation. Among 20th-century

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composers, Olivier Messiaen had a special predilection for the image of the seven-colored bow: Arc-en-ciel is a title that occurs repeatedly in his works.251 The question whether the rainbow image in Ligeti has a symbolic connotation beyond its aesthetic fascination must remain open. About Automne à Varsovie we have Ligeti’s own detailed comments,252 in which he hinted that he regarded the piece as the most important, along with Désordre, among the etudes of the first volume. In a conversation with Detlef Gojowy, he called it both “a lament piece” and a fugue253 - a rather terse commentary that supplies only a first aid in orientation. Closer analysis reveals that it applies a whole series of original technical ideas.

Of prime importance is a very fast pulsating movement of sixteenths, mostly in octaves or note repetitions – a motion that only in the middle stops out for a few bars (mm. 55-61). Owing to the great speed of the basic pulse – the ex-pression mark reads Presto cantabile, molto ritmico e flessibile = 144 – the tonal fields generated will mostly be perceived as tonal expanses by the listener. Such expanses are formed at the beginning by the tonal background, against which the lament theme is set off, and, at the beginning of the second part (mm. 62 ff.), a kind of overarching tonal foreground. The division of the piece is conspicuously symmetrical, each half numbering 61 bars. Lament themes play a surprisingly large role in Ligeti’s later work. Laments occur in the Horn Trio as well as in the Piano and the Violin Concerto, and the Sixth Etude here under discussion is labeled “great lament” (nagy lamento) in the drafts. The theme, which is modified time and again, consists primarily of descending half- and whole-tone intervals, but occasionally also exhibits as-cending intervals, which are frequently furnished with a sforzato mark. The sorrowful character of the music is unmistakable – not surprisingly the sketches contain the characterizing notes dolente and molto dolente. Automne à Varsovie can be compared to a fugue insofar as the theme is treated in an imaginatively polyphonic manner. Except for the tonal fields and some mixtures (parallel chords), the composition is written in one, two, three and even four voices. After repeated intonation in the descant, the theme is then taken over by the bass (mm. 13-15) and later by one of the middle voices (mm. 18-20). Yet the etude differs fundamentally from the traditional fugue insofar as the lament theme is transformed melodically as well as rhythmically – not to mention that the thematic entrances do not occur at certain intervals fixed in advance. At the outset, for example, the lament theme follows a five-pulse rhythm, that is to say, the distance between the individual notes of the melody measures five pulses. When the theme reappears in the middle voice

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(mm. 18-20), it is diminished to a three-pulse schema. Since the listener will not be able to perceive the 5 : 3 ratio precisely, he seems to hear a slower and a faster melody. The result is something new and original: the illusion of mul-tiple tempo levels – something one could also call “polytempics” or poly-temporality. On the basis of this principle, Ligeti superimposes up to four dif-ferent tempos. In the course of the etude, the lament theme undergoes every conceivable treatment. It appears in its original form and in contrary motion, gets dimin-ished and augmented. Characteristically, the diminutions and augmentations are based not on half or double note values but mostly on prime number proportions such as 11 : 7, 7 : 5 and 5 : 3. In mm. 99 ff., for example, we en-counter the ratio 7 : 5 : 4. The inverted theme in the tenor range has the sev-en-pulse rhythm, the theme in the alto the five- pulse and the theme in the descant the four-pulse rhythm. Conceived on July 11, 1985 and dedicated to Ligeti’s Polish friends, the sixth etude, as the composer himself pointed out, has a political connotation. More plainly than the final title Automne a Varsovie, the rejected titles Étude de Varso-vie and Automne de Varsovie indicate that the piece refers to the critical situation in Poland in the early ‘eighties. The lament and the “plunge into the abyss” at the end remind us of the dark phase of Polish history under Jaruzelski, who choked off liberal impulses, forbade the free labor union Solidarność and im-posed a state of war on the country. In a commentary to the Seventh Etude of 1988/89, Ligeti remarked that its title, Galamb borong, was meant to evoke an imaginary gamelan-like music “at home on an island not found on any map.” “For those who understand Hun-garian”, he continues, “the title will also have an altogether different mean-ing” – Galamb in Hungarian means as much as dove, darling or sweetheart – “but that one is irrelevant to the character of the music: what matters is solely the verbal sound of the title.”254 To understand these explanations, it helps to remember Ligti’s penchant for the imaginary – especially when one learns that he had originally planned to give the etude the subtitle Les gongs de l’ île Kon-dortombol, Kondortombol being the name of a fantasy island. As we know, the tone system according to which many Indonesian gamelan orchestras are tuned is the Javanese slendro, an equidistant pentatonic scale, whose degrees comprise ca. 240 cents each.255 European composers of the late 19th and early 20th century who wrote for piano had to translate the slendro of necessity into the tempered pentatonic scale – as, e.g., Claude Debussy did in his piece “Pagodes” from the Estampes (1903).

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Gamelan-Bonang (re the Seventh Etude: Galamb borong)

Ligeti based his seventh etude not on pentatonic scales but on an original combination of the two possible whole-tone scales. Thus the right hand plays exclusively in the whole-tone region b - a - g - f - eb - db and the left hand in the whole-tone region e d - c - bb - ab - gb. Ligeti explained this as follows:

The music itself is composed in an oblique equidistant tonal system. The usual tuning of the piano permits twelve-tone and six-tone equi-distance, but not the five-tone one (as in the Javanese slendro), whose intervals can not be found in the well-tempered tuning. But I now have invented another kind of slendro-like tone system, which is nei-ther chromatic nor diatonic, but also not whole-tone: it is covertly present in the usual tempered tuning of the piano, but has not been performed before Galamb borong.

Paradoxically, although all twelve ones are omnipresent in this piece and are often made to sound simultaneously by the pedal, the music sounds conso-nantal or quasi-consonantal. A listener who receives Galamb borong against the background of the Indone-sian music of Java and Bali will discover numerous gamelan-like features in the piece. The noted ethnomusicologist Jaap Kunst classifies the instruments of the gamelan orchestra according to their functions into five groups: the bearers of the core melody, then instruments that perform a counter-melody, and finally phrasing, paraphrasing and tempo-supporting instruments. Of special importance are the metallophones, which present the core melody, the

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gongs, which assume tasks of phrasing, and the so-called panerusan, which ex-ecute finely spun figurations.256 In a similar way, three layers can be distin-guished in the sound structure of Galamb borong: melodic lines, which at times take on the character of a core melody, luxuriant interlacing scrollwork in the form of an uninterrupted motion of sixteenths, and long-held gong-like sounds in the bass region. The scrollwork is executed by one of the two hands or by both hands. As for the melodic lines, they either stand out from the scrollwork or they are produced by the accentuated crest notes of the fig-urations, whose regular pulsation also reminds of Central-African music. Thus Ligeti in some respects throws a bridge from Bali to Africa; the fantasy island Kondortombol lies somewhere in between on his imaginary map. Like the second, the Eighth Etude is an invention on the fifth. But whereas it was used there as a melodic interval, here it is employed as a simultaneous one. There are also notable differences in character between the two pieces: in contrast to the second etude, which sounds altogether mellow, the tone char-acter of the eighth is “metallically hard.” (The expression mark is Vivace risol-uto, con vigore.) Ligeti at first thought of giving the etude the simple title Quintes but then de-cided on the heading Fém. In a commentary, he provided the following expla-nation:

In contrast to the 7th etude, the Hungarian word in the title of the 8th etude is relevant in terms not only of sound but also of meaning. The music has a metallically hard character, dominated harmonically by the fifth but also by other harmonics. Fém is the Hungarian word for met-al, but it has an emotionally more intense aura than the German (French, English) word. Fény sounds like fém and means light: fém to a Hungarian speaker is brighter, more radiant, stronger-sounding than Metall.257

As noted, empty fifths predominate in the piece. They often combine into tetrachords and every so often also show up as trichords in the form of three double fifths, e.g., f2 / c3 / g3 (m. 8) or d2 / e2 / a2, a compressed double fifth, as it were (m. 19). It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the etude is exclusively constructed of fifths. Other intervals are occasionally in evidence as well.258 In this respect, the second etude is worked more rigorously and pu-ristically. The complexity of the composition results primarily from its polyrhythmic structure. It is based on two differently rhythmic patterns, which recur re-peatedly and suggest comparisons with medieval isorhythmic periods. Where-

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as the talea of the right hand consists of 18 eighths (3 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 4 = 18), the left hand comprises 16 (4 + 2 + 2 + 4 + 4 = 16). Phase displace-ments result in appealing combinations. Every twelve bars (each bar numbers 12 eighths) the ends of the periods coincide, resulting in a division of the main part into five cycles: mm. 1-12, 13-24, 25-36, 36-48, 49-57. The fifth cy-cle, which brings on a powerful crescendo from triple piano to fourfold forte, is reduced to nine bars. Fém closes with a longish coda (mm. 58-76), which has very much the charac-ter of a music in slow motion. Although the tempo remains the same, the mo-tifs and fifths of the main part now appear pianissimo, rhythmically augmented and in diverse rearrangements and modifications. The energy and verve that distinguishes the main part is replaced by a striking pallor and faintness. The tone image seems unreal, the music sounds from afar (da lontano), becoming softer and slower (diminuendo and rallentando), until it expires altogether. The listener’s impression confirms it: main part and coda of the piece are related to each other like present and recollection. Two essential aspects of Ligeti’s aesthetics are illustrated by the Ninth Etude, Vertige, with particular vividness: his conception of music as “frozen time”, and the fact that his creative work is not only conditioned by poetry but also frequently embedded in biological contexts. Thu the idea of quasi vertiginous states is transmuted into music in this piece, with the corresponding musical images being perpetuated. The basic idea of the etude, Ligeti stated, was “a constant slipping and collapsing”, and he added: “the temporal process is fro-zen, the collapsing becomes a state.”259 In technical terms, Vertige can above all be called a study of chromaticism and the perpetuum mobile. The tonal background of the piece is formed by a continuously flowing motion of eighths in several voices. In Ligeti’s own words:

Technically speaking, descending chromatic scales form the basis of the piece. Before one such run is complete, the next one begins, so that there is an interference of wave motions: the individual waves overlap and break. While the chromatic runs are regular within them-selves, their combination, because of the constantly changing intervals between entrances, creates a chaotic pattern. As in a puzzle picture [Vexierbild], our perception keeps alternating between the runs as mo-tion and their interference as a static image.

What has been said above can be specified by looking at the first five measures as follows. The basic, chromatically descending line comprises six-

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teen notes, from the one-line b to the small ab. Before yet that run reaches its end, that is, after eight eighths, the second waves sets in and, after another seven eighths, a third wave follows. Further seven eighths onward, the game starts over again, but now the intervals between the entrances of the individu-al waves measure five, seven and five eighths (Ex. 32).

Ex. 32 “Ninth Etude for Piano”: interference of wave motions

Upon a detailed analysis of the piece, one cannot help marveling at the high degree of complexity attained in the handling of the chromatic line model. It gets shifted, transposed and altered diastematically in various ways. In line with the poetic theme, the structure of the interferential waves is not regular but downright chaotic, and the two-, three- and four-voice combinations re-sulting from the overlapping of the lines “wander” through the entire tonal space: from the lowest depth to the extreme height. Another important element in the construction of the piece, however, is the melodic phrases that now and then supervene upon the perpetuum mobile. They radically differ in structure from the chromatically descending lines, containing, as they do, greater note values, as well as chains of thirds, fifths and fourths; they often sound like defamiliarized, dissolved dominant ninth, eleventh and thirteenth chords and mark the points of collapse (Ex. 33). As one can see, the bass steps get increasingly larger (minor second - minor third - major third - tritone - fourth) and slower (3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 9 eighths), cre-ating a sense of falling ever lower down – though the direction of these me-

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lodic phrases, which also appear in higher ranges, is not always falling, but at times also rising.

Ex. 33 “Ninth Etude for Piano”: points of collapse

Although the continuous motion of eighths never stops, the piece clearly ex-hibits a division into two parts of 82 and 59 bars respectively. At the end of the first part, the perpetuum mobile takes on a flickering character in the highest register. Then, in m. 83, a new “train” commences. After both hands have for eight measures played unison figures in the two extreme reaches of the instrument, a crescendo in contrary motion commences: while the left hand comes climbing up, the right hand descends until finally the distance be-tween the two hands is minimal. Begun in Hamburg in July/August of 1994 and completed in Vienna, the Tenth Etude, which bears the suggestive title Der Zauberlehrling (The Sorcer-er’s Apprentice), has a special place in the dramaturgy of the second cycle in-asmuch as it represents the scherzo. Accordingly, the characteristic expression marks read prestissimo, staccatissimo, leggierissimo, and the player is to make an ef-fort to attain the speed of the Continuum. The piece, which throughout has traits of a toccata and has an “airy” character, resembles a perpetuum mobile. Of the four sections, into which it is latently divided, some proceed in a regu-lar rhythm, others do not. If the first two sections (mm. 1-37, 38-65) are held to a regular meter (4 + 4 + 4 or 4 + 3 + 2 + 3 eighths), the third section (mm. 66-97) exhibits asymmetrical accents, and the fourth section (mm. 97-118), producing a great dynamic and agogic heightening, begins regularly but closes quasi in chaos.

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Two things are especially noteworthy here: the increasing density of the struc-ture and the rapid discharge at the end. Inevitably one recalls the events that Goethe describes in his famous ballad of the same title, although Ligeti told me that he thought of Goethe’s poem only after he had already begun work on the piece: briefly he had considered giving the etude the title Métamorphose. As paradoxical as it may seem at first, the basic idea of the Eleventh Etude – its definitive title was En suspens (see Facsimile 10) – is the contrariness and at the same time complementarity of the two hands, which differ in form in eve-ry respect – that of tone system, meter, and character. While one hand con-tents itself with the white keys, the other plays only the black ones. This man-ner of organizing the tonal supply is not new in Ligeti: we remember it both from Désordre and from Galamb borong. The etude is also polymetric, inasmuch as the right hand adheres throughout to a 6/4 meter, while the left one fol-lows a quaternary one (4 x 3/8). The difference in sound between the two hands is substantial: the right hand sounds much mellower than the left. This is owing not only to the difference in register and melodic line, but also to the respective frequency of the pre-ferred intervals: while thirds and sixths pile up in the right hand, the left hand exhibits with striking frequency, at least at the beginning, perfect fourths, ma-jor seconds and major ninths, accounting for the acrid sound of the left-hand part. It is thus instructive to know that Ligeti, who stewed a good deal about what title to give to his piece, also considered the terms Engrenage (Interlock-ing), Souplesse (Suppleness) and Convexe-Concave. If one plays the two hands one after the other, one may indeed get the impression as though the contour of the right hand was curved more inward and that of the left hand more to the outside. Playing both hands together will evoke a sense, not only of great pliancy and suppleness, but also of a marvelous complementarity. The defini-tive title of the etude, however, seems appropriate to the hovering character of the piece and its questioning open-endedness. After Ligeti’s ideas about the texture and the character of the twelfth etude had taken concrete form, he contemplated five possible titles: Bandage, Roseau (Reed), Entrelacs (Plaiting), Croisement (Crossing) and Miroirs (Mirrors). After prolonged pondering, he finally settled on Entrelacs (Facsimile 11). A close look at the etude confirms that the final title is indeed the most fitting, as the piece in fact suggests plaiting. Formally, the composition clearly reveals a division into three parts of the schema A-B-A’. While the two outer parts (mm. 1-30, 54-91) resemble each

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other, the middle section (mm. 30-54) contrasts with them in both theme and motif. In terms of the tonal system, Entrelacs is one of the most rigorously worked etudes. As in Galamb borong, each hand here, too, is confined to a six-tone row – the right hand on the notes d - e - f - g - a - b, the left hand to the row c - db

- eb - gb - ab - bb. In the third part the hands exchange their tonal supplies. The most interesting perspectives on the etude, however, open with regard to its rhythmic organization. The piece is based on an uninterruptedly pulsating motion of sixteenths, with each “bar” comprising twelve sixteenths. (N.B., in this etude, too, as in Ligeti’s music generally, the bars serve the purpose of synchronization and orientation and should not be regarded in terms of the traditional beat and accent metric.) The accentuation of certain pulses accord-ing to certain rules results in plaiting patterns and intricate polyrhythms. If one looks closely at the first part, a quasi hierarchical system can be discerned. At the beginning, the accentuated tones are given half-notes. Later on, quar-ter-notes, eighths and finally even sixteenths are accentuated as well. To each relation of the note values corresponds a mathematical one. Here is an outline of the plaiting patterns of the first part. half notes every 13 pulses r. h., every 17 pulses l. h. quarter notes every 7 pulses r. h., every 11 pulses l. h. eighth notes every 4 pulses r. h., every 5 pulses l. h. sixteenth notes every 3 pulses l. h. This shows that, except for the four, Ligeti is again working with prime num-bers here. The middle part is a good deal more complex than the first one. In mm. 35-46, the right hand performs a cantabile melody (cantabile, in rilievo) in what seems to be a free rhythm. By contrast, the left hand sticks closely to the plaiting pattern, such that accentuated half notes are heard every 17 pulses, quarter notes every 7 pulses and eighth notes every four or five pulses. From m. 47 on, however, the plaiting pattern reigns also over the right hand: every 13 pulses, we hear an accentuated half note here, every five pulses an eighth note (only in mm. 47/48) and every three pulses an accentuated sixteenth (mm. 49-54). In the third part, the system of the plaiting pattern of the first part is partly continued, partly modified. Mm. 64-71 form an exterritorial enclave in the right hand, which points back to the cantabile section of the middle part. In addition, the following regularities can be observed. Every 13 pulses in the

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right hand and every 17 pulses in the left, half notes are accentuated. If quar-ter notes occur in the left hand, they obey the seven-pulse principle. Accentu-ated eighth notes in both hands appear in a rhythm of three or four pulses. Finally, marked sixteenth notes in the left hand underlie the three-pulse prin-ciple. The etude concludes on a chord of perfect fifths: Eb - Bb - f - c1 - g1.

György Ligeti at the piano in his Hamburg apartment (ca. 1970)

In 1993, Ligeti pondered extensively over the concluding piece of the second cycle, as he told me in conversation. For the start, he had in mind a bright, radiant piece as a contrast to Automne à Varsovie – something analogous to Debussy’s L’ isle joyeuse. The grand piano was to sound like a whole orchestra. At the time he was deeply immersed in the imaginary world of Shakespeare’s Tempest: Prospero’s magic island fascinated him, and Caliban’s line “The isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs” kept coming to his mind. Shortly after this conversation, he departed for the United States. Invited to Santa Monica by the Getty Foundation, he witnessed the California winter of a century in early February: floods, mudslides and much human misery that appalled him. Thus the intended paradisiacal vision turned into L’escalier du diable, a totally black piece that received the final number 13.

