The wild and exotic Piano Concerto is performed here by one of Ligeti's favorite pianists, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, a marvel of pianistic talent. (Ligeti has written many of his Piano Etudes with Aimard's talented fingers in mind.) Aimard had previously recorded it under Pierre Boulez on DG, but his performance here is nimbler, and the accompaniment better integrated with the piano.
The Chamber Concerto is one of Ligeti's most popular pieces: it has been recorded several times. The pizzicato-heavy third movement in particular is one of his standout creations, a musical mechanism with both soul and menace; the poetic and heart stopping perpetuum mobile that closes the piece is breathtaking, a brief glimpse into another world. Melodien was recorded only once before this. It revisits territory covered by the Chamber Concerto, but uses a larger ensemble of musicians. It's a Catherine Wheel of melodies, as if dreamt by a gifted, and unusually musical, watchmaker.
My favorite recordings on CD of both Melodien and the Chamber Concerto remain those led by David Atherton, conducting the London Sinfonietta (recorded in the mid-1970s, shortly after the pieces were written). Most recently that CD was available at mid-price on London/Decca, but it is unfortunately out of print. If you come across it in a used record bin consider snapping it up. In the meantime, you have this wonderful program to enjoy for repeated listenings: It is utterly fascinating, web-like music, here comic, there poignant, and always chockfull of surprise.
Ligeti has written more accessible works (String Quartet #1, Horn Trio, Piano Etudes Book 1, Six Bagatelles), but these are delightful pieces that should not be overlooked by people interested in exploring the music of this 20th century master. This is one of the best Ligeti records around.