György Ligeti

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Cello Concerto (1966) dedicated to Siegfried Palm

Violin Concerto

Clocks and Clouds(1973)

Sippal, dobbal, nádihegedüvel: Weöres Sándor verseire (2000)

m.m.v. Katalin Károlyi (mezzosopraan), Siegfried Palm (violoncello), Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin), Reinbert de Leeuw, Amadinda Percussion Group, Károly Bojtos, Aurél Holló, Zoltán Rácz, Zóltan Váczi

CAPPELLA AMSTERDAM o.l.v. Daniel Reuss

Opgenomen in september 2001 en april 2001Opnamelocatie: Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht en Teldec Classics Studio BerlinTechniek: Tobias Lehman Realisatie: Wolfgang Mohr Christoh ClassenTeldec Classics 8573-87631-2

Fragment van de cd

Ligeti: Clocks and Clouds


Gyorgy Ligeti on his works

The Cello Concerto datesfrom the second half of the sixties,although its two movements derive stylistically from compositions from the first half of that decade. The slow first movement belongs to the Atmosphères type, its form is static, continuous and without rhythm.The contrasting second movement is dynamic, abrupt, at times hectic, and is related to Aventures.The musical lanquage is chromatic but not dodecaphonie (this applies to all my works of the sixties).The first rnovement consists of a single tense arch with a clear climax at the point where the solo cello suddenly begins playing high harmonics.This passage has the effect of a tear: the bow is tightened until it can no longer withstand the strain. Here the abstract musical form represents a nearly concrete material state. The second movement is like a collage: the episodes, 'glued" to one another, build a sequence charged with tension - this series is neither determined nor chaotic, but rather semi- ordered. While some episodes seem to follow a logical order, others don't seem to be connected to each other at all.This movement ends with a virtuoso "whispering cadenza": the solo cello makes noise-like sounds in its transition from arco to pizzicato. Near the end, before the music dissolves into silence, the pizzicati are transformed into a fleeting touching of the strings.

The piece is scored for chamber orchestra: 1 flute (doubling piccolo), 1 oboe (doubling cor anglais), 1 bassoon, 1 horn, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, 1 harp and 2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet), as wel as 5 strings.

Clocks and Clouds for 12 fernale voices and orchestra [(5 flutes 3 doubling piccolos), 3 oboes, 5 clarinets (5th doubling bass clarinet), 4 bassoons, 2 trurnpets, glockenspiel, vibraphone, celesta, 2 harps, 4 violas, 6 cellos, 4 double basses)] was composed in 1973. In this piece the language is no longer chromatic as it uses diatonic rnelody and harmony, coloured with micro-intervals. (I am always looking for new structural devices.) The title stems (slightly altered) from an essay by Karl Popper on the philosophy of science. Popper writes about exactly deterrnined ('clocks") versus global, statistically measurable ('clouds') occurrences of nature. In my piece, however, the clocks and clouds are poetic images. The periodic, polyrhythrnic sound-complexes melt into diffuse, liquid states and vice versa.The abstract 'text" of the piece is notated in the International Phonetic Alphabet and serves the rhythmic articulation and the transformation of timbre.

Responding to a suggestion from Saschko Gawriloff, I composed the Violin Concerto in 1990, revising it in 1992. The chamber orchestra consists of 2 flutes (doubling alto flute, piccolo and soprano recorder), 1 oboe, 1 bassoon, 1 trumpet and 1 trombone, 2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet), 2 horns, 4 violins, 3 violas, 2 cellos, 1 double bass and 2 percussionists (who play a rich and varied group of instruments, which includes 2 slide whistles). With the exception of the flutes, all four woodwinds also play ocarina.

Important for the character of this piece are micro-intervals. In all five movements, one violin and vilola are re-tuned (scordatura) and, in the second and third movements, the horns play only uncorrected natural notes. By combining these 'out of tune' notes and harmonics with those of the normally tuned strings, I can build a number of harmonic and non-harmonic spectra.

Sippal, dobbal, nádihegedüvel (With Pipes, Drums, Fiddles), composed in 2000, is a cycle of seven Hungarian songs for low mezzo-soprano and four percussionists, whose diverse instrumentarium includes non-percussive instruments such as slide whistles and chromatic harmonicas.

As so often in my life, I have put to music poems of the great twentieth-century Hungarian poet Sándor Weöres. He was a unique virtuoso of the Hungarian lanquage and his poetic subjects are sometimes trivial or obscene, occasionally sarcastic or humorous, tragic or desperate, and even include artificial myths and legends. Some of his works are large-scale frescoes, which are worlds within themselves. It is, however, to the countless, equally profound and playful short poems that I have always turned for my composition.

In the first song Fabula (Fable), a pack of wolves shudder with fear as two mountains approach each other,crushing them without pity in their wake. The text of Táncdal (Dance Song) may sound meaningful, but actually the words are imaginary, having only rhythm and no meaning. In Kínai templom (Chinese Temple) Weöres succeeds in conveying the contentment of the Buddhist view of life by using only monosyllabic Hungarian words. Kuli (Coolie) is a poetic portrayal of an Asian pariah's monotonous hopelessness and pent-up aggressiveness. In Alma álma (Dream) I have embedded the voice into the sound of four harrnonicas, creating a strange, surreal atmosphere.The poem describes how the branches of an apple tree gently sway in the wind and an apple dreams of journeys in distant, enchanted lands. Keserédes (Bitter-sweet) is like a 'fake' Hungarian folk song. I sought to express this rift by combining artificial folk music with a pop-like melody and an artificially sweetened accompaniment. Even if , the text of Szajkó (Parakeet) does have a meaning, the poem is in effect a nonsensical play on words, but one which produces a rhythmic swing. 1

The titie of this cycle is not from Weöres: it is a line from a Hungarian children's verse (a kind of counting rhyme),which dates f rom the time of the Turkish occupation of Hungary.

Translation: Louise Duchesneau

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