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In this piece, Ligeti set himself the task of working principally with chromati-cism but disguising that ingeniously by means of various tricks. The piece presents itself as a series of homophonic and polyphonic, rhythmically intri-cate inventions on the chromatically ascending scale. Characteristically, most of the “inventions” begin pianissimo, even piú pianissimo, in the low register and gradually rise to multiple forte. As soon as a climax is reached, the music, as it were, plunges into the abyss, and a new ascent begins immediately. In an in-terview, Ligeti spoke of the vain endeavor to get to the top and remarked he could have entitled this “dark menacing piece” also “Sisyphus.” As in a nightmare, one always slides back: one would like to get somewhere – but one never arrives.260 Although there are no clear caesuras, a latent division into eight sections is recognizable, with certain correspondences between the fourth (mm. 76-95) and the eighth (mm. 127-160) section being particularly conspicuous. Both have toward their end the expression mark minaccioso e maestoso, and both re-quire tutta la forza of the player. The note “like bells, gongs, tamtams” in mm. 137/138 corresponds to the direction wild ringing of bells in mm. 87/88, and in both a bell-like thirds motif is repeated several times: twelve times in mm. 90-95 on the degrees f3 - d3, and five times in mm. 142-145 on the degrees g2 - e2. No less striking is the fact that these intonations are framed by bell-ringing on the tritone (diabolus in musica): five times in mm. 87/88 (bb - e) and seven times in mm. 145-148 (on the low notes eb - a) – obvious evocations of the demon-ic. On September 27, 1993, I visited Ligeti again in his Hamburg apartment. He was then working intensively on the etude that was to be the concluding piece of the second cycle and was later given the number 14 (see Facsimile 12). He wanted to call it, he said, Columna infinita (infinite pillar) after a sculpture by the renowned Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957) – a pillar 35 meters high that stands in a town in the Carpathian Mountains in Southern Romania. This etude, he added, was a “tonal” piece based on the note c. When I got to see the finished composition a while later, I realized that that remark had been an ironic exaggeration. It is true that that low c at the begin-ning of the piece is emphasized so heavily that one might think a tonal center was being established. Moreover, the etude also closes with the five-line c be-ing struck frequently. In view of the etude’s complexity, however, traditional concepts like both tonality and atonality are bound to fail altogether.

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Facsimile 10 “11th Piano Etude”, En suspens: draft of the first page

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Facsimile 11 “12th Piano Etude”, Entrelacs: draft of the first page

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Facsimile 12 “14th Piano Etude” Columna infinita – first page, draft

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Columna infinita evokes an impression of enormous robustness and monumentality. Of all the piano etudes, it is the least dynamically differentiated: very loud from be-ginning to end, it starts right away with a triple forte (sempre con tutta la forza). The remaining expression marks signify that from the middle onward, even that volume is to be exceeded. The entire piano region is conspicuously excluded. Even more striking is the fact that the massive expanses of sound in both hands – they relate to each other like cresting waves – form constantly rising contours. The process of a relentless turning up of the screw, in the detail as well as in the whole, is the trademark of the etude. The final four piano etudes (Nos. 15-18) were composed between 1995 and 2001. Except for the second of these (No. 16), they are wholly or partly subject to the canon technique, which here is in the service of an extreme virtuosity that demands the utmost of the pianist. Looking at the notation one can easily recognize the ca-nonic parts. But to the ear they are hardly perceptible, because the rhythm – half notes in No. 15, eighths in Nos. 17 and 18 – is wholly uniform.

The Fifteenth Etude (White on white) is a strictly diatonic work, which is played al-most entirely on the white keys, yet does not sound tonal. Its first part (Andante con tenerezza), composed throughout of half notes and strictly three-voiced, excels by its wonderful canon and by mellow, mild sounds, the second part, on the other hand, by its brio and rhythmic vitality.

The sixteenth etude, Pour Irina, is bipartite in design as well. The reference is to Iri-na Karaeva, the wife of the noted pianist Piere Aimard, who was part of Ligeti’s immediate circle of friends, and who played his etudes with bravura. The first, se-date part in quarter notes (Andante con espressione, rubato, molto legato) is based on a hexatonic system (db–eb–f–gb– bb–c–db); the missing note ab sounds only once near the end. The second part (Allegro con brio, sempre legato) gradually intensifies agogical-ly. It moves at first in eighth notes and finally (Molto vivace) in sixteenths. The piece ranges over the entire tonal expanse: both hands initially play in the middle region but then, in the Allegro vivace, move apart and finally wind up in the high register.

The Seventeenth Etude – À bout de souffle, Out of Breath – is worked almost to the end as a strict canon in eighth notes and at a temporal distance of one eighth. The last etude, Canon, is likewise a strict canon, at an interval of two eighths.

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2.16 “Quasi-Equidistance” and Polyrhythm: Coordinates of the Piano Concerto

“In the Piano Concerto I developed new conceptions of harmony and rhythm.”

“In the Piano Concerto, I now present my aesthetic creed: my independence both of the criteria of the handed-down avant-garde and of those of the modish post-modernism.”261

Among the works that occupied Ligeti for several years is the Piano Concerto written for the American conductor Mario di Bonaventura. The earliest sketches for the work date from the summer of 1980. But it was only in 1986 that Ligeti was able to complete the first three movements, and the last two movements were not composed until 1987. Between 1980 and 1985, he made several starts, but these never got beyond diverse beginnings. At least nine different beginnings were rejected. It was only after the completion of the first several piano etudes in 1984 and 1985 that his plans for the Piano Concerto began to take definitive form. Looking closely at the sketches, one gets a sense of the enormous mental la-bor Ligeti invested in this work. There are more drafts for the Piano Concerto than for any other work: jottings on diverse slips and strips of paper, numer-ous full pages covered with verbal notations, and a whole stack of music leaves and sheets. They vividly document the fact that Ligeti reflected inten-sively about every aspect of the projected work. Initially he seems to have been indecisive about the exact number of movements, which in the sketches varies between four and seven. Fairly soon, however, the plan of a five-movement structure appears to have become stabilized, in which the se-quence was to be determined by the twofold contrast principle of fast-slow and hard-soft (Hungarian kemény and puha).

FS 13 Piano Concerto, Presto luminoso – notations

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Ligeti’s Piano Concerto is a work of the greatest originality. Even so his nota-tions in the sketches help us to realize that in conceiving the work he incor-porated impressions from diverse areas (see Facsimile 13 and 14). The stimuli were numerous: works of occidental art music (especially Liszt, Stravinsky and Shostakovich), Conlon Nancarrow and Oscar Peterson, African polyph-ony, folk music of Southeastern Europe, dance like the Caribbean salsa and Brazilian samba, and finally Paul Klee, Paul Cézanne and Constantin Brancu-si. What interested him in Liszt’s Années de pélerinage and his Dante Sonata was the piano technique, in Stravinsky’s Sacre du printemps the polymetrics, in Shos-takovich’s Eighth Symphony the “cystoscopic” accumulation of dissonances. But the imaginary ethnological music landscape he had in mind was located somewhere between Africa, the Balkans and the Caribbean.

FS 14 Ligeti’s jottings for the Piano Concerto

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Ligeti called the Piano Concerto his most complex score and the least transpar-ent to the ear. And indeed, the wealth of interrelations in this work discloses itself only after several hearings. Its enormous complexity manifests itself in every technical dimension, in the intricate polyphony, the subtle instrumenta-tion, and above all in its harmony, meter and rhythm. It had been his endeavor, he proclaimed, to get away from both chromaticism and equal temperament, to leave tonality as well as atonality behind. Though he sympathized and experimented with microtonality, he does not seem to have written any rigorously constructed microtonal works in the strict sense of the term, exceptimg only the Ramifikations of 1968/69. Neither is the Piano Concerto such a work. He could not bring himself to retune the piano accord-ingly. Instead, he found, after some experimentation, a new original way be-tween microtonality and equal temperament. His declared ideal became that of a quasi-equidistance: the music should suggest the illusion of equidistance. It is generated within equal temperament, yet does not belong to it in terms of its sound. Ligeti found a model for his idea of quasi-equidistance in Javanese, Melanesi-an and African music – musical cultures he had felt drawn to for a long time. As we have noted, the Javanese sléndro is a five-degree, roughly equidistant scale, with intervals of 240 cents each – though the instruments of the gamelan orchestra are not precisely tuned – while the pélog is a seven-degree tonal sys-tem with non-equidistant intervals. In the Piano Concerto, the idea of quasi-equidistance is implemented in diverse ways: by the introduction of new, not equidistant intervallic modi, by the coupling of diatonic and pentatonic scales, by the combination of two whole-tone scales and by other means. In three of the work’s five movements (the first, second and fifth), the tonal supply is derived wholly or in part from the combination of diatonicism and tonic (anhemitonic) pentatonics. In visual terms, one hand of the pianist plays on the white keys, the other on the black. The listener perceives this combination as a suspension of temperament. Along with quasi-equidistance, polyrhythmics proves a dominant principle of the Piano Concerto. The polymetric and polyrhythmical techniques Ligeti had developed in the Piano Etudes are here pushed to the limits of the possible. The special appeal of the music of he first movement (Vivace molto ritmico e pre-ciso) resides above all in its polyrhythmical imbroglios, which will affect the lis-tener as much as they will confuse him. In an effort to elucidate these implications, Ligeti referred to the talea concept of late medieval music. Both the piano part and the string part at the begin-

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ning of the concerto, he explained, are based on firm, recurrent rhythmic pe-riods that are divided asymmetrically. The period of the piano part (notated in 12/8 time) measures 2 ½ bars and consists of 30 pulses divided into groups of 11, 13 and 6 units. The period of the strings playing pizzicato (notated in 4/4 time), on the other hand, comprises 3 measures and consists of 24 pulses grouped in units of 13 and 11 pulses. The simultaneity of the periods of dif-ferent length and different rhythmic patterns results in a tricky polyrhythm (Ex. 35).

Ex. 35 Piano Concerto, 1st movement: unequal isorhythmic periods

Upon closer analysis, the movement clearly divides into four sections of 30, 30, 36 and 33 measures. Of these, the first is structured rigorously according to the two talea-like periods described, with the first period recurring altogeth-er twelve times, the second ten times. The other three sections are based on different rhythmic patterns. The opening two sections of the piano part, equally long and measuring 30 bars each, seem like two trains of sound that move in contrary directions. The first commences in the middle register and gradually invades the upper one up to extreme height, with the sound becoming increasingly thinner, lighter and more ethereal. The second train, too, begins in the middle register but

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then evolves toward the depth, with the sound growing more massive, volu-minous and booming. The two trains demonstrate in a particularly concrete way how time can unfold in space, or, to put it differently, how time becomes space. Another observation in this connection: while the piano part in the first movement is frequently in the foreground of the musical space, it is by no means always so. Often in the course of the movement it recedes to the mid-dle level and even into the background. In all four sections, highly expressive lines of individual brasses, e.g. the horn or the trombone, and of the strings come up to the sound level of the piano. The listener perceives these lines now as foreground voices and now as background ones. A prominent leggiero theme of the piccolo flute also comes to the fore in the third section (mm. 71-80) and later in the fourth one as well (Ex. 36).

Ex. 36 Piano Concerto, 1st movement: Leggiero theme of the piccolo flute

György Ligeti’s music suggests closeness and distance, depth and height, breadth and narrowness. It therefore requires a spatial, or as it were “perspec-tival listening.”

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If the first movement impresses the listener by its enormously dense polyph-ony and nearly boundless rhythmic energy, the second (Lento e deserto) surpris-es him by a maximum of expressivity (Facsimile 15). It also differs considera-bly in terms of tonal system, as it is based predominantly on a nine-tone mo-dus consisting of identically structured trichords (Ex.37).

Ex. 37 2nd movement: nine-tone mode

FS 15 Piano Concerto, Lento – beginning of the 2nd movement, score draft

This mode, supplemented from time to time by the three missing notes (f, a, and db), is transposed to various degrees and determines, besides the melody, largely also the harmonics of the movement. The tension of the latter de-scribes the following arc. A pedal point on the note f, held for 28 measures in the double basses, suggests solitude. Over this foundation, expressive “sigh-ing figures” sound in the winds, which evoke a sense of lamentation (mm. 1-31).262 The plaintiveness is reinforced by strange timbres and rarely used in-struments, as well as by the way of playing: the piccolo flute plays in an ex-tremely low register, the bassoon, conversely, in an extremely high one; swa-nee whistle (lotus flute) and alto ocarina join in; in many instances, portamento

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is prescribed. After this preliminary section, the piano, in mm. 32-40, intones a “theme” that will play a major role in the rest of the movement. The peculi-ar sound effect of this passage results from the combination of the extreme sound registers (Ex 38).263

Ex. 38 2nd movement, Lento e deserto: Theme in mixtures (parallel chords)

Immediately thereafter, (mm. 42-59), the “theme” is picked up fortissimo by the piccolo flute, the oboe and the clarinet and treated canonically in accordance with the “micropolyphonic” technique. This peculiar imitational treatment produces strident dissonances – the labeling stridente in the score is no exag-geration (Ex. 39).

Ex. 39 2nd movement, Lento e deserto: micropolyphony

Major events in this movement furthermore include the siren glissando fol-lowed by an alarm whistle in mm. 58-61. Both act as pungent signals connot-ing alarm, war, terror and brutal authority. After the siren glissando, the dy-

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namic, tonal and emotional climax of the Lento is reached on the tritone e-bb

(m. 60). Departing from the rule of the nine-tone mode, the piano now enters with the combination of diatonicity (white keys) and tonal (anhemitonic) penta-tonics (black keys). The runs of parallel fifths that the right hand of the pia-nist here plays on the white keys in the highest register are supported by mix-tures on the black keys in the left hand, with the same tones at times occur-ring two octaves lower and shifted by a half-tone (Ex. 40). The damned-up tension is prolonged (mm. 60-79). The final strains of the movement with the chromonica (chromatic harmonica) sounds are melancholically nostalgic.

Ex. 40 2nd movement, Lento e deserto: runs of fifths, damned-up tension

Ligeti’s music, when it is determined primarily by the rhythmic element, has always had an affinity with pulsation – to all appearances even at a time be-fore he had begun to occupy himself with exotic music. But it can hardly be denied that the idea of pulsation is brought to bear more pronouncedly in his more recent works, those postdating that preoccupation. It underlies the first Piano Etude, the head movement of the Piano Concerto, and extended stretches in the third and fourth movement of the latter, with the pulsation being most-ly irregular, that is, the accents being distributed asymmetrically. The affinity with exotic music of the third movement (Vivace cantabile) is most obvious in the preference for pulsation and in the way in which the bongos and the xylophone are treated. The piano part, which is clearly dominant in this movement, resembles a perpetuum mobile and in some places a string of pearls in its uniform figuration of sixteenths. An asymmetrical distribution of

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accents and the intonation of individually rhythmicized melodic voices pro-duce a complex polyrhythmical structure. Ligeti, with his soft spot for the il-lusionary, called the movement “the most authoritative example to date of il-lusionary rhythm and illusionary melody.” No less notable in this Vivace canta-bile, however, is its peculiar union of agility and lyricism. The movement bor-rows its melodic substance largely from the Lento e deserto. A characteristic of the movement’s physiognomy is the tonal background at the beginning. While one hand of the pianist executes a continuous figuration in sixteenths, the other adheres to an ostinato pulsating minor thirds motif in dotted eighths. After the latter has been taken over by the flute, the right hand of the pianist plays a dirge-like melody, whose notes as a rule follow each other in a rhythm of seven pulses. Structure and progress of the move-ment are so complex that it would require a very long treatise to describe them with a measure of precision. There are, besides, numerous indications to suggest that the Vivace cantabile incorporates ideas developed originally for a movement to have been called Corrente. It was to be “quiet”: (halk), “soft” (puha) and “flitting” (suhanó) and vanish into nothingness – traits that apply in part also to the Vivace cantabile. Close occupation with the Piano Concerto also make clear that the work is in-debted to the idea of recursiveness. Certainly the three middle movements exhibit significant motivic-thematic linkages. The motivic figures of the Lento are picked up and further developed in the two succeeding movements. Ligeti spoke rather incidentally about the recursive structure of the fourth move-ment and also mentioned that its motivic formations resembled earlier motiv-ic figures “without any formation being ever repeated exactly” (Ex. 41). In contrast to the third movement, which leaves the listener with an impres-sion of undisturbed continuity, the fourth (Allegro risoluto) is distinguished to a marked degree by discontinuity. The few motivic elements from which it is developed – Ligeti called them “kaleidoscopic particles” – are borrowed in part from the two preceding movements and are initially presented as quasi unrelated to each other. Of special importance, however, is a new, signal- or fanfare-like motif, which will undergo numerous metamorphoses. As the movement progresses, moreover, its elements begin to rotate: the structure becomes ever denser. Ligeti illustrated the process by comparing it to a vor-tex; he also stated that in conceiving this movement in particular he was stim-ulated by pictures of fractal formations. No less revealing is the fact that he regarded the Allegro risoluto as the central movement of the concerto. In the sketches he called it a variant of the Lento e deserto. One will realize that there

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are important subterraneous relations between these two movements if one attends to the motivic connections between them and notes the peculiar fact that only these movements feature the whip and the whistle.

Ex. 41 Piano Concerto: motivic-thematic linkages in the middle movements

The emotional climate of the movement is unique, spreading, as it does an atmosphere of menace: one feels reminded of Arnold Schönberg’s heart-stirring cantata Ein Überlebender aus Warschau (A Survivor from Warsaw) op. 46. The music is rich in startling moments: isolated brutal strokes of the small

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drum, the Basque drum, the big drum and the whip assault one’s ears and shock the listener. A long crescendo of the piano (the suggestive expression mark reads sempre crescendo – tutta la forza con parossima estremo – ancora più feroce) leads to the climax in mm. 141 ff.: the big drum comes in with strokes whose volume decreases step by step from fff all the way to pppp. The portentous key words hajsza (chase), gewalttätig (violent) and panik found in the notes to this movement (Facsimile 16) suggest that this Allegro risoluto reflects traumatic ex-periences of the war or post-war period.

FS 16 Notes on the 4th movement, Allegro risoluto: cues of war memories?

For the finale (Presto luminoso), Ligeti had a luminous sound in mind from the start: the earliest notations repeatedly include the catchwords “radiant (ragyogás) and “luster” - “sparkle” (csillogás - villogás), as well as once the code “hyper-Dur” (hyper-major). In accordance with these notations, Ligeti said of this movement that it had the mark of a persistent “consonance”, though all twelve tones were present. This impression results largely from the use of a

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whole-tone scale, which dominates in the first and the last section. The “tonal system” on which the piano part is based in the first section (mm. 3-22) com-bines the two whole-tone scales. Speaking concretely, the right hand plays one scale (c - d - e – gb - ab - bb), the left hand the other (db - eb - f - g - a – b). Both chromaticism and whole-tone character seem suspended (Ex. 42).

Ex. 42 Piano Concerto, 5th movement: whole-tone scales in right and left hand

In the second section (mm. 23-46), the whole-tone scale is replaced by the combination of diatonicism and pentatonics recalled from the first move-ment. The unmistakable character of luminosity in this movement is due not only to the tone system on which it is based but above all also to the instru-mentation with its bright timbres. For moments we also hear shrill sounds in the woodwinds (mm. 41-46), and shortly before the end Ligeti places a dra-matic accent: the brasses are to play minaccioso, brutale, ma “jazzy.” These pass-ing shadows, however, hardly darken the altogether bright impression the sound of the Presto creates.

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2.17 The Violin Concerto “Many layers of conscious and unconscious influences are combined into an organic homogeneous whole: African mu-sic with fractal geometry, Maurits Escher’s puzzle pictures with non-tempered tuning systems, Conlon Nancarrow’s pol-yrhythmic music with the music of the ars subtilior. But so that some-thing new and complex results, I always endeavor to amalgamate these external impulses with my inner image and ideas.”

“In the orchestra of the Violin Concerto I included, besides the ‘normal’ orchestral instruments, both violin and viola with scordatura and instruments with inexact pitches like ocarinas, a recorder and swanee whistles. I also indicated where I wanted a natural horn and natural trombone or where the woodwinds were to play minute pitch deviations. I looked for imprecise intonation and a ‘muddy’ sound.”264

Both the Piano and the Violin Concerto occupy a special place in Ligeti’s oeuvre: for one thing because of their enormous complexity, and for another because these works incorporate an astonishing plenitude of ideas. Both bring into fo-cus reflections of many years, in both Ligeti succeeded in fashioning a unique synthesis of the heterogeneous. If he had tried to get away from temperament already in the Piano Concerto, in the Violin Concerto he embarked on new ways of overcoming the well-tempered system.

P. Picasso, “Three Dancers”: inspiration of a passage in the Violin Concerto

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In November of 1988, Ligeti disclosed to me that he was planning a violin concerto. From the start, he had the idea of letting the soloist play on two in-struments, one with natural tuning and one with scordatura; he wanted the same arrangement for the string soloists in the orchestra (two violinists, two violist and two cellists).

FS 17 Violin Concerto: notes for the third movement

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FS 18 Violin Concerto: notes for the Finale

A study of the voluminous sketches makes possible a nearly airtight recon-struction of the work’s genesis. Like the Piano Concerto, the Violin Concerto, too, evolved in two stages: the premiere of the three-movement version took place in Cologne on November 3, 1990. Two years later, on November 8, 1992, the revised, five-movement version premiered in Cologne. Ligeti wavered for some time about the number and sequence of movements. In the extant outlines, the number varies from three to eight; as late as March of 1990, he still toyed with the idea of making the work one of seven or eight movements, differentiating them into fast and slow ones and pondering the inclusion of two scherzos, one muted and chromatic, the other “Romanian-polymodal.” His ideas frequently revolved about a flowing movement (Flu-idum), an energetic, “metallic” one (energikus fémes), a lament and a passacaglia. One of the numerous outlines fixes the basic character of the movements as follows:

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1. fluid 2. resolute 3. céleste – tragique – parody 4. elegant gbaya pizz. tetel265 5. galimathias

Another outline differentiates the movements in terms of tonal system: 1. Vivace luminoso 2. Passacaglia: lento appassionato polyphonic 3. Presto cromaticus 4. Andante staticus, microtonalis 5. Vivacissimo diatonicus

Ligeti with Saschko Gawriloff at a concert rehearsal (1990)

The first version of the Violin Concerto consisted of the following movements: a Vivace luminoso, a Passacaclia and the Presto fluido. But Ligeti was greatly dissat-isfied with the original head movement and altogether recomposed it. A mere

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glance at the score of the rejected composition suffices to realize that it was substantially more impenetrable than the subsequently composed movement. Two additional movements were written for the definitive, five-movement version: the Aria-Hocket-Chorale and the Finale. The Aria stood in second place, while the Passacaglia was shifted to fourth place. The work has undoubtedly gained a great deal from these major changes. One has to agree with Saschko Gawriloff, to whom the concerto was dedicated, when he describes the first (fragmentary) version as an “orchestral work be-tween symphony and rhapsody with obligatory solo violin”, whereas he re-garded the complete version as a masterpiece – “a masterpiece, whose five movements are so different in structure and content as hardly any other com-position in contemporary music.”266 If one hears the first movement of the Violin Concerto (Praeludium: Vivace lumi-noso) for the first time, one may get the impression of constant improvisation. Upon studying the score, however, it will be seen that the piece is constructed quite rigorously, and that the peculiar appeal of the music results from the strong contrast between the improvisational element and the precise rhythmic shapes. It is striking, to begin with, that the soloist throughout the entire movement does not get to play a single cantilena but preludes from beginning to end. It is likewise remarkable that the tonal background is formed by expanses of flageolet-playing in the strings. An NB in the score sets forth the following in-struction:

Regarding the natural flageolet tones of both the solo violin and the strings in the orchestra (except for the double bass): during the entire 1st movement, if the flageolet notes do not always fully intone, they should not be replaced by artificial flageolets, as the glassy, shimmer-ing character of the movement is based on the natural flageolets, and the ‘not-always-secure intonation’ produces the impression of fragility and hazard.

Tension is added to the composition by an intricate rhythmic figure consist-ing of 3 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 2 eighths, which initially (mm. 34-40) is pre-sented by the woodwinds playing in mixtures (parallel chords) and supported by the pizzicato-playing strings. Appearing in diverse variants, the figure plays a major role in the course of the movement: in mm. 45-49 and 51/52, it re-sounds in the scordated violins and here and there in the scordated violas. In m. 56, it crops up “like a fanfare” in the scordated violins, and in mm. 57/58 in the trumpet and the trombone.

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The following formal outline will show that despite all of its rhapsodic free-dom, the design of the movement is recapitulative: Mm. 1-13 Introduction, based on open strings and natural flageolets 14-33 marimbaphone episode (new timbre) 34-40 molto ritmico: exposition of the precise rhythmic figure in the wood winds and the pizzicato-playing strings 40-58 a kind of development 58-65 like the beginning (~ mm. 1 ff.) 66-70 like section III (~ mm. 34 ff.) 70-80 epilogue: come un pianto A major conceptual characteristic of the movement is the changing “ethnic” coloration of the music: while the solo part sounds throughout gypsylike-Romanian, the marimba episode267 seems Far-Eastern and the rhythmically accentuated passages evoke African music. Of all the movements of the Violin Concerto, the second is the most perspicu-ous and the one most strongly indebted to tradition. Even the title Aria, Hocket, Chorale appears retrospective, and one feels reminded of the music of the Baroque and the Middle Ages. A closer look at the composition will in-deed yield some historicizing traits. Thus the modally conceived theme of the Aria268 – borrowed from the third of Ligeti’s Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet – recalls Baroque models in its diatonicity, simplicity and cantabile character, and one is surprised to discover that, like early Baroque arias, the movement is divided into several strophes. The more deeply one penetrates into its struc-ture, however, the more one will be astounded by the imagination and the art with which the theme is treated. Traditional compositional techniques like the cantus firmus and the hocket are worked in new ways, and the complexity of the fabric in many places hardly falls short of the intricacies of the other movements. There can be no doubt that the music of this movement, which Ligeti himself, in conversation, referred to as “his” contribution to post-modernism,269 is no less new and no less original than that of the other movements. In drafting the first version, Ligeti was thinking of an aria con variazioni, as a note in the sketches has it. In the final version, the various sections frequently

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merge into each other: clear caesuras are not always detectable. Even so, it is easy to recognize that the theme undergoes six very imaginative variations. It is subtly altered and treated canonically, contrapuntally and chorale-like, as the following outline will show. Strophe 1 (mm. 1-43): theme intoned by the solo violin alone; from m. 28, support from the first viola. Strophe 2 (mm. 43-74): canonic treatment of the theme – canon between flute and solo violin on the fifth scale degree; from m. 65, the solo violin is accompanied by two horns played like natural horns. Strophe 3 (mm. 74-85): Chorale I: the freely diminished theme fortissimo, har-monized by the ocarinas in mixtures (parallel chords).

Strophe 4 (mm. 84-129): Faster tempo ( = 152) and highly contrapuntal fab-ric: the theme as cantus firmus in the trumpet, a counter-voice in the trombone, two different hocket-like voices in the flutes and in the high strings playing in mixtures. Strophe 5 (mm. 129-157): A two-layer structure: the Aria theme in the horns in 3/4 time (tempo primo = 114); the counterpoint of the solo violin in 4/4 time and the faster tempo ( = 152). Strophe 6 (mm. 157-181): Chorale II (molto solenne): the theme harmonized in mixtures in the flutes, ocarinas and swanee whistles; the multiply divided vio-lins play a simultaneous hocket quasi chitarra. Interlude (mm. 180-192): Maestoso misterioso pp (horns, trumpets and trom-bones). Strophe 7 (mm. 192-235): Theme in the solo violin (da lontano: semplice e malin-conico); conclusion dying away. Roughly in the center of the movement (4th strophe) Ligeti placed his most ambitiously worked contrapuntal passage. Here the theme is intoned as cantus firmus in pound notes. The trombone recites a counter-voice, likewise in pound notes, while the flutes and the high strings in mixtures play two hock-et-like mutually complementary contrapuntal voices in smaller notes (Ex. 43). The two chorale variations (strophe 3 and 6) are no less artful in their work-manship. What stands out is for one thing the mixture-type harmonization and instrumentation of the chorale with ocarinas and, for another, the use of the hocket technique. Ligeti derived impulses for its treatment both from Ma-chaut (Hoquetus David) and medieval polyphony and from Central African mu-sic. He had, as previously noted, been fascinated by the vocal and instrumen-

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tal music of the Banda Linda ever since he first encountered recordings of it in 1982. In the famous horn music of this African tribe, which accompanies an initiation rite, the hocket technique consists in the interweaving and over-lapping of differently structured rhythmic figures, which are adapted to the notes of the tonal (anhemitonic) pentatonic scale.270

Ex. 43 Violin Concerto, 2nd movement: cantus firmus (trumpet, trombone), hocket (flutes, violins)

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Highly contrapuntal construction and poetic-imaginative conception need not exclude each other here: the movement begins “lonely” and low with the solo violin, gradually rises up to solemnity (solenne), and after a misterioso interlude, dies away again with the “melancholy” solo violin and the equally “malinconico” alto flute. An altogether different physiognomy is exhibited by the third movement (Presto fluido), whose basic characteristic is fluidity. A flowing motion pervades the entire movement: the multiply divided strings play, from beginning to end, chromatically descending passages, which at first comprise fifteen notes and then get progressively longer (16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24 notes, etc.). They are composed canonically in such a way that an extremely dense texture of chromatically moving voices results. This texture provides the background for a long, flowering melody of the solo violin – a melody whose dodecaphonic structure one hardly notices upon first hearing. Little by little additional sali-ent melodic figures join in: in m. 26, a cantabile melody of the first horn, in m. 36, a molto capriccioso phrase of the clarinets, and in m. 39 and m. 45, respec-tively, an alla danza motif in the flute and then the clarinet. The music begins softly and gradually grows more intense. The chromatic passages of the strings, seeming a first to come from far away, get progres-sively closer, that is, louder. A climax is reached in m. 50, where, in a kind of free recapitulation, the solo violin picks up the melody with which it started con violenza and in fourfold forte. A fluid crescendo of the violins, the flute and the clarinets increases to such a degree that the solo violin can no longer as-sert itself but is covered up by the orchestra. “Its sound disappears as if into a thicket”, the score states at m. 58. With a scordated, barely audible note (“like a distant flare-up”), it takes its leave of the orchestra, and with it the melody, too, disappears for a stretch of ten bars (mm. 60-70): only the flowing motion remains audible in the strings and woodwinds, at first as a mere murmur, later increasingly louder. In m. 70, the trumpet and the trombone enter in conso-nant sixths with a new melody, whereupon the flowing music plunges chro-matically and very loudly from high to low. “The end caves in”, Ligeti jotted down in the sketches, adding the graphic indication of a slanting plane. The more suggestive expression mark in the score reads: Precipitoso: come un cata-clismo – “precipitous: like a waterfall.” The movement is prescribed to last only two minutes. “This duration”, the score says, “is not to be extended, for only thus the tempo is correct.” The fast tempo is required in order to convey the sense of flux. The phrase “Heraklit-Forma”, which occurs once in the sketches, appears to refer to this movement, whose import is the Heraclitean panta rhei, everything flows.

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The fourth movement, a passacaglia marked Lento appassionato, presents an image of both order and chaos, regularity and seeming randomness. A close study of the score will show that the music increasingly departs from the regularity of the beginning as the movement progresses. The passacaglia theme, relatively simple in its structure, is two-voiced and extends to six bars (Ex. 44).

Ex. 44 Concerto for Violin, 4th movement: theme of the passacaglia

While the upper voice consistently rises chromatically, the lower voice moves mostly in contrary motion. The following intervals constitute the “scaffold-ing”: minor second - minor third - perfect fourth - perfect fifth - perfect fourth - minor seventh. In accordance with the nature of the passacaglia, this theme is much-repeated, but never in the original form: each repetition occurs in a transposed form. The whole is designed in such a way that a rising chromatic line, beginning with the note c1 and ending on the note f4, runs, with few exceptions, through the entire piece. At the same time, the original two-voiced structure condens-

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es progressively. The theme’s two-voiced scaffolding remains unchanged only during its first four expositions (mm. 1-24). Thereafter, deviations and irregu-larities multiply. In two places (mm. 56-64 and 85-102), any attempt to recog-nize the underlying compositional principles will be in vain: chaos reigns to both ear and eye. Here is an outline: Mm. 1-6 : c1 - db1 - d1 - eb1 - e1 (piccolo clarinet) 7-12 : f1 - gb1 - g1 - ab1 - a1 (muted trumpet) 13-18 : bb1 - b1 - c2 - db2 - d2 (horn) 19-24 : eb2 (trumpet) e2 - f2 - gb2 - g2 (oboe) 25-29 : ab2 - a2 - bb2 - b2 (piccolo clarinet) 30-35 : c3 - db3 - d3 - eb3 - e (oboe) 36-39 : f3 - gb3 (piccolo clarinet) gb2 - g2 (2nd violin) 40-45 : ab2 - a2 - bb2 - b2 (cello) - c3 (clarinet) 46-51 : db3 - d3 (flute) - eb2 - e2 (double bass) 52-55 : f3 (flute) gb2 (piccolo clarinet) g2 - ab2 (trumpet) 56-64 : impenetrable (chaotic) structure 65-74 : f3 - gb3/f#3 - g3 - ab3 - a3 - bb3 - b3 (recorder, swanee whistle) 75-84 : c4 - db4 - d4 - eb4 - e4 - f4 (piccolo fl. and soprano ocarina) 85-102 : impenetrable (chaotic) structure A unique sound effect marks the beginning of the movement, which persists for 25 measures in the pianissimo sphere, with long-held, imperceptibly chang-ing harmonies determining the musical image, and the solo violin coming in unforgettably with long notes in the highest frequencies (m. 6). The music strikes the listener initially as unreal, fragile, ethereal. One can well see why, in first conceiving the movement, Ligeti had the association of a “glassy dream landscape” and also thought of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. It is characteristic of the course of the movement and the music’s poetic con-ception that this “glassy dream landscape” is progressively threatened and fi-nally destroyed. In mm. 36/37 and 41/42, there are feroce interjections by the violas and the double basses. In mm. 43-46, the oboe, the bassoon and the trombone, accompanied by a Basque drum, intone a syncopated figure that is

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to be played “very rhythmical, choppy” and even “coarse.” In mm. 75/76, the solo violin and nearly all the strings take over the feroce interjection. From m. 79 on, the initially bated music starts to grow in excitement, rising up to ex-treme passion (appassionato). In mm. 88-98, shrill dissonances are produced by the wind instruments, which, reminding of Ligeti’s “cystoscopy” model, lead to a regular explosion (ff on the great drum) in mm. 96-98. That is followed in the score by one of Ligeti’s favorite directions: “stop suddenly, as if torn off” (Ex. 45).

Ex. 45 Concerto for Violin, 4th movement: the “glassy landscape” is destroyed

The finale, Appassionato: agitato molto, has, like the opening movement, a rhap-sodic tendency. In contrast to the three middle movements, no unified struc-tural principle is perceptible here. The music rather presents itself as a se-quence of variegated pictures. Its character changes with surprising frequency

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– in agreement with the telling catchwords tohuwabohu (chaos, hurly-burly) and galimathias (confused chatter) in the sketches. The following grouping of the movement is suggested by the conspicuous changes in character.

1st section (mm. 1-1): lamenting melody in he woodwinds (piccolo flute and oboe), with contrasting interjections by the solo violin

2nd section (mm. 12-26): renewed start of the lamenting melody in the woodwinds (initially flute, pic-colo clarinet, clarinet, then piccolo flute, flute and clarinet) and in the solo vi-olin; progressive condensation of the “fissured” movement

3rd section (mm. 26-34): fresh sound image (use of xylophone and whip); dominance now by bassoon, trombone, high notes of woodwinds and solo violin, which enters feroce in m. 28; the section ends with seven drum strokes

4th section (mm. 45-44): bizzarro, con violenza: Bartókian double stops on the solo violin (reference to Picasso’s La danse in the sketches)

5th section (mm. 44-51): contrasting sound quality created by a grazioso-leggiero melody of the piccolo clarinet

6th section (mm. 51-64): “unison signal” (in the sketches: “gigantic shofar”)

7th section: (mm. 65-81): lamenting melody now in the solo violin (after the manner of a free recapitu-lation); later duet with the alto flute

8th section (mm. 81-92): transition to the cadenza

9th section: (m. 93): free cadenza

10th section (mm. 94-101): postlude

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As the outline shows, the first two sections consist mainly of lamenting melo-dy. The motifs of the solo violin’s highly excited early interjections in mm. 4 ff. (“with terror, quasi shrieking, feroce”) are derived from this melodic material and are described as follows in the sketches: “Violin solo: chromatic stutters [plural] with shreds of the lament.” From m. 12 and 13, the bassoon and the trombone respectively come forward with motifs articulated amazingly fast (leggiero capriccioso) like rapid speech – in the sketches one repeatedly encoun-ters the note “sputtering” (Hung. hadarás). To gain a sense of the contrastive wealth in this movement, one has to listen to it over and over. One can hardly imagine a stronger contrast than that be-tween the 4th section con violenza, which Ligeti associated with Picasso’s La danse (Ex. 46 and fig. p. 192), the 5th section with its grazioso-leggiero melody played by the piccolo clarinet in the highest register (taken over from the re-jected original head movement), and the immensely terse, pithy “unison sig-nal” (like a “gigantic shofar”) of the 6th section. The 7th section then picks up the lamenting melody of the beginning, functioning quasi as a recapitulation. The cadenza has the following somewhat lengthy note attached to it in the score:

The cadenza can last one to two minutes. It is to be always hectic (a continuation of the appassionato agitato molto) but may use melodic materials from all five movements ad lib. Toward the end it should be prestissimo, with alternating arco and left-hand pizzicato in absolutely mad virtuosity. The cadenza has no real conclusion; as per arrangement between the soloist and the conductor, it is to be suddenly interrupted by the or-chestra (at R). This interruption is to happen ‘quasi extempore,’ split-second, while the soloist is playing in high positions (on the 1st string) in maximal tempo. At the entrance of the high wood block, the solo violin falls abruptly silent.

The brief postlude has the effect of an acrobatic gesture. “It is the reaction of the orchestra (clapping, etc.) to the soloist’s performance”, Ligeti explained to me.

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Concerto for Violin, 5th movement: Con violenza of the solo violin (cf. Picasso, La danse, below)

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2.18 The Horn Concerto Ligeti composed this work in 1998 and 1999. The Hamburg “Zeit Foundation Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius” commissioned it, requesting that the premiere take place in Hamburg and that the title reflect a connection with the Hanse-atic city. Ligeti did not hesitate to comply with both wishes. The world premi-ere, on January 20, 2001, did indeed take place in Hamburg; the soloist was the prominent hornist Marie Louise Neunecker, who already years before had asked the composer for a horn concerto. Ligeti, moreover, gave the new work the title Hamburgisches Konzert, in analogy to the Brandenburgische Konzerte of Jo-hann Sebastian Bach. The major innovation in the horn concerto is its sound, resulting from an original combination of the system of natural tones (the “harmonic series”) and the well-tempered system. Thus the soloist plays partly on a natural horn and partly on a valve horn. The score, moreover, prescribes no fewer than four natural horns, all of which sound the tones of the harmonic series. The work is written for a chamber orchestra comprising instruments of diverse genres (among other things two basset horns). The results are iridescent, hov-ering sounds. A listener puzzled by the use of five horns should consider the exceptional tonal amalgamation of these instruments. The following table presents the tones of the harmonic series together with their deviations from the pitches of the tempered system:271

The work was originally designed to be in six movements; later, Ligeti added a seventh. The conspicuous brevity of the movements is owing to the strenu-ousness of playing the horns, though perhaps also to Ligeti’s manifest sympa-thy with Anton Webern, the great master of the musical miniature. The movements have in part multiple headings, which refer either to composi-tional techniques (hocket, aksak, mixture, canon) or to traditional genres (prelude, aria, chorale, capriccio, hymn).

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The first movement, entitled prelude and bearing the expression mark Adagio espressivo, begins with cluster-like pianissimo sounds in half-notes and does not exceed the mezzo forte range. Only six measures before the end (at letter C), we hear a sudden explosion: a stringendo in triple forte moving upward from below and bearing the note “wie verrückt” (like crazy). It is followed by a remarka-ble concluding sound, a soft cluster, beginning pp and ending in a fourfold pppp morendo. The second movement, “Signals, Dance, Chorale”, is divided into three sec-tions, in accordance with the three headings: Signals (mm. 1-7), Dance (mm. 8-15) and Chorale (mm. 16-32). The history of horn music obviously began with signals serving for communication in war and in the chase. Ligeti’s sig-nals, however, have nothing in common with the traditional fourths and fifths intervals but are shaped by modern diastematics, although the first three sig-nals are conspicuously answered by regular echoes.

The “Dance” is distinguished by dense polyphony. The final section is indeed chorale-like in its strict use of four voices but is divided not into four-beat lines but into phrases of different lengths. The third movement is unusual. In contrast to its three headings (“Aria, Aksak, Hocket”), its formal division is bipartite. While the first part consists of an aria (mm. 1-11), the second represents a coupling of aksak and hocket. (mm. 12-33).272 In the Aria, the melody is given to the solo horn, while bon-gos and strings accompany it. In the second part, the aksak rhythm, for which Ligeti had a predilection, is combined with the hocket technique, in that bon-gos, strings and marimbaphone provide the rhythmic foundation, while the short melodic segments of the hocket are given to the woodwinds. The Turkish term aksak, meaning “irregular”, denotes a fast rhythmic system that is based on a matrix consisting of a juxtaposition of binary and ternary quantities, such as 2+2, 2+2+3, 2+3+3. This matrix underlies the so-called Bulgarian rhythm as well as the Greek kalamatianos.273 In his late Hamburg years, Ligeti took a vivid interest in the polyphonic music of the 14th century and especially in the so-called hocket – a technique made famous above all by

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Guillaume de Machaut. In this technique, two voices alternate with single or short groups of notes, mostly in a rapid tempo, one pausing while the other sounds. The fourth movement is headed “Solo, Intermezzo, Mixture, Canon” and is accordingly constructed in four sections: Solo (mm. 1-28), Intermezzo (mm. 29-41), Mixture (mm. 30-65) and Canon (mm. 66-137). The very cantabile solo of the concertante horn is followed secondly by a Vivo feroce in asymmetric rhythms and triple or quadruple forte – the kind of “wild” music Ligeti was of-ten fond of. ”Mixture”, as we have noted before, refers to the sequencing of parallel chords, a technique that has been known since the organ music of the Middle Ages, but was also used by Debussy (La cathédrale engloutie) and Ravel (Bolero). The fourth, highly virtuoso section (prestissimo) is constructed as a can-on and is reserved to the woodwinds, the xylophone and the strings, while the five hornists pause. In the fifth movement, “Spectra”, Ligeti confronted the type of “spectral mu-sic” that flourished in Paris since 1970, and whose principal representative was Gérard Grisey. There are two kinds of spectra: the harmonic and the in-harmonic. While the harmonic are grounded on the harmonic series, noises form the basis of the inharmonic. In a commentary, Ligeti pointed out that the inharmonic spectra had not been made use of to date.274 How complex the structure of this piece is one will realize only upon considering that the solo-playing valve horn produces exclusively well-tempered tones. The Italian word capriccio, mood or whim, in occidental music and visual art denotes a work of whimsical, playful, facetious character. Though etymologi-cally derived from Latin caput, head, rather than capra, goat, as popularly thought, it may have become colored by its phonetic similarity to the latter, an animal known for its “capricious” leaping behavior. Interestingly enough, Li-geti’s sixth movement, entitled “Capriccio”, thus opens with motifs notable for their leaping fifths.

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The piece is bipartite. The first part (mm. 1-24) makes a rather robust impres-sion. The marks rigoroso (m. 11) and trotzig, defiant or obstinate (m. 16), pro-vide hints for the recital of the solo horn. The second part (mm. 25-50) pre-sents a strong contrast. It is held throughout to a pianissimo, and the melody of the soloist is to be recited initially dolcissimo and dolente and later cantabile espr. Self-critical as he was, Ligeti must have felt at some point that the Capriccio was not well suited as a finale and therefore composed a seventh movement, the “Hymn”. The expression mark here reads Andante maestoso e misterioso. The horns are to be muted, the strings to be bowed between bridge and tailpiece. The rhythm regularly follows a pattern of half + dotted half notes. The piece begins pianissimo and concludes, from m. 11 on, crescendo poco a poco up to a tri-ple forte. Of most of the Horn Concerto’s movement it can be said that they fuse con-trasting musical characters in such a way that one is hardly conscious of any ruptures or discontinuities. The Ligeti accent remains unmistakable through-out.

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Afterword: Beyond Avantgarde and Postmodernism

“In today’s musical composition, as well as in the other arts, there is a dichotomy between modernist and postmodern (or Avant-garde and Postmodernism). I regard myself to be out-side either one. Although I once loosely belonged to the Darmstadt Circle, I am no adherent to the Avant-garde – was never a dogmatic advocate of any orientation.”275

“I think both Avant-garde and Postmodernism have become obsolete. But I nevertheless believe in a modern art inde-pendent of any ideology, corresponding to the intellectual sit-uation, the coloration and sense of life of the late 20th centu-ry.”276

Numerous art-theoretical discussions in the late 20th century circled about the relations between Avant-garde, Modernism and Postmodernism. Not only artists – writers, architects, painters and musicians – weighed in but so did philosophers and sociologists. It will come as no surprise that the dispute yielded no consensus, involving, as it did, fundamental questions, diametrical-ly opposed positions and varying definitions. The term avant-garde, borrowed from military nomenclature, refers to the vanguard of a militant troop, whose task it is to advance into unfamiliar terri-tory. Gianmario Borio names as constants of the concept – besides the feel-ing, and passing existence, of group solidarity – an “experimental groping about” and a utopian élan for the unknown.277 An additional key aspect of all avant-garde movements beyond that is an unconditional belief in progress, not only in science and technology but also in art. European music history of the 20th century knows of several avant-garde movements. Among the most important ones must be reckoned the Second Viennese School around Schönberg from 1908 with its advance into atonality and dodecaphony, and the Darmstadt Circle around 1960, which favored se-rialism. Whereas the term avant-garde cannot be called imprecise, the concept of postmodernism is a rather iridescent one, a “passepartout concept” according to Umberto Eco,278 which is used with both a positive and a negative conno-tation. To Jean-François Lyotard279 and Wolfgang Welsch,280 Postmodernism is by no means an “anti-modernism” but the intellectual heir of Modernism: it fulfilled what the latter postulated. Other thinkers, by contrast, conceive of Postmodernism as a reactionary counter-position to Modernism. In 1980,

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Jürgen Habermas, who regards Modernism as a project of enlightenment, thought that now as ever minds are divided “as to whether to continue to hold fast to the intentions of the Enlightenment, however fractured, or else to give up the project of Modernism as lost.”281 Literary critics like Leslie Fiedler, in turn, have lauded Postmodernism for having closed the rift between the artist and the public.282 By his own admission, Ligeti had belonged “more or less loosely” to the Avant-garde during the late ‘fifties’. Soon after arriving in Cologne, he joined the circle around Karlheinz Stockhausen and Gottfried Michael Koenig, who together with Pierre Boulez, Henri Pousseur, Luigi Nono, Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, Mauricio Kagel and Franco Evangelisti represented the mu-sical Avant-garde of the time. The chief aim of the group, whose art was not understood either by the officials or by the public, was to erect a counter-culture. “This solidarity, however”, Ligeti remarked, “presupposed that we took over certain rules, certain stylistic features and kinds of behavior.”283 In the following decades, Ligeti repeatedly expressed severe misgivings about both Avant-garde and Postmodernism, He insisted that the Avant-garde had become “conformist” and “obsolete” and regarded Postmodernism as not in accordance with the times. A key motive for distancing himself from the con-temporary Avant-garde was his conviction that the social utopians connected with it had become irrelevant at least since the descent of the Iron Curtain. Avant-garde art had outlived itself, because both the social and the technolog-ical situation had changed. Morever, Ligeti, who swore by innovativeness, thought it questionable to continue composing after the old Avant-gardist methods – cluster technique, micropolyphony, and the like. No less decisively Ligeti rejected musical Postmodernism in its various shades and hues. On May 18, 1983, he delivered the following statement in Stuttgart: I see in several of my contemporaries a total turning back – not only to to-nality, but also to a set of musical gestures stemming from earlier times, such as the turn of the century. I do not have to talk about that in detail, it is gen-erally known; and I observe similar tendencies in some of he younger com-posers. And he hastened to add that he was critically opposed to the Neo-Romantic and Neo-Expressionist trends. He elaborated by stating that he still wanted to write “a rigorously constructive music” and that it was essential for him to maintain distance to himself; “an all-too direct expression” seemed “taboo” to him.284

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Ten years later, on May 28, 1993, he declared in an interview in the noted German weekly Die Zeit:

I am against postmodernism in all the arts, because I reject the resto-ration of an art that is agreeable and that reaches a great mass of peo-ple, who utter sighs of relief: “Enough of this Modernism already.” I regard this as a lie as much as I do the endeavor to continue the Avant-garde. It signifies the restoration of a sensibility that was perti-nent in the 19th century. But we are not living at the end of the 19th century. Today one has to make an art that contains what is relevant today.285

Ligeti critically confronted many of the artistic directions of our time. He re-flected about the musical situation of the present and sought for a way out of the dilemma of Avant-garde vs. Postmodernism. The works he created since 1982 document his independence of the norms both of the traditional Avant-garde and of modish Postmodernism. In his later years, Ligeti confessed to be fascinated by computer science and artificial intelligence and expected substantial new impulses for his work from informatics. But he never hesitated to add that he did not consider leaving the act of composition to the computer: composing, he was firmly convinced, was an act that presupposed the human genius. Of Ligeti’s multifaceted oeuvre it can be said in conclusion that its traits are unique and unmistakable and that it resists pigeon-holing in any of the fash-ionable variants of the New Music. Located beyond both Avant-garde and Postmodernism, it belongs to Modernism, and it represents the Modern even when it alleges to be bound by tradition. As an eminently critical spirit, Ligeti made the highest demands on himself, his colleagues and his pupils. Some of his own works, too, did not withstand his sharp critical judgment in the long run. Thus he subjected his surrealistic stage work, Le Grand Macabre, to a radical revision. My last extensive conver-sation with him took place in September of 1999 in Hamburg. He was already ill then and, partly as a result of that, very pessimistic. He prognosticated the end of culture, lamented the decline of quality in production and the cult of mediocrity. In his youth, he had admired the experimental spirit, currents like Surrealism and Dadaism. “What happened to our dreams?” he asked. György Ligeti died in Vienna on June 12, 2006.

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3.1 Abbreviations DG diagramm Ex. example FS facsimile m./mm. measure/s ÖMZ Österreichische Musikzeitschrift MGG Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Kassel, 1949-1986) NZfM Neue Zeitschrift für Musik

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3.2 Notes Part One: Personality and Fundamental Aspects of the Work Biographical Sketch 1 Ligeti in a conversation with Ursula Günther and the author, November 14, 1988, in Hamburg. 2 Ligeti in a radio interview with Gerhard Uhlig, November 9, 1989. 3 Ibid. 4 Ligeti, “Viele Pläne aber wenig Zeit” (letter to Ove Nordwall, December 28, 1964), Me-los 32 (1965), 251 f. 5 “‘Ja, ich war ein utopischer Sozialist.’ György Ligeti in Conversation with Reinhard Oehlschlägel,” Musik Texte 28/29 (March 1989), 85-102. 6 Ligeti, “Musikalische Erinnerungen aus Kindheit und Jugend, in Carl Dahlhaus, ed., Festschrift für einen Verleger. Ludwig Strecker zum 90. Geburtstag (Mainz, 1973), 54-60. 7 Ligeti, “Neue Musik in Ungarn,” Melos 16 (1949), 5-8. 8 Ursula Stürzbecher, Werkstattgespräche mit Komponisten (Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag 910) (Munich, 1973), 37-52; p. 43. 9 Karl H. Wörner, Karlheinz Stockhausen. Werk + Wollen 1950-1962 (Kontrapunkte, vol. 6) (Rodenkirchen/Rhein, 1963), 39. Questions of Identity 10 György Ligeti in Hans Jürgen Schulze, ed. Mein Judentum (Deutscher Taschenbuch Ver-lag Sachbuch 10632) (Munich, 1986), 196-207. Cf. Peter Petersen, “Juden im Musikleben Hamburgs”, in Arno Herzig, ed., Die Juden in Hamburg 1590 bis 1990 (Hamburg, 1991), 299-310. 11 György Ligeti Edition 2, Sony Classical 01-062305-10 SK 62305, Track 4. 12 Ligeti, “Mein Judentum,” op. cit., 197 f. 13 Ligeti, “Apropos Musik und Politik,” in Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik XIII (Feri-enkurse ’72) (Mainz, 1973), 42-46. 14 “‘Meine Musik ist elitäre Kunst.’ György Ligeti antwortet Lutz Lesle,” Musica 28 (1974), 39. Towards an Intellectual Physiognomy 15 “Stilisierte Emotion. György Ligeti im Gespräch mit Denys Bouliane,” Musik Texte 28/29 (March 1989), 52-62; p. 57. 16 Ibid., 60. 17 Ligeti, “Aspekte der Webernschen Kompositionstechnik,” Musik-Konzepte, special issue, Anton Webern II (November 1984), 51-104; pp. 54 f. 18 Monika Lichtenfeld, “Gespräch mit György Ligeti,” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 145 (1984), 8-11; p.11. 19 Ove Nordwall, György Ligeti. Eine Monographie (Mainz, 1971), 93, 96. 20 Kindlers Literatur Lexikon, 3 (Munich, 1974), 1046 f. 21 Nordwall, Ligeti, 19, n. 3 22 Armin Sandig, in the brochure for the Ligeti Exhibition at North German Radio, May 27, 1993.

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23 Wolfgang Burde, “Im Banne des imaginären Reichs ‘Kilviria’. Notizen zu graphischen Notaten Ligetis,” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 154 (Jan 1993), 42-47; Burde, György Ligeti. Eine Monographie (Zurich, 1993) 13 f. 24 Denys Bouliane, “Geronnene Zeit und Narration. György Ligeti im Gespräch,” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 149 (May, 1988), 19-25; p. 22. 25 Ligeti, “Apropos Musik und Politik” (see n. 13), 43. 26 “Meine Stellung als Komponist heute,” in Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Monika Lichtenfeld, 2 vol. (Mainz, Tokyo, New York, 2002), 2:114 f. 27 Gesammelte Schriften, 1:262. 28 John M. Chowning, “Music from Machines: Perceptual Fusion & Auditory Perspective – for Ligeti”; Jean-Claude Risset, “Computer. Synthesis, Perception. Paradoxes”; in Für Ligeti. Die Referate des Ligeti-Kongresses Hamburg 1988 (Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwis-senschaft, vol. 11 (Laaber, 1991), 231-243 and 245-258. 29 Burde, Ligeti, 22 f. A “Non-Puristic” Music 30 Lutz Lesle, “In meiner Musik gibt es keine Weltanschauung. Gespräch mit György Li-geti,” Das Orchester 36 (1988), 885-890; p. 888. 31 Werner Klüppelholz in Conversation with György Ligeti, in Was ist musikalische Bildung? (Musikalische Zeitfragen 14) (Kassel, Basel, London, 1984), 66-75; p. 70. 32 Karlheinz Stockhausen, “Elektronische und instrumentale Musik,” Die Reihe 5 (Vienna, 1959), 50 ff. 33 Pierre Boulez, Wille und Zufall. Gespräche mit Célestin Deliège und Hans Mayer (Stuttgart, Zu-rich, 1977), 135 f. 34 Nordwall, Ligeti, 41. 35 Ibid., 138. 36 Ibid., 138. 37 Hans Werner Henze, Musik und Politik. Schriften und Gespräche 1955-1984 (Munich, 1984), 191. Cf. Peter Petersen, “Tanz- Jazz- und Marschidiome im Musiktheater Hans Werner Henzes. Zur Konkretisierung des Stilbegriffs ‘musica impura’,” Musiktheorie 10:1 (!995), 73-86. Metaphors, Allusions and Synaesthesias 38 Ligeti, “Zustände, Ereignisse, Wandlungen,” Melos 34 (1967), 165-169; p.165. 39 Musikalische Zeitfragen 14 (1984), 70. 40 Interview with Josef Häusler, Southwest Radio Baden-Baden, July, 1968. Quoted from Nordwall, Ligeti, 136. 41 Ibid., 137. 42 Olivier Messiaen:

“Every impression turns into music for me. A photograph of stalagmites and stalactites suggests a melody to me, a stained-glass church window in-spires me with a sequence of chords and timbres.”

Quoted from Aloyse Michaely, Die Musik Olivier Messiaens. Untersuchungen zum Gesamtschaf-fen (Hamburger Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft, special issue) (Hamburg, 1987), 10.

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43 Nordwall, 138. 44 Melos 34 (1967), 165. 45 Albert Wellek, Musikpsychologie und Musikästhetik. Grundriß der systematischen Musikwissen-schaft (Frankfurt a.M., 1963), 103, 166ff. 46 Erkki Salmenhaara, Das musikalische Material und seine Behandlung in den Werken “Appariti-ons”, “Atmosphères,” “Aventures” und “Requiem” von György Ligeti (Regensburg, 1969), 177-188. 47 Ligeti to Ove Nordwall, February 22, 1967; quoted from Nordwall, Ligeti, 87 and 90. 48 Nordwall, 126 f. 49 See Claudia Bullerjahn, “Assoziationen für Kenner? Zu Ligetis außermusikalischen An-spielungen, erläutert am Beispiele des Orchestestücks ‘Lontano’ (1967)”, Zeitschrift für Mu-sikpädagogik 51 (Sept. 1989), 9-23. 50 Nordwall, 133. 51 As is well known, numerous “Impressionist” pieces bearing certain titles (e.g. Debussy’s “Estampes” and “Images”) were inspired by visual impressions. Clearly the titles were meant to direct the listener’s imagination in a certain direction as well. Only an “associa-tive” listening is in keeping with music thus constituted. Innovativeness: Aspects of Compositional Technique 52 Quoted from Nordwall, 128. 53 Theodor W. Adorno, Ästhetische Theorie (Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 7) (Frankfurt a.M., 1970), 48. 54 “Fragen und Antworten von mir selbst,” Melos 38 (1971), 509-516. 55 Sie the list of phones attached to the score. 56 Melos 34 (1967), 165. 57 Melos 38 (1971), 510. 58 These rules were published by Salmenhaara (139-141). See Karl-Josef Müller, “György Ligeti (1923). Lontano für großes Orchester (1967,” in Dieter Zimmerschied, ed., Perspek-tiven Neuer Musik. Material und didaktischeInformation (Mainz, 1974)), 286-308. 59 Quoted from Salmenhaara, 141. 60 Arnold Schönberg, “Komposition mit zwölf Tönen,” in Stil und Gedanke. Aufsätze zur Musik, ed. Ivan Vojtech (Gesammelte Schriften 1) (Frankfurt a.M.: S. Fischer, 1976), 72-96; p. 76. 61 Quoted from Nordwall, 144. 62 Peter Niklas Wilson, Empirische Untersuchungen zur Wahrnehmung von Geräuschstrukturen (Schriftenreihe zur Musik, vol. 23) (Hamburg, 1984), 12 f. Motion Types, Tonal Gestures and Expressive Characters 63 In a conversation with Herman Sabbe (Interface 8 [1979], 26), Ligeti stated that his strong interest in the mechanical had been awakened by an early literary experience. When he was five, he said, he had been given a book by Gyula Krudy to read, a book that had fascinated him. He could clearly remember a novel whose heroine was the widow of a meteorologist, professor of physics and mechanical engineer. It had impressed him as a child that this woman lived in an isolated house that was full of clockworks, manometers, hygrometers and all kinds of machinery.

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64 Ligeti to Ove Nordwall, April 17, 1966. Quoted from Nordwall, 8. 65 Herman Sabbe, “Clocky Clouds and Cloudy Clocks – Europäisches Erbe in be- schmutzter Zeitlupe,” in Otto Kolleritsch, ed., György Ligeti. Personalstil – Avantgardismus – Popularität (Studien zur Wertungsforschung, vol. 19) (Vienna, Graz, 1987), 134-144. 66 Melos 41 (1974), 42. 67 Bertolt Brecht, “Über gestische Musik,” in Werke. Große kommentierte Berliner und Frank-furter Ausgabe, vol. 22 (Schriften 2, Pt. 1) (Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 1993), 329-331. This brief article was written in 1937/38. 68 Theodor W. Adorno, Versuch über Wagner (Frankfurt a.M., 1952), 39 ff. 69 Ligeti to Bo Wallner, August 11, 1962. Quoted from Nordwall, 76. 70 Ligeti uses the term Ausdruckscharaktere, expressive characters, himself in his perfor-mance instructions/expression marks for Aventures, m. 38. Time and Space. Imaginary Space 71 Ligeti, commentary on Vertige (1990), in program booklet of 1990 Gütersloh Ligeti Fes-tival, p.12. 72 Nordwall, 124 f. 73 Ibid., 125. 74 Ligeti, commentary on the Piano Concerto, Feb 2, 1988; reprinted in the program of the 1994 Gütersloh Ligeti Festival, 11-14. 75 See Helga de la Motte-Haber, Musik und bildende Kunst. Von der Tonmalerei zur Klangskulp-tur (Laaber, 1990). 76 Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Intervall und Zeit. Aufsätze und Schriften zum Werk, ed. Christof Bittner (Mainz, 1974), 11 ff. 77 Cf. Hans Albrecht, “Art: Impressionismu,” in MGG, vol. 6 (Kassel, 1957), col. 1056. 78 Theodor W. Adorno, Philosophie der neuen Musik (Frankfurt a.M., 1958), 178. 79 Musik-Konzepte, special issue, Anton Webern II (1984), 54 f. 80 Hans-Joachim Erwe, “Interview mit György Ligeti.” Zeitschrift für Musikpädagogik 37 (Nov 1986), 3-11; p. 10. 81 Richard Wagner, Die Musikdramen (Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 6095) (Munich, 1978), 833 f. 82 Ernst Bloch, Zur Philosophie der Musik (Frankfurt a.M., 1974), 239, comments: “The spe-cial meaning of the line is that what is spatially at rest, as something achieved to begin with, is placed above the temporal step and even wants to accelerate the latter by slowing it in the act of finding” (transl.). 83 Pierre Boulez, Points de repère. Essais, 2nd ed., ed. J.-J. Nattiez (Paris 1985), 427-432; p. 427. Transl. as Orientations by Martin Cooper (Cambridge, Mass., 1986), 240-244. 84 Salmenhaara, 187 f. 85 In Salmenhaara, the first two words of the note read “endloser Markt” (endless mar-ket). Ligeti told me on May 22, 1988, with reference to Salmenhaara’s book, that in sketches for the Requiem he often used the Hungarian word tér, which means “space”, “spatiality” though, in a different context, also “place” and “market place.” Salmenhaara often translates incorrectly. 86 Ligeti, “Form in der Neuen Musik,” Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik, vol 10 (Mainz, 1966), 23-35.

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87 Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, transl. Maren Jolas (Boston, 1964, 8. 88 Musik-Konzepte, special issue, Anton Webern II (1984), 89. 89 Salmenhaara, 148. 90 Hartmuth Kinzler, “Allusion – Illusion. Überlegungen anläßlich Continuum,” in Kolle-ritsch, Ligeti, 75-105; p. 87. 91 Ivanka Stoianova, “Über Klangverästelungen und die Formbewegung,” in Kolleritsch, Ligeti, 222-232; pp. 226 f. New Sound Images – New Semantemes. “Cystoscopy”, Vacuum and Music of the Spheres 92 See my Musik als Botschaft (Wiesbaden, 1971), 108. 93 Nordwall, 108. 94 In 1966, during the genesis of the Cello Concerto, Ligeti became ill and had to be hospi-talized. 95 Booklet accompanying the record album WER 60095, p. 22. A “Double-Bottomed” Relation to Tradition 96 Monika Lichtenfeld, “Gespräch mit György Ligeti,” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 145 (1984), 8-11; p. 10. 97 Darmstädter Beiträge zur Neuen Musik 10 (1966), 27. 98 Nordwall, 128, 131, 143. 99 Clemens Kühn, Das Zitat in der Musik der Gegenwwart – mit Ausblicken auf bildende Kunst und Literatur (Hamburg, 1972). 100 In his thoughtful article, “Vorausblick in neue Vergangenheit. Ligeti und die Tradi-tion,” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 154 (Jan 1993), 5-7, Herman Sabbe summarizes Ligeti’s re-lation to tradition with the words: “he does not quote but assimilates.” 101 Klaus Kropfinger, “Ligeti und die Tradition,” in Rudolf Stephan, ed., Zwischen Tradition und Fortschritt. Über das musikalische Geschichtsbewußtsein (Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für neue Musik und Musikerziehung Darmstadt, vol. 13) (Mainz, 1973, 131-142. 102 Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (Frankfurt, 1977), 13-16. 103 Salmenhaara, 187. 104 “Gustav Mahler und die musikalische Utopie. Gespräche zwischen György Ligeti und Clytus Gottwalt,” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 135 (1974), 7-11, 288-01. Diversity of Inspirational Sources. A Universalist Concept of Art and Music 105 MusikTexte 28/29 (March, 1989), 57. 106 For details, see Nordwall, 168. 107 MusikTexte 28/29 (March, 1989), 55. 108 The rejected head movement of the Violin Concerto had a similar dance-like theme: alla danza – capriccioso, mm. 38-41 and, as a grazioso version, mm. 56-59. 109 More about this in the chapter on the Violin Concerto.

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New Ways of Transcending the Tempered System 110 Nordwall, 140. 111 Ligeti on the Violin Concerto. Conversation with Louise Duchesneau, Hamburg, Oc-tober 1992; reprinted in Gütersloh ’94: Musikfest für György Ligeti, 23-25. 112 Ferruccio Busoni, Entwurf einer neuen Ästhetik der Tonkunst. With annotations by Arnold Schönberg and an afterword by H. H. Stuckenschmidt (Frankfurt a.M., 1974), 54-56. 113 Harry Partch, Genesis of a Music. An Account of a Creative Work, its Roots and its Fulfillment, 2nd ed. (New York, 1979; 1st ed. 1949). 114 “György Ligeti über eigene Werke: Ein Gespräch mit Detlef Gojowy aus dem Jahre 1988,” in Für György Ligeti. Die Referate des Ligeti-Kongresses Hamburg 1988 (Hamburger Jahr-buch für Musikwissenschaft, vol. 11) (Laaber, 1991), 349-363; p. 355. 115 Manfred Stahnke, “Über den Begriff ‘Mikrotonalität’, abgeleitet aus dem Werk György Ligetis,” in Gütersloh ’90 Hommage à György Ligeti, 29-33, 30. 116 Ibid. Backgrounds of Ligeti’s Popularity 117 Musica 28 (1974), 40. 118 Musikalische Zeitfragen 14 (1984), 68. 119 Hansjörg Pauli, “Umgang mit Tönen,” in Reihe Film 18, Stanley Kubrick (Munich, Vi-enna, 1984), 247-284; p. 264. 120 Peter W. Jansen, “Kommentierte Filmographie,” ibid., 106-134; p. 110. 121 Gerhard Arnoldi, “Flüstern aus der Sackgasse. Beifall und Pfiffe für den Komponisten György Ligeti,” Hör Zu, No. 49, December 6, 1969, p. 41. 122 Musikalische Zeitfragen 14, (1984), 69. 123 Ulrich Dibelius, “Konsequenzen eines Klangbildners. Zur Musik von György Ligeti,” in booklet attached to record album WER 60095 (Mainz, 1984), 5-14. 124 Burde, Ligeti, 245. 125 Peter Niklas Wilson, Empirische Untersuchungen, 10 f. 126 Musikalische Zeitfragen 14 (1984), 66 f. 127 Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 48 (1993), 297; 49 (1994), 5-8. Part Two: Works Composing in the Homeland 128 Commentary on the First String Quartet, in supplement to record album WER 60095 (Mainz, 1984), 15. 129 Nordwall, 188-201. 130 MusikTexte 28/29 (March 1989), 95. 131 Zsigmond Szathmáry, “Die Orgelwerke von György Ligeti,” in Kolleritsch, Ligeti, 213-220; pp. 219 f. Going beyond Serialism 132 “Fragen und Antworten von mir selbst,” Melos 38 (1971), 512. 133 Ibid., 510 134 Cf. Ernst Krenek, “Vom Verfall des Einfalls” (1959), in Krenek, Im Zweifelsfalle. Aufsät-ze zur Musik (Vienna, Munich, Zurich, 1984), 190-197.

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135 Herbert Eimert, “Von der Entscheidungsfreihait des Komponisten,” in Die Reihe 3 (Vienna, 1957), 5-12; p. 8. 136 György Ligeti, “Pierre Boulez. Entscheidung und Automatik in der Structure Ia”, Die Reihe 4 (Vienna, Zurich, London, 1958), 38-63. 137 This table was published by Gianmario Borio in his Musikalische Avantgarde um 1960. Entwurf einer Theorie der informellen Musik (Laaber, 1993), 40. Apparitions and the Dream of the Web 138 “Zustände, Ereignisse, Wandlungen,” Melos 34 (1967), 165. 139 Ligeti, Artikulation. Eine Hörpartitur von Rainer Wehinger (Mainz, 1979). 140 Ernst Thomas, “IGNM in Köln: Die ‘Avantgarde’ trat hervor,” Melos 27 (1960), 220-226; p. 224. 141 Borio, Musikalische Avantgarde, 47, n. 49. 142 See the discussion by Salmenhaara, op. cit., 30-32. 143 “Fragen und Antworten von mir selbst,” Melos 38 (1971), 11. 144 Ligeti, “Musik und Technik. Eigene Erfahrungen und subjektive Betrachtungen,” in Günther Batel, Günter Kleinen und Dieter Salbert, eds., Computermusik. Theoretische Grund-lagen. Kompositionsgeschichtliche Zusammenhänge, Musiklernprogramme (Laaber, 1987), 9-35; p. 24. 145 Ernö Lendvai, “Einführung in die Formen- und Harmonienwelt Bartóks,” in Weg und Werk. Schriften und Briefe, compiled by Bence Szabolcsi (Budapest and Leipzig, 1957), 91-137 146 Nordwall, 123. 147 See my Gustav Mahler, vol. 3: Die Symphonien (Wiesbaden, 1985), 176-183; and Alban Berg. Music als Autobiographie (Wiesbaden, Leipzig, Paris, 1992), 169-178 (Alban Berg. Music as Autobiography, transl. Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch (Peter Lang, 2014), 142-151. Atmosphères – a Secret Requiem? 148 Ligeti about Atmosphères, quoted from Salmenhaara, 67 f. 149 According to Salmenhaara, 67. 150 Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 3 (1991) 357. 151 Quoted from Nordwall, 9. 152 Salmenhaara, 177-179. 153 In his essay, “Ton-Cluster, Anschläge, Übergänge,” Die Reihe 5 (1959), 23-37, Mauricio Kagel distinguishes five cluster types: 1. fixed tone clusters, 2. movable tone clusters, 3. great tone clusters through addition, 4. small tone clusters through subtraction and 5. flag-eolet tone clusters. 154 Salmenhaara, 86. 155 Andreas E. Beurmann & Albrecht Schneider, “Struktur, Klang, Dynamik. Akustische Untersuchungen an Ligetis Atmosophères,” Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 11 (1991), 311-334; p. 317, diagram p. 318. 156 Circled letters = Ligeti’s own reference letters; Arabic numerals = sound fields accord-ing to Ligeti and Salmenhaara; Roman numerals = structural divisions according to Sigrid Schneider, “Zwischen Statik und Dynamik. Zur formalen Analyse von Ligetis ‘Atmos-phères’,” Musik und Bildung 7 (1975), 506-510. 157 For a detailed discussion, see the next chapter on “Micropolyphony.”

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158 For details, see the chapter “New Sound Images – New Semantemes.” 159 Harald Kaufmann, “Strukturen im Strukturlosen,” Melos 31 (1964), 391-398; reprinted in Kaufmann, Spurlinien. Analytische Aufsätze über Sprache und Musik (Vienna, 1969), 107-117; pp. 114 f. 160 Salmenhaara, 102. 161 Nordwall, 205. Micropolyphony 162 “Musik und Technik” (n. 17, above), 24. 163 Ligeti, “Wandlungen der musikalischen Form,” Die Reihe 7 (1960), 6. 164 Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 11 (1991), 354 f. Language and Music in the Requiem 165 Herman Sabbe, “György Ligeti – Illusions et Allusions,” Interface 8 (1979), 11-34; p. 17. 166 “Viele Pläne aber wenig Zeit”, Melos 32 (1965), 251. 167 Ibid. 168 “Auf dem Weg zu Lux aeterna”, Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 24 (1969), 80-88; pp. 82 f. 169 See Werner Klüppelholz, Sprache als Musik. Studien zur Vokalkomposition seit 1956 (Her-renberg, 1976); Wilfried Gruhn, Musiksprache – Sprachmusik – Textvertonung. Aspekte des Verhältnisses von Musik, Sprache und Text (Schriftenreihe zur Musikpädagogik) (Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, 1878; Gruhn, “Textvertonung und Spachkomposition bei György Lige-ti,” Musik und Bildung 7 (1975), 511-519. 170 According to Salmenhaara, 151, 195. 171 Harald Kaufmann, Von innen und außen. Schriften über Musik, Musikleben and Ästhetik (Hofheim, 1993), 252. 172 Salmenhaara, 187 f. 173 Kaufmann, Von innen und außen , 200. 174 Ernst Bloch, Das Prinzip Hoffnung, vol. 3 (Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 1959), 1292 f. Lux aeterna 175 Stürzbecher, Werkstattgespräche mit Komponisten (see n. 8, above), 51. 176 Nordwall, 78. 177 On 1/11/1993, Ligeti told me that Lontano was basically simply a “parody” (contrafac-tum) of Lux aterna. 178 Ligeti, “Auf dem Weg zu Lux aeterna,” 83. 179 Paul Op de Coul, “Sprachkomposition bei Ligeti: ‘Lux aeterna’. Nebst einigen Rand-bemerkungen zu den Begriffen Sprach- und Lautkomposition,” in Rudolf Stephan, ed., Über Musik und Sprache. Sieben Versuche zur neueren Vokalmusik (Veröffentlichungen des In-stituts für neue Musik und Musikerziehung Darmstadt, vol. 14) (Mainz, 1974), 59-69. 180 Clytus Gottwald, “Lux aeterna. Ein Beitrag zur Kompositionstechnik György Ligetis”, Musica 25 (1971), 12-17. 181 Hans Michael Beuerle, “Nochmals Ligetis ‘Lux aeterna.’ Eine Entgegnung auf Clytus Gottwalds Analyse,” Musica 25 (1971), 279-281. 182 Das Orchester 36 (1988), 889. 183 Nordwall, 92 f.

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184 Ibid., 92. 185 Uve Urban, “Serielle Technik und barocker Geist in Ligetis Cembalo-Stück ‘Continu-um’. Untersuchungen zur Kompositionstechnik,” Musik und Bildung 5 (1973), 63-70, pro-poses a division into five parts: mm. 1-52, 53-86, 87-117, 118-149 and 150-205. 186 Das Orchester 36 (1988), 889. New Conceptions of the Concertante: Notes on the Cello Concerto 187 Nordwall, 92. 188 Gerhard Kubik, “Die Amadinda-Musik von Buganda,” in Arthur Simon, ed., Musik in Afrika (Berlin, 1983), 139-165; pp. 148 ff. 189 Commentary on the Cello Concerto, in Supplement to the record album WERGO (1984), 21 f. 190 See Heinz von Loesch, Das Cellokonzert von Beethoven bis Ligeti: Ästhetische und kompositi-onsgeschichtliche Wandlungen einer musikalischen Gattung (Frankfurt a.M., 1992). 191 Bernd Alois Zummermann Interval und Zeit, 99, 89. 192 Supplement to record album WERGO (1984), 22. 193 Quoted from Loesch, 229. 194 See my Alban Berg. Musik als Autobiographie, 258-268; Alban Berg. Music as Autobiography, 227-237 195 Nordwall, 84. 196 Wolfgang-Andreas Schultz, “Zwei Studien über das Cello-Konzert von Ligeti,” Zeitschrift für Musiktheorie 6 (1975), 97-104, views the first movement of the Cello Concerto under the aspect of “aesthetic causality” and elaborates on its difference from the first movement of Apparitions. The second movement he regards as a “composition with pat-terns.” Ligeti himself preferred to define the form of this movement as “a succession of episodes.” 197 For details, see the chapter on “New Sound Images – New Semantemes.” On the Three Pieces for Two Pianos 198 Ligeti’s introduction to the Three Pieces for Two Pianos, quoted from the program book of the 42nd Summer Music Festival Hitzacker 1987, pp. 9-13. Mad Word Theater: Le Grand Macabre 199 Ligeti, “Zur Entstehung der Oper ‘Le Grand Macabre’,” Melos/Neue Zeitschrift für Musik [NZfM] 4 (1978), 91-93. 200 Ligeti, “Le Grand Macabre,” Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 36 (1981), 569 f. 201 Wulf Konold, “Ligetis Le Grand Macabre – absurdes Welttheater auf der Opernbüh-ne”, in Otto Kolleritsch, ed., Oper heute. Formen der Wirklichkeit im zeitgenössischen Musikthea-ter (Studien zur Wertungsforschung, vol. 16) (Vienna, Graz, 1985), 136-153. 202 Michel de Ghelderode, Theater (Die Ballade from großen Makabren and other plays), transl. from the French By Fritz Monfort (Neuwied am Rhein, Berlin-Spandau, 1963). 203 Melos/NZfM 4 (1978), 92. 204 “Das Komische ist todernst … Le Grand Macabre … Abbilder der heutigen Welt. György Ligeti im Gespräch mit Jochem Wolff,” in Program book for the Hamburg pro-duction 1978, pp. 48-50; p. 48.

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205 It was followed by productions in Hamburg (October 15, 1978), Saarbrücken (May 3, 1979), Bologna (May 5, 1979), Nuremberg (February 2, 1980), Paris (March 23, 1981), London (September 29, 1991), Vienna (January 20, 1994) and other venues. 206 Osterreichische Musikzeitschrift 36 (1981), 569. 207 Interface 8 (1979), 22 f. 208 Program book for the Hamburg production 1978, p. 50 209 Elke Krumm, Die Gestalt des Ubu im Werk Alfred Jarrys (Cologne, 1976). 210 The present discussion of Le Grand Macabre is based on the study particello of the opera produced by Friedrich Wanek (B. Schott’s Sons, Mainz, 1978). Ligeti made numer-ous changes and cuts in the libretto of his opera over the years. The text included in the booklet to the CD, WERGO 6170 (Mainz 1991) represents the version he ultimately pre-ferred. 211 Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 36 (1981), 570. 212 Ghelderode, Theater, 41-44. 213 Ibid., 13. 214 Program book for the Hamburg production, 1978, pp. 48 f. 215 Martin Esslin, The Theater of the Absurd, rev. ed. (Woodstock, New York, 1973), 6. The Turning Point ca. 1980 216 MusikTexte 28/29 (March 1989), 57. 217 Ligeti “‘… nur die Phantasie muß gezündet werden.’ Zur Anwendung von Computern in der Komposition,” MusikTexte 28/29 (March 1989), 3 f. 218 John M. Chowning, “Music from Machines: Perceptual Fusion & Auditory Perspective – for Ligeti,” Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 11 (1991), 231-258. 219 At a “chamber concert” on October 17, 1988, in Hamburg, Ligeti introduced the work of Conlon Nancarrow in the presence of the Mexican artist. Eight of Nancarrow’s Studies were played on that occasion – the numbers 3a, 7, 10, 12, 24, 27, 36 and 43. 220 Simha Arom, Musiques Banda, Collection “Musée de l’Homme,” Vogue LD 765 (1971); Arom, Banda Polyphonies, Collection UNESCO “Musical Sources,” Philips 6586-032 (1976). 221 Simha Arom, Aka Pygmy Music, Collection UNESCO, “Musical Sources,” Philips 6586-016 (1973); Vincent Dehoux, Musique Gbaya. Chants à penser, OCORA 558524 (1974). 222 Thus Ligeti in his preface to the English edition of Simha Arom, African polyphony and polyrhythm (Cambridge, 1991), xvii. 223 Gerhard Kubik, “Amadinda-Musik in Buganda und Kognitive Grundlagen afrikani-scher Musik,” in Arthur Simon, Musik in Afrika (1983), 148-152 and 344. See on this also Kubik’s “Theorie, Aufführungspraxis und Kompositionstechniken der Hofmusik der Buganda. Ein Leitfaden zur Komposition in einer ostafrkanischen Musikkultur,” Hambur-ger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 11 (1991), 23-162. 224 Heinz-Otto Peitgen und Peter H. Richter, The Beauty of Fractals (Berlin, Heidelberg, 1986). 225 Benoît Mandelbrot, Die fraktale Geometrie der Natur (Basel, Boston, Berlin, 1991). 226 Gottfried Michael König, “Ligeti und die elektronische Musik,” in Kolleritsch, Ligeti (1987), 11-18. See also Musik-Konzepte 66 – Gottfried Michael König (October 1989).

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227 Rudolf Frisius, Konstruktion als chiffrierte Information. Zur Musik von Iannis Xena-kis”, Musik-Konzepte 54/55, Iannis Xenakis (Munich, 1987), 91-160. 228 MusikTexte 28/29 (March, 1989), 3. 229 Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 149 (May 1988), 19. 230 Ligeti, “Computer und Komposition. Subjecktive Betrachtungen,” in Tiefenstruktur. Musik, Baukunst. Festschrift Fritz Winckel zum 80. Geburtstag (Berlin, 1987), 22-30; p. 27. Épater l’Avant-garde: Retrospective and Forward-Looking Elements in the Horn Trio 231 “‘Musik mit schlecht gebundener Krawatte.’ György Ligeti im Gespräch mit Monika Lichtenfeld,” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 142 (1981), 471. 232 Ligeti, work commentary on Drei Phantasien nach Friedrich Hölderlin, quoted from the program book of The Witten Festival for New Chamber Music 1988, p. 53. 233 Sabine Tomzig, “Weltpremiere in Bergedorf: Ligeti wird gefühlvoll,” Das Orchester 30 (1982), 836 f. 234 Ute Schalz-Laurenze, “Klagelandschaft,” quoted from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung by Ken W. Bartlett, György Ligeti – 60. Geburtstag am 28. Mai 1983 (Mainz, 1983), 14. 235 Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 145 (1984), 10. 236 Ulrich Dibelius, “Ligetis Horntrio,” Melos 46 (1984), 44-61; p. 45. 237 Work commentary on the Horn Trio, quoted from the program book of the Gütersloh Ligeti Festival 1990, pp. 12 f. 238 Melos 46 (1984), 57. 239 MusikTexte 28/29 (March 1989), 59 f. 240 Die Zeit, May 28, 1993, p. 57. 241 Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 145 (1984), 10. 242 Josef Häusler, “Trompe-l’Oreille, Allusion, Illusion – über einige Werke von György Liget,” record album WER 60100 (Mainz, 1986). Notes on the Hölderlin Fantasies 243 Ligeti to the author, August 2, 1983. 244 Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 24 (1969), 83. Construction and Imagination: Principles of the Piano Etudes 245 Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 11 (1991), 359. 246 Zeitschrift für Musikpädagogik 37 (1986), 8. 247 Ligeti, Éudes pour piano – premier livre, facsimile edition ED 7428, (Mainz, 1986). 248 Denys Bouliane, “Imaginäre Bewegung. György Ligetis ‘Études pour piano’,” Musik-Texte 28/29 (March 1989), 73-84; p. 74 f. 249 Henning Siedentopf, “Neue Wege der Klaviertechnik,” Melos 40 (1973), 143-146. 250 MusikTexte 28/29 (March 1989), 60. 251 Aloyse Michaely, Die Musik Olivier Messiaens, 378. 252 Work commentary on the Études pour piano – premier livre, printed in the program book of the Gütersloh Ligeti Festival 1990, pp. 17-19. 253 Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 11 (1991), 362. 254 Commentary on the Études pour piano – deuxième livre, printed in the program book of the Gütersloh Ligeti Festival 1990, pp. 19 f.

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255 Heinrich Husmann, Einführung in die Musikwissenschaft (Heidelberg, 1958), 99 ff. 256 Jaap Kunst, article “Javanische Musik,” in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart VI (Kassel, 1957), cols. 1788-1791. 257 Program book of the Gütersloh Ligeti Festival 1990, p. 20. 258 Peter Niklas Wilson has drawn attention to the fact that in m. 68 (left hand) the fifths are “compressed” into tritones; “Interkulturelle Fantasien. György Ligetis Klavieretüden Nr. 7 und 8,” in Klaviermusik des 20. Jahrhunderts (Melos 51 [1992)]). 63-84; p. 71. 259 Program book of the Gütersloh Ligeti Festival 1990, p. 20. 260 Lutz Lesle, “Seesturm, Chaos, Teufelsleiter. György Ligeti im Gespräch nach seiner Amerikareis,” Das Orchester 41 (1993), 784-788; p. 784. “Quasi-Equidistance” and Polyrhythm: Coordinates of the Piano Concerto 261 Ligeti, introduction to the Piano Concerto (dated February 20, 1988), printed in the pro-gram book of the Gütersloh Ligeti Festival 1994, pp. 11-14. 262 The “Lacrimosa” from the Requiem begins similarly. 263 Ligeti tried out this sound effect already in “Automne à Varsovie” (Etude No. 6), mm. 55-61. The Violin Concerto 264 Ligeti on the Violin Concerto (Hamburg, October 1992), in Program book of the Gü-tersloh Ligeti Festival 1994, pp. 23-25; p. 25. 265 Pizz. Tetel (Hungar.) = pizzicato movement. 266 Saschko Gawriloff, “Ein Meisterwerk von Ligeti. Marginalien zur Entstehung des Vio-linkonzerts,” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 154 (Jan. 1993), 16-18; p. 18. 267 The nine-tone scale on which the marimba episode is based goes g - bb - c1 - e1 - f#1 - a#1 - b - c#2 - f2 - gb2 - bb2 - c3 - eb3 - f3 - ab3. 268 It is based partly on the Lydian and partly on the Mixolydian mode: g - a - b - c/c# - d - e - f/f# - g. 269 Oral communication to the author on Jan 11, 1993. 270 See the transcriptions of a number of recordings in the book by Simha Arom citd above, to whose English edition Ligeti contributed an informative preface. The Horn Concerto 271 On the natural-tone row, see above all John Pierce, Klang. Musik mit den Ohren der Physik (Heidelberg, Berlin, Oxford: Spectrum, 1991). 272 Aria and hocket are forms Ligeti tried out already in the Violin Concerto. 273 Cf. Constantin Brailoiu, “Le rythme Aksak,” Revue de Musicologie 33, nos. 99 and 100 (Dec 1951), 71-108; Simha Arom, “L’aksak. Principes et typologie,” Cahiers de musiques tra-ditionelles 17 (2004), 11-48. 274 The Ligeti Project, 37.

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Afterword: Beyond Avant-garde and Postmodernism 275 Lutz Lesle, “In meiner Musik gibt es keine Weltanschauung. Gespräch mit György Li-geti”, Das Orchester 36 (1988), 890. 276 “Wohin orientiert sich die Musik? György Ligeti im Gespräch mit Constantin Floros,” Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 49 (1994), 5-8; p. 7. 277 Gianmario Borio, Musikalische Avantgarde, 9. 278 Umberto Eco, “Postmodernismus, Ironie und Vergnügen,” in Wolfgang Welsch, ed., Wege aus der Moderne. Schlüsseltexte der Postmoderne-Diskussion (Weinheim, 1988), 75-78; p. 75. 279 Jean-François Lyotard, La condition postmoderne. Rapport sur la savoir (Paris, 1979). 280 Wolfgng Welsch, Unsere postmoderne Moderne, 3rd ed. (Weinheim, 1991). 281 Jürgen Habermas, “Die Moderne – ein unvollendetes Projekt,” in Welsch, ed., Wege aus der Moderne, 177-192; p. 184. 282 Leslie Fiedler, “Cross the Border – Close the Gap,” quoted from Wolfgang Welsch, “Postmoderne,” in Peter Kemper, ed. “Postmoderne” oder der Kampf um die Zukunft (Frank-furt a.M., 1988), 14. 283 “Laß mich tun, was ich will. Eckehard Roelck im Gespräch mit György Ligeti,” Die Zeit no. 22, May 28, 1993, p. 57. 284 Monika Lichtenfeld, “Gespräch mit György Ligeti,” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 145 (1984), 8-11; p. 8. 285 Die Zeit, May 28, 1993, p. 57.

György Ligeti with Pierre-Laurant Aimard (photographed by Altug Ünlü)

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3.3 Register of Works A systematic compilation of György Ligeti’s early works is hampered by the fact that, due to the composer’s flight from Hungary in December of 1956, a number of works are lost or missing. We owe the first scholarly recording of the early work to Ove Nordwall. Of the three “work catalogs” he put togeth-er, the first comprises Ligeti’s juvenile efforts (1938-1943) and his student compositions (1942-1948). Catalog No. 2, covering the period between 1944 and 1956, lists no fewer than 74 scores, of which only sixteen appeared in print in Hungary at the time. The following register catalogs all of Ligeti’s works since 1957.

Glissandi, electronic Music (May until August 1957), (1-track, re-alized at WDR Cologne)

Pièce electronique Nr. 3 (November 1957 until January 1958), reali-zation started by Ligeti, but abandoned

Artikulation, electronic Music (January until March 1958), Premi-ere 3-25-1958 in Cologne; „Hörpartitur" by Rainer Wehinger, Mainz 1970

Apparitions for Orchestra (1958/59), Premiere June 19, 1960 in Cologne; Publishing House: Universal Edition, Vienna 1964

Atmosphères for large orchestra without percussion (February until July 1961), Premiere 10-22-1961 in Donaueschingen; Publishing House: Universal Edition, Vienna 1963

Die Zukunft der Musik - Eine kollektive Komposition (August 1961), „The Future of Music“

Trois bagatelles, “musikalisches Zeremoniell” for one pianist (Au-gust 1961), Premiere 26. September 1962 in Wiesbaden; Repro-duction of the Manuskript in: Ove Nordwall, Ligeti-dokument, Stockholm 1968

Fragment for chamber orchestra (October 1961, Revision 1964), Premiere 23. March 1962 in Munich; Publishing House: Univer-sal Edition, Vienna 1974

Volumina for Organ (November 1961 until January 1962, Revision April/May 1966), Premiere May 4, 1962 in Bremen; Publishing House Peters, Frankfurt 1967

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Poème Symphonique, “musical ceremony” for 100 Metronomes (November 1962), Premiere November 13, 1963

Aventures for three singers and seven instrumentalists (May un-til December 1962, Revision 1963), Premiere 4-4-1963 in Hamburg; Publishing House: Peters, Frankfurt 1964

Requiem for solo soprano and mezzo-soprano, two mixed choirs and orchestra (Spring 1963 until January 1965, Premiere 3-14-1965 in Stockholm; Publishing House: Peters, Frankfurt 1966)

Nouvelles Aventures for three singers and seven instrumentalists (1962 until December 1965), Premiere May 26, 1966 in Ham-burg; Publishing House: Peters, Frankfurt 1966

Aventures & Nouvelles Aventures, Action in 14 Pictures, phonetic text by Ligeti (January / February 1966), Premiere 10-19-1966 in Stuttgart; Publishing House: Peters, Frankfurt 1967

Lux aeterna for sixteen-part mixt choir a cappella (July/August 1966), Premiere November 2, 1966 in Stuttgart; Publishing House: Peters, Frankfurt 1967

Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (July until Dezember 1966), Prem-iere April 19, 1967 in Berlin; Publishing House: Peters, Frank-furt 1969

Lontano for large Orchestra (May 1967) Premiere 10-22-1967 in Donaueschingen; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1969

Etude Nr. 1: “Harmonies” for Organ (Juli 1967), Premiere 14. Oc-tober 1967 in Hamburg; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1970

Continuum for Cembalo (January 1968), Premiere October 1968 in Basel; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1970

String Quartet Nr. 2 (March until July, J968), Premiere Decem-ber 14, 1969 in Baden-Baden; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1971

Zehn Stücke für Bläserquintett (August until December 1968), Premiere January 20, 1969 in Malmö; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1970

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Ramifications for string orchestra or twelve solo strings (Decem-ber 1968 until March 1969), Premiere (twelve strings) 4-23-1969 in Berlin; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1970

Etude Nr. 2: „Coulée” for Organ (July 1969), Premiere October 1969 im Stift Seckau / Steiermark; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1969

Kammerkonzert for 13 Instrumentalists (1969/1970), Premiere October, 1970 in Berlin; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1974

Melodien for Orchestra (1971), Premiere December 10, 1971 in Nurnberg, Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1973

Double Concerto for flute, oboe and orchestra (1972), Premiere September 16, 1972 in Berlin; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1974

Clocks and Clouds for twelve-part female choir and orchestra, phonetic text by Ligeti, Premiere October 15, 1973 in Graz; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1977

San Francisco Polyphony for orchestra (1973/1974) Premiere Jan-uary 8, 1975 in San Francisco; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1977

Monument. Selbstportrait. Bewegung, Three pieces for two pianos, Premiere May 15, 1976 in Cologne; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1976

Rondeau. One-Man-Theater for an actor and tapes (1976), Premiere 26. February 1977 in Stuttgart; Publishing House: Schott. Mainz 1977

Le Grand Macabre, opera in two acts, Libretto by Michael Mes-chke and György Ligeti after La Balade du Grand Macabre by Michel de Ghelderode (1974-1977, revised 1996), Premiere April 14, 1978 in Stockholm; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1978

Mysteries of the Macabre for trumpet and piano (1988) or colora-tura soprano, trumpet in C and chamber ensemble (1991) or Orchestra (1992); Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1992/1994

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Macabre Collage, Suite for Orchestra (1991); Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1992

Hungarian Rock, Chaconne for Cembalo (1978), Premiere May 20, 1978 in Cologne; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1979

Passacaglia ungherese for Cembalo (1978), Premiere February 5, 1979 in Lund (Sweden); Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1979

Trio for Violin, Horn and piano (1982), Premiere August 7, 1982 in Hamburg-Bergedorf; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1984

Drei Phantasien nach Friedrich Hölderlin für sixteen-part mixed choir a cappella (1982), Premiere September 26, 1983 in Stock-holm; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1983

Magyar Etüdök after Sandor Weöres for 8-, 12- und 16-part mixed choir a cappella (1983), Premiere: Etude 1 & 2, 5-18-1983 in Stuttgart; Etude 3 11-17-1983 in Metz; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1983

Etudes pour piano - premier livre (Nov. 1984 until Summer 1985), Premiere: Etude 1 4-15-1986 in Bratislava; Etudes 2, 3, 6 11-24-1985 in Warschau; Etude 4 & 5 11-1-1985 in Hamburg; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1986

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1985-1987), Premiere: Move-ments 1-3 October 23, 1986 in Graz; movements 4 & 5 Febru-ary 29, 1988 in Vienna; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1986

Nonsense Madrigals for six-part choir a cappella, texts by William Brighty Rands and Lewis Carroll (1988/1989), Premiere: Mad-rigal 1-4 9-25-1988 in Berlin; madrigal 5 10-28-1989 in Lon-don; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1983

Etudes pour piano – deuxieme livre (1988 until 1994); Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1989 und 1993

Concerto for Violin and Orchester, first version, three movements (1990), Premiere 11-3-1990 in Cologne; second version, five movements (1992), Premiere 10-8-1992 in Cologne; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz 1992

Sonate for Viola solo (1991-94), Premiere April 23, 1994 in Gü-tersloh; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz

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Hamburg Concerto for solo horn, four natural horns and Cham-ber Orchestra (1998/99, revised 2003); Premiere January 20, 2001 in Hamburg; Publishing House: Schott, Mainz

Sippal, dobbal, nádihegedüvel (With Pipes, Drums, Fiddles) for mezzo-soprano and percussion (2000) after Sándor Weöres

Etudes pour piano – troisième livre (1995-2001); Publishing House: Schott, Mainz

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3.4 Selected Bibliography The interest in Ligeti and his music has steadily grown during the last forty, fifty years. As a result, the secondary literature about him has also increased voluminously. The authoritative bibliography by Péter Halász, published as a supplement to the Ligeti issue of the Hungarian periodical Muzsika (June 1993) includes no fewer than 426 titles, which are grouped into five catego-ries: Ligeti’s own writings, commentaries on his works, interviews, accounts of premieres, and secondary literature. The bibliography below does not claim to be complete: it lists mainly the titles cited in this book, plus some items that are missing in Halász’s meritorious Bibliográfia. Writings of Ligeti “Neue Musik in Ungarn,” in: Melos 16 (January 1949): 5-8 “ Pierre Boulez. Entscheidung und Automatik in der Structure 1a,” Die Reihe 4 (Vienna, 1958): 38-63 “Zur Klaviersonate III von Boulez,” Die Reihe 5 (Vienna, 1959): 38-40 “Wandlungen der musikalischen Form,” Die Reihe 7 (Vienna, 1960): 5-17 “Viele Pläne, aber wenig Zeit,” Melos 32 (1965): 251 f. “Form in der Neuen Musik,” Darmstädter Beitrage zur Neuen Musik X (Mainz 1966): 23-35 “Zustände, Ereignisse, Wandlungen,” Melos 34 (1967): 165-169 “Auf dem Weg zu ‘Lux aeterna’,” ÖMZ 24 (1969): 80-89 “Fragen und Antworten von mir selbst,” Melos 38 (1971): 509-516 “Apropos Musik und Politik,” Darmstädter Beitrage zur Neuen Musik XIII (Mainz, 1973): 42-46 “Musikalische Erinnerungen aus Kindheit und Jugend,” in: Carl Dahlhaus, ed., Festschrift für einen Verleger. Ludwig Strecker zum 90. Geburtstag. Mainz 1973. 54-60 “Mein Judentum,” in: Hans Jörgen Schultz, ed., Mein Judentum. Ber-lin/Stuttgart, 1978, 2nd ed. Munich, 1986. 196-207 “Zur Entstehung der Oper ‘Le Grand Macabre’,” Melos/NZfM 4 (1978): 91-93 “Le Grand Macabre,” ÖMZ 36 (1981): 569f. Aspekte der Webernschen Kompositionstechnik, in: Musik-Konzepte. Sonder-band Anton Webern II. Munich, 1983. 51-104

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“Musik und Technik. Eigene Erfahrungen und subjektive Betrachtungen,” in: Gunther Batel, Gunter Kleinen and Dieter Salbert, eds., Computermusik. Theore-tische Grundlagen. Kompositionsgeschichtliche Zusammenhänge. Musiklernprogramme. Laaber, 1987. 9-35 “Computer und Komposition. Subjektive Betrachtungen,” in: Tiefenstruktur. Musik. Baukunst. Festschrift Fritz Winckel zum 80. Geburtstag am 20. Juni 1987. Berlin, 1987 22-30 “... nur die Phantasie muss gezündet werden. Zur Anwendung van Compu-tern in der Komposition,” MusikTexte 28 / 29 (March 1989): 3f. “Konvention und Abweichung. Die ‘Dissonanz’ in Mozarts Streichquartett C-Dur KV 465,” ÖMZ 46 (1991): 34-39 “Rhapsodische, unausgewogene Gedanken über Musik, besonders über mei-ne eigenen Kompositionen,” NZfM 154 (1993): 20-29 Kommentare über seine Werke, in: Supplement to record album WER 60095, Mainz 1984; Program of the 42nd Summer Music Festival Hitzacker 1987; Program of the Güterslohe Ligeti Festival 1990 and 1994 Gesammelte Schriften, ed. Monika Lichtenfeld, 2 vols. Basel/Mainz 2007 “Träumen Sie in Farbe? György Ligeti im Gespräch mit Eckhard Roelke.” Vienna, 2003 György Ligeti/Gerhard Neuweiler: Motorische Intelligenz. Musik und Naturwissenschaft, ed. Reinhard Meyer-Kalkus. Berlin, 2007 Discussions with Ligeti BOULIANE, Denys “Geronnene Zeit und Narration. György Ligeti im Gespräch.” NZfM 149 (May, 1988): 19-25 “Stilisierte Emotion. György Ligeti im Gespräch.” MusikTexte 28/29 (March 1989): 52-62 ERWE, Hans Joachim “Interview mit György Ligeti,” Zeitschrift für Musikpädagogik 11 (November 1986): 3 -11 GOTTWALD, Clytus “Gustav Mahler und die musikalische Utopie. Gespräche zwischen György Ligeti und Clytus Gottwald.” NZfM 135 (1974): 7-11, 288-291

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HANSEN, Mathias “Musik zwischen Konstruktion und Emotion.” Musik und Gesellschaft 34 (1984): 472-477 HÄUSLER, Josef “nterview mit György Ligeti. Melos 37 (1970): 496-507 KLUPPELHOLZ, Werner “György Ligeti,” in: Was ist musikalische Bildung? (Musikalische Zeitfragen 14) Kassel, 1984. 66-75 LESLE, Lutz “‘Meine Musik ist elitäre Kunst’.” Musica 28 (1974): 39 f. “In meiner Musik gibt es keine Weltanschauung.” Das Orchester 36 (1988): 885-890 “Seesturm, Chaos, Teufelsleiter. György Ligeti im Gespräch nach seiner Amerikareise.” Das Orchester 41 (1993): 784-788 LICHTENFELD, Monika “György Ligeti gibt Auskunft.” Musica 26 (1972): 48-50 “Musik mit schlecht gebundener Krawatte.” NZfM 142 (1981): 471-473 “Gespräch mit György Ligeti.” NZfM 145 (1984): 8-11 LIGETI, György - GOJOWY, Detlef “György Ligeti über eigene Werke. Ein Gespräch mit Detlef Gojowy aus dem Jahre 1988.” Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 11 (Laaber 1991): 349-363 LIGETI, György - FLOROS, Constantin “Wohin orientiert sich die Musik?” ÖMZ 49 (1994): 5-8 OEHLSCHLÄGEL, Reinhard “‘Ja, ich war utopischer Sozialist’.” MusikTexte 28/29 (March 1989): 85-104 SAALFELD, Lerke von “‘Ich glaube nicht an große Ideen, Lehrgebäude, Dogmen …’” NZfM 154 (1993): 32-36 SABBE, Herman “György Ligeti, Illusions et Allusions.” Interface 8 (1979): 11-34

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STÜRZBECHER, Ursula “György Ligeti,” in: Werkstattgespräche mit Komponisten (Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag 910). Munich, 1973. 37-52 VÁRNAI, Peter / HÄUSLER, Joseph / SAMUEL, Claude Ligeti in Conversation. Eulenburg, London 1983 WIESMANN, Sigrid “‘The island is full of noise’. György Ligeti im Gespräch.” ÖMZ 39 (1984): 510-514 WOLFF, Jochem “Das Komische ist todernst ... Le Grand Macabre – Abbilder unserer heuti-gen Welt,” in: Peter Dannenberg / Jochem Wolff, Program of the Hamburg premiere of Le Grand Macabre on October 15, 1978. 48-50 About New Music ADORNO, Theodor W. Philosophie der neuen Musik. Frankfurt a.M., 1958 BLUMENRÖDER, Christoph von Die Grundlegung der Musik Karlheinz Stockhausens (Beihefte zum Archiv für Mu-sikwissenschaft, vol. XXXII). Stuttgart, 1993 BORIO, Gianmario Musikalische Avantgarde um 1960. Entwurf einer Theorie der informellen Musik (Frei-burger Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft, vol. 1). Laaber, 1993 BOULEZ, Pierre Wille und Zufall. Gespräche mit Celestin Deliège und Hans Mayer. Stuttgart/Zurich, 1977 Orientations. Collected Writings, transl. Martin Cooper. Cambridge, Mass., 1986 (orig. Points de repère. Essais, ed. Jean-Jacques Nattiez. Paris, 1985) BUSONI, Ferruccio Entwurf einer neuen Ästhetik der Tonkunst. With annotations by Arnold Schön-berg and am afterword by H. H. Stuckenschmidt. Frankfurt a.M., 1974 DAHLHAUS, Carl ed., Die Musik der fünfziger Jahre: Versuch einer Revision (Publications of the Institut für neue Musik und Musikerziehung Darmstadt 26). Mainz, 1985

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DANUSER, Hermann Die Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts (Neues Handbuch der Musikwissenschaft, vol. 7). Laaber, 1984 FLOROS, Constantin Humanism, Love and Music, transl. Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 2012. New Ears for New Music, trasnl. Kenneth Chalmers. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 2013 Alban Berg. Music as Autobiography, transl. Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang, 2014 GRUHN, Wilfried Musiksprache – Sprachmusik – Textvertonung. Aspekte des Verhältnisses von Musik, Sprache und Text (Schriftenreihe zur Musikpädagogik). Frankfurt a.M./Berlin/Munich, 1978 HENZE, Hans Werner Musik und Politik. Schriften und Gespräche 1955-1984. Ed. With a preface by Jens Brockmeier. Munich, 1984 KAUFMANN, Harald Spurlinien. Analytische Aufsätze über Sprache und Musik. Vienna. 1969 Von innen und außen. Schriften über Musik, Musikleben und Ästhetik, ed. Werner Grünzweig and Gottfried Krieger. Hofheim, 1993 KLÜPPELHOLZ, Werner Sprache als Musik. Studien zur Vokalkomposition seit 1956. Herrenberg, 1976 KRENEK, Ernst Im Zweifelsfalle. Aufsätze zur Musik. Vienna/Munich/Zurich, 1984 KURTZ, Michael Stockhausen. Eine Biographie. Kassel, 1988 LOESCH, Heinz von Das Cellokonzert von Beethoven bis Ligeti. Ästhetische und kompositionsgeschichtliche Wandlungen einer musikalischen Gattung. Frankfurt a.M., 1992

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MICHAELY, Aloyse Die Musik Olivier Messiaens. Untersuchungen zum Gesamtschaffen (Hamburger Bei-träge zur Musikwissenschaft, special issue). Hamburg, 1987 MOTTE-HABER, Helga de la Musik und bildende Kunst. Von der Tonmalerei zur Klangskulptur. Laaber, 1990 Musik-Konzepte: No. 19. Karlheinz Stockhausen ... wie die Zeit verging .... Munich, 1981 Nos. 39/40. Ernst Krenek. Munich, 1984 Nos. 54/55. Iannis Xenakis. Munich, 1987 No. 66. Gottfried Michael Koenig. Munich, 1989 No. 69. Henri Pousseur. Munich, 1990 PARTCH, Harry Genesis of a Music: An account of a creative work, its roots and its fulfillments, 1st ed. 1949, 2nd ed. New York. 1979 PETERSEN, Peter Hans Werner Henze. Ein politischer Musiker. Zwölf Vorlesungen. Hamburg: Argu-ment-Verlag, 1988 Hans Werner Henze. Werke der Jahre 1984-1993 (Kölner Schriften zur Neuen Musik, vol. 4). Mainz, 1995 SCHÖNBERG, Arnold Stil und Gedanke. Aufsätze zur Musik. Ed. Ivan Vojtech, (Gesammelte Schriften 1). Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer, 1976 SIEGELE, Ulrich “Entwurf einer Musikgeschichte der sechziger Jahre,” in: Rudolf Stephan ed., Die Musik der sechziger Jahre. Mainz, 1972. 9-25 STEPHAN, Rudolf ed., Die Musik der sechziger Jahre (Publications of the Institut für neue Musik und Musikerziehung Darmstadt 12). Mainz, 1972 Über Musik und Sprache (Publications of the Institut für neue Musik und Musi-kerziehung Darmstadt 14). Mainz, 1974 STOCKHAUSEN, Karlheinz Texte zur Musik, 6 vols. to date. Cologne: Du Mont, 1963-1989

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THOMAS, Ernst, ed., Darmstädter Beitrage zur Neuen Musik. Mainz, 1958ff. WILSON, Peter Niklas Empirische Untersuchungen zur Wahrnehmung von Geräuschstrukturen (Schriften zur Musik, vol. 23). Hamburg, 1984 WÖRNER, Karl H. Karlheinz Stockhausen. Werk+Wollen 1950-1962 (Kontrapunkte, vol. 6). Ro-denkirchen/Rhein, 1963 Zimmermann, Bernd Alois Intervall und Zeit. Aufsätze und Schriften zum Werk, ed. Christof Bitter. Mainz, 1974 Writings about Ligeti AGEL, Jerome The Making of Kubrick’s 2001. New York: New American Library, 1970 ANONYMUS “Die Deutungshoheit,” in: Datum. Seiten der Zeit, http://www.datum.at/artikel/die-deutungshoheit BADER, Rolf “Berechnung fraktaler Strukturen in den Etüden für Klavier von György Li-geti,” 2003; htttp://bader-ligeti-factal-dimensions BALAZS, Istvan “Weltuntergang, ‘von unten’ gesehen. ‘Der Große Makabre’ – György Ligetis Beitrag zum Musiktheater unserer Zeit,” in: Leipziger Opernblätter. Season 1991/92, No. 2: 15-22 BAUER, Amy “Singing Wolves and Dreaming Apples: The Cosmopolitan Imagination in Ligeti’s Weöres Songs.” Ars lyrica, 21 (2012): 1-39 (the best study to these works) Ligeti’s Laments: Nostalgia, Exotisme, and the Absolute. Aldeshot, 2011 BEUERLE, Hans Michael “Nochmals: Ligetis ‘Lux aeterna.’ Eine Entgegnung auf Clytus Gottwalds Analyse,” Musica 25 (1971): 279-281

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BEURMANN, Andreas E., and SCHNEIDER, Albrecht “Struktur, Klang, Dynamik. Akustische Untersuchungen an Ligetis Atmo-spheres,” Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft, 11 (1991): 311-334 BOULIANE, Denys “Imaginäre Bewegung. György Ligetis ‘Etudes pour piano.’” MusikTexte 28/29 (March 1989): 73-84 BULLERJAHN, Claudia “Assoziationen für Kenner? Zu Ligetis außermusikalischen Anspielungen, er-läutert am Beispiel des Orchesterstücks ‘Lontano’ (1967).” Zeitschrift für Mu-sikpädagogik, No. 51 (September 1989): 9-23 BURDE, Wolfgang “Im Banne des imaginären Reichs ‘Kilviria.’ Notizen zu graphischen Notaten György Ligetis.” NZfM 154 (January 1993): 42-47 György Ligeti. Eine Monographie. Zurich, 1993 DADELSEN, Hans-Christian von Hat Distanz Relevanz? Über Kompositionstechnik und ihre musikdidakti-schen Folgen. Dargestellt an György Ligetis Orchesterstück ‘Lontano’.” Mu-sik und Bildung 7 (1975): 502-506 “An der Kette gerasselt. Le Grand Macabre. Entstehung und Charakteristik eines musikalischen Stils.” in: Program of the Hamburg Premiere of Le Grand Macabre, 1978: 44-47 DIBELIUS, Ulrich “Ligetis Horntrio.” Melos 46 (1984): 44-61 “Konsequenzen eines Klangbildners. Zur Musik von György Ligeti,” in: Supplement to record album WER 60095, Mainz, 1984. 5-14 György Ligeti. Eine Monographie in Essays. Mainz, 1994 DUCHESNAU, Louise, and MARX, Wolfgang, eds. György Ligeti. Of Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds. Boydell Press, 2011 ENGLBRECHT, Bernd Die späte Chormusik von György Ligeti. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2001

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ENGELBRECHT, Christiane Aspekte der Sprach- und Lautkomposition in den Vokalwerken György Ligetis unter be-sonderer Berücksichtigung von „Lux aeterna“ und „Clocks and Clouds“, M. A. thesis, Hamburg, 1993 (typescript) FEBEL, Reinhard “György Ligeti: Monument – Selbstportrait – Bewegung (3 Stücke für 2 Kla-viere).” Zeitschrift für Musiktheorie 9 (1978): 35-50 FLOROS, Constantin “György Ligeti. Prinzipielles über sein Schaffen.” Musik und Bildung 10 (1978): 484-488. Swedish in: Nutida Musik 24:3 (1980/81): 3-7 “Ligetis Drei Stücke für zwei Klaviere (1976),” in: Program of the 42nd Summer Music Festival Hitzacker 1987: 14-18; Swedish in: Nutida Musik 24:3 (1980/81): 8 f. “Ligetis Drei Phantasien nach Friedrich Hölderlin (1982).” NZfM 146 (1985): 18-20; Swedish in: Nutida Musik 26:1 (1982/83): 14-16, English in: Nutida Musik, ibid.: 18-20 “Hommage à György Ligeti.” NZfM 149 (May 1988): 25-29 “György Ligetis pianokonsert.” Nutida Musik 32:2 (1988/89): 21-25 “Laudatio für György Ligeti.” Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 11 (1991): 11-19 “Versuch über Ligetis jüngste Werke.” Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 11 (1991): 335-348 Floros, Constantin, Marx, Hans-Joachim und Petersen, Peter, eds., Für György Ligeti. Die Referate des Ligeti-Kongresses Hamburg 1988 (Hamburger Jahrbuch für Mu-sikwissenschaft, vol. 11) (1991) “György Ligeti. Klassiker der Moderne.” MUSIKforum 6 (October-December 2008): 34-37 Biographical Sketch of Ligeti, in: Franklin Kopitzsch and Dirk Bietzke, eds.: Hamburgische Biographie. Personenlexikon. Göttingen, 2010. 231-233. “Ligetis Le Grand Macabre. Von der Absurdität der menschlichen Existenz.” Musik & Ästhetik 17:68 (October, 2013): 24-31 GAWRILOFF, Saschko “Ein Meisterwerk von Ligeti. Marginalien zur Entstehung des Violin-konzerts.” NZfM 154 (January 1993): 16-18

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GOTTWALD, Clytus “Lux aeterna. Ein Beitrag zur Kompositionstechnik György Ligetis.” Musica 25 (1971): 12-17 GRIFFITHS, Paul György Ligeti (The Contemporary Composers). London, 1983 GRUHN, Wilfried “Textvertonung und Sprachkomposition bei György Ligeti.” Musik und Bil-dung 7 (1975): 511-519 HISS, Torsten Zur Rhythmik der “Etudes pour piano – Premier livre” von György Ligeti. M.A. thesis Hamburg, 1992 (typescript) KAKAVELAKIS, Konstantinos György Ligetis “Aventures” und “Nouvelles aventures”. Studien zur Sprachkomposition und Ästhetik der Avantgarde, Peter Lang, Frankfurt 2001 (the best study to these works with extensive bibliography) KAUFMANN, Harald “Strukturen im Strukturlosen. Über György Ligetis ‘Atmosphères.’” Melos 31 (1964): 391-398; reprinted in: Kaufmann, Spurlinien. Vienna, 1969. 107-117 KINZLER, Hartmuth “Allusion – Illusion. Überlegungen anläßlich Continuum,” in: Otto Kolleritsch, ed., Ligeti (1987). 75-105 KOENIG, Gottfried Michael “Ligeti und die elektronische Musik,” in: Otto Kolleritsch ed., Ligeti (1987). 11-18 KOLLERITSCH, Otto, ed., György Ligeti. Personalstil – Avantgardismus – Popularität (Studien zur Wertungs-forschung, vol. 19). Vienna/Graz, 1987 KONOLD, Wulf “Ligetis Le Grand Macabre – absurdes Welttheater auf der Opernbühne,” in: Otto Kolleritsch, ed., Oper heute. Formen der Wirklichkeit im zeitgenössischen Musik-theater (Studien zur Wertungsforschung, vol. 16). Wienna/Graz, 1985. 136-153

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KROPFINGER, Klaus “Ligeti und die Tradition,” in: Rudolf Stephan, ed., Zwischen Tradition und Fort-schritt. Über das musikalische Geschichtsbewusstsein (Veröffentlichungen des Insti-tuts für neue Musik und Musikerziehung Darmstadt, vol. 13). Mainz, 1973. 131-142 LIGETI, Vera/Brainin, Elisabeth / Teicher, Sammy Vom Gedanken zur Tat. Zur Psychoanalyse des Antisemitismus. Frankfurt a.M., 1993 LOBANOVA, Marina György Ligeti: Style, Ideas, Poetics (studia slavica musicologica, vol. 29). Berlin: Verlag Ernst Kuhn, 2002 MÜLLER, Karl-Josef “György Ligeti (1923). Lontano für großes Orchester (1967),” in: Dieter Zimmerschied, ed., Perspektiven Neuer Musik. Material und didaktische Information. Mainz, 1974. 286-308 NORDWALL, Ove György Ligeti. Eine Monographie. Mainz, 1971 OP DE COUL, Paul “Sprechkomposition bei Ligeti: ‘Lux aeterna’, Nebst einigen Randbemer-kungen zu den Begriffen Sprach- und Lautkomposition,” in: Rudolf Stephan ed., Über Musik und Sprache (Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für neue Musik und Musikerziehung Darmstadt, vol. 14). Mainz, 1974. 59-69 PETERSEN, Peter “Bartók – Lutoslawski – Ligeti. Einige Bemerkungen zu ihrer Kompo-sitionstechnik unter dem Aspekt der Tonhöhe.” Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musik-wissenschaft 11 (1991): 289-309 RESTAGNO, Enzo, ed., Ligeti. Torino, 1985 SABBE, Herman György Ligeti. Studien zur kompositorischen Phänomenologie (Musik-Konzepte 53). Mu-nich, 1987 “Clocky Clouds and Cloudy Clocks – Europäisches Erbe in beschmutzter Zeitlupe,” in: Otto Kolleritsch, ed., Ligeti. Vienna/Graz, 1987. 134-144

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“Vorausblick in neue Vergangenheit. Ligeti und die Tradition.” in: NZfM 154 (January, 1993): 5-7 SALMENHAARA, Erkki Das musikalische Material und seine Behandlung in den Werken “Apparitions”, “Atmo-spheres”, “Aventures” und “Requiem” von György Ligeti (Forschungsbeiträge zur Musikwissenschaft, vol. XIX). Regensburg, 1969 SCHULTZ, Wolfgang-Andreas “Zwei Studien über das Cello-Konzert von Ligeti.” Zeitschrift für Musiktheorie 6 (1975): 97-104 SEARBY, Michael Ligeti’s Stylistic Crisis. Transformation in His Musical Style 1974-1985. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2010 SEHERR-THOSS, Peter von György Ligetis Oper “Le Grand Macabre” – Erste Fassung: Entstehung und Deutung. Von der Imagination bis zur Realisation, Hamburg 1998 STAHNKE, Manfred “Über den Begriff ‘Mikrotonalität’, abgeleitet aus dem Werk György Ligetis,” in: Gütersloh '90. Hommage a György Ligeti. 29-33 STAMPA, Benedikt György Ligetis Requiem. M.A. thesis, Hamburg, 1991 (typescript) STEINITZ, Richard György Ligeti. Music of the Imagination. London: Faber and Faber, 2003 STEPHAN, Rudolf “György Ligeti: Konzert für Violoncello und Orchester. Anmerkungen zur Cluster-Komposition,” in: Stephan ed., Die Musik der sechziger Jahre. Mainz, 1972. 117-127 STOIANOVA, Ivanka “Über Klangverästelungen und über die Form-Bewegung,” in: Otto Kolle-ritsch, ed., Ligeti. Vienna/Graz, 1987. 222-232 SZATHMARY, Zsigmond “Die Orgelwerke von György Ligeti,” in: Otto Kolleritsch ed., Ligeti. Vien-na/Graz, 1987. 213-220

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TAYLOR, Stephen Andrew “For György Ligeti on His 80th Birthday: Ligeti, Africa and Polyrhythm,” in: The World of Music 45: 2 (2003): 83-94 TOOP, Richard György Ligeti. Lonfon: Phaidon, 1999 URBAN, Uve “Serielle Technik und barocker Geist in Ligetis Cembalo-Stück ‘Continuum’. Untersuchungen zur Kompositionstechnik.” Musik und Bildung 5 (1973): 63-70 WILSON, Peter Niklas “Interkulturelle Fantasien. György Ligetis Klavieretüden Nr. 7 und 8,” in: Kla-viermusik des 20. Jahrhunderts, Melos 51 (1992): 63-84 ZENCK, Martin “‘Die ich rief, die Geister/Werd ich nun nicht los’. Zum Problem von György Ligetis Avantgarde-Konzeption”, in: Otto Kolleritsch ed., Ligeti. Vien-na/Graz, 1987. 153-174

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3.5 Index of names A

Adorno, Th. W. 34, 41, 45, 220, 221, 239

Altdorfer, Albrecht 30, 31, 151 Arnoldi, Gerhard 68, 223 Arom, Simha 141, 227, 229 Arp, Hans 21

B Bach, Johann Sebastian 1, 17, 29, 55,

58, 97, 207 Bachelard, Gaston 48 Barlow, Klarenz 143 Bartók, Béla 10, 11, 17, 20, 55, 59, 60,

73, 74, 81, 82, 156, 162, 163, 246 Bauer, Amy 242 Beethoven, Ludwig van 56, 58, 134,

145, 226, 240 Benjamin, Walter 56, 222 Benn, Gottfried 18 Berg, Alban 11, 12, 13, 19, 41, 44, 55,

60, 73, 84, 112, 117, 125, 224, 226 Berio, Luciano 70, 95, 212 Berlioz, Hector 27, 103 Bernhardt-Kabisch, Ernest 2, 224 Beuerle, Hans Michael 106, 225, 242 Beurmann, Andreas 86, 224, 243 Bizet, Georges 125 Blake, Peter 121 Bloch, Ernst 103, 221, 225 Bonaventura, Mario di 180 Borio, Gianmario 80, 211, 224, 230,

239 Bosch, Hieronymus 23, 30, 95, 100,

121 Botticelli, Sandro 129 Boulez, Pierre 13, 26, 27, 37, 46, 68,

77, 78, 212, 219, 221, 224, 236, 239 Bouliane, Denys 59, 146, 163, 219,

228, 237, 243 Brahms, Johannes 150, 151

Brancusi, Constantin 181 Brecht, Bertolt 41 Britten, Benjamin 17 Bruckner, Anton 30, 45 Brueghel, Peter 95 Burde, Wolfgang 68, 219, 223, 243 Busoni, Ferruccio 64, 223, 239

C Cage, John 26 Carroll, Lewis 20, 62, 202, 234 Celano, Thomas von 95, 98 Cerha, Friedrich 13, 69 Cézanne, Paul 23, 45, 46, 181 Chopin, Frédéric 29, 114, 115, 116,

148, 156, 157, 163 Chowning, John 140, 219, 227 Ciconia, Johannes 94, 129 Clarke, Arthur C. 67

D Dadelsen, Hans-Christian von 14,

243 Debussy, Claude 19, 29, 33, 45, 55,

57, 58, 60, 156, 157, 166, 174, 209, 220

Dibelius, Ulrich 68, 145, 223, 228, 243

Diederichs-Lafite, Marion 69 Dieth, E. 35 Duchesneau, Louise 1, 2, 45, 223 Dufay, Guillaume 59

E Eco, Umberto 211, 230 Eichendorff, Joseph von 151 Eigen, Manfred 141 Eimert, Herbert 12, 13, 77, 224 Enescu, George 58 Englbrecht, Bernd 243 Ericson, Eric 151

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis 22, 62, 106, 109, 192

Evangelisti, Franco 212 Eyck, Jan van 62

F Fant, Göran 84 Farkas, Ferenc 10, 11 Fiedler, Leslie 212, 230 Frescobaldi, Girolamo 74

G Gawriloff, Saschko 195, 196, 229,

244 Gentele, Göran 117, 118 Gesualdo, Carlo 57, 59 Ghelderode, Michel de 117, 118, 121,

122, 128, 129, 226, 227, 233 Goethe, Wolfgang von 20, 122, 137,

151, 172 Goeyvaerts, Karel 77 Gojowy, Detlef 94, 165, 223, 238 Gottwald, Clytus 104, 106, 225, 237,

245 Grieg, Edvard 10 Grünewald, Mathis 30, 62

H Hába, Alois 64 Habermas, Jürgen 212, 230 Handel, Georg Friedrich 17 Häusler, Josef 30, 40, 150, 219, 221,

228, 238 Hausmann, Raoul 21 Haydn, Joseph 57 Henze, Hans Werner 17, 28, 219,

240, 241 Heraklit, Ephesius 200 Herzmanovsky-Orlando, Fritz von

20, 22, 121 Hindemith, Paul 17, 37, 73 Hitler, Adolf 17

Hölderlin, Friedrich 20, 151, 152, 154, 228, 234

Honegger, Arthur 17 Huelsenbeck, Richard 21

I Ives, Charles 57

J Janco, Marcel 21 Jarry, Alfred 20, 118, 121 Jaruzelski, Wojciech 166 Jungheinrich, Hans-Klaus 28

K Kadosa, Pál 11 Kafka, Franz 20, 22, 45, 121 Kagel, Mauricio 95, 138, 212, 224 Karbusicky, Vladimir 45 Kaufmann, Harald 88, 89, 98, 101,

225, 240, 245 Keats, John 30 Khachaturian, Aram 67 Kinzler, Hartmuth 49, 222, 245 Kirchhoff, Caroline 65 Klee, Paul 23, 181 Koblenz, Babette 14 Kodály, Zoltán 11, 88 Koenig, Gottfried Michael 13, 77,

143, 212, 245 Kontarsky, Aloys 114 Kontarsky, Bernhard 114 Krenek, Ernst 77, 223, 240 Kropfinger, Klaus 56, 222, 246 Krudy, Gyula 20, 21, 45, 220 Kubik, Gerhard 110, 141, 226, 227 Kubrick, Stanley 67, 69, 97, 223

L Lachenmann, Helmut 17 Lendvai, Ernö 224

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Lichtenfeld, Monika 145, 147, 218, 222, 230, 238

Ligeti, Alexander 9, 10 Ligeti, Gabor 10 Ligeti, Vera 2 Liszt, Franz 27, 156, 157, 181 Lyotard, Jean-François 211, 230

M Machaut, Guillaume de 94, 198, 209 Maderna, Bruno 13, 212 Mahler, Gustav 29, 30, 41, 45, 55, 56,

84, 145, 222, 224, 237 Mandelbrot, Benôit 140, 142, 143,

227 Mann, Thomas 18, 20 Meczies, Aliute 118 Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix 58 Meschke, Michael 51, 55, 118, 122,

124, 125, 126, 137, 139, 233 Messiaen, Olivier 12, 29, 33, 37, 77,

157, 165, 219 Miró, Joan 22, 23 Monteverdi, Claudio 125, 128, 146 Mörike, Eduard 151 Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus 57, 58,

103 Müller-Siemens, Detlef 14 Murnau, Friedrich 129 Musil, Robert 18 Mussorgsky, Modest 10

N Nancarrow, Conlon 14, 57, 140, 141,

143, 156, 181, 192, 227 Neruda, Pablo 28 Neuweiler, Gerhard 237 Nicolescu, Stefan 14 Nono, Luigi 13, 17, 91, 93, 212 Nordwall, Ove 20, 21, 30, 51, 73, 89,

94, 95, 98, 107, 112, 218, 219, 220,

221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 231, 246

O Ockeghem, Johannes 94 Oehlschlägel, Reinhard 9, 218, 238 Offenbach, Jacques 125

P Paganini, Niccolò 58 Palm, Siegfried 110, 111 Partch, Harry 64, 223, 241 Peitgen, Heinz-Otto 141, 142, 227 Peterson, Oscar 61, 181 Picabia, Francis 21 Picasso, Pablo 62, 143, 192, 204, 205,

206 Piranesi, Giovanni Battista 30, 32 Popper, Karl 41 Pousseur, Henri 13, 212 Prokofiev, Sergej 57, 58 Proust, Marcel 21 Purcell, Henry 146

R Rameau, Jean-Philippe 55, 132 Ravel, Maurice 33, 57, 58, 156, 209 Reich, Steve 29, 115, 116 Richter, Peter H. 141, 142, 227 Riley, Terry 29, 115, 116 Rossini, Gioacchino 125

S Sabbe, Hermann 41, 120, 220, 221,

222, 225, 238, 246 Salmenhaara, Erkki 29, 49, 85, 86, 89,

98, 220, 221, 222, 224, 225, 247 Sander, Heike 29 Scarlatti, Domenico 114, 156 Schalz-Laurenze, Ute 144, 228 Schmidt, Arno 18 Schnebel, Dieter 70, 95, 106

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Schneider, Albrecht 2, 86, 224, 243 Schönberg, Arnold 12, 13, 17, 19, 37,

39, 60, 147, 189, 211, 220, 223, 239, 241

Schubert, Franz 14, 55, 59, 132 Schultz, Hans Jörgen 236 Schultz, Wolfgang-Andreas 14, 226,

247 Schumann, Robert 114, 148, 156 Schweinitz, Wolfgang von 2, 14 Schwitters, Kurt 20, 21 Scriabin, Alexander 33 Searby, Michael 247 Seibers, Mátyás 88 Seurat, Georges 62 Shakespeare, William 149, 174 Shostakovich, Dimitri 19, 51, 57, 58,

181 Siedentopf, Henning 115, 161, 228 Sierra, Roberto 141 Simon, Arthur 141, 226, 227 Somogy, Ilona 9 Stahnke, Manfred 2, 14, 65, 70, 223,

247 Stalin, Joseph 17 Stockhausen, Karlheinz 12, 13, 26,

27, 37, 68, 77, 95, 212, 218, 219, 240, 241, 242

Stoianova, Ivanka 50, 222, 247 Strauß, Johann 67 Strauss, Richard 27, 67, 117, 125 Stravinsky, Igor 11, 19, 45, 55, 57, 58,

60, 66, 73, 135, 163, 181 Stuckenschmidt, Hans Heinz 111,

223 Szymanowski, Karol 58

T Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilitsch 145 Thomas, Ernst 79, 224 Tomek, Otto 12 Tomzig, Sabine 144, 228 Trojahn, Manfred 70 Tzara, Tristan 21

U Ünlü, Altug 2, 14, 230

V Verdi, Giuseppe 10, 103, 125 Veress, Sandor 11 Vian, Boris 20, 22, 121 Vivier, Claude 62

W Wagner, Richard 19, 30, 41, 45, 46,

47, 117, 125, 131, 221 Wagner, Wieland 46 Wallner, Bo 42, 221 Webern, Anton 12, 13, 19, 45, 48, 57,

60, 163, 207, 218, 221, 222, 236 Welin, Karl-Erik 115 Welsch, Wolfgang 211, 230 Wendt, H. F. 35 Weöres, Sandor 16, 20, 22, 234, 235 Wörner, Karl H. 13, 218, 242

X Xenakis, Iannis 57, 68, 143, 228

Z Zimmermann, Bernd Alois 44, 55,

110, 221, 242 Zimmermann, Udo 70