I start this review with considerable disadvantage as I have no musical education whatsoever. I have been an afficionado of Ligeti's music since visiting the movie theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1968, as a teenager, and experiencing 2001: A Space Odyssey on an enormous screen. The following day I bought the soundtrack and ever since I have loved his music.
You sort of know that you are in trouble when you read the composer's notes which accompany the CD and you feel that you know less than you did before you started reading.
This does not detract from the music however. Of all of the modern day composers, Ligeti above all has the ability to create ethereal structures out of sound with regular instruments. His compositions are haunting and assume a life of their own.
In this collection, a welcome addition to the current library of recorded works available to the public, the four pieces which the composer has selected originated at various times in his career from the early 1970s through to the mid 1980s. While I would not attempt to classify Ligeti as a member of the minimalist school as his work often defies categorisation, he certainly has been influenced by it and in some ways there are some similarities with Terry Riley's early compositions. Ligeti though, unlike many others is open about his influences and his concern with rhythm he notes is assisted with his listening to world music.
Whatever his influences Ligeti creates soundscapes as no other. His work is always a cerebral delight and allows the imagination to flow freely. Listening to this album, and others by this modest genius, one is reminded of science fiction movies where the film makers are able to profuce special effects of lights and ethereal images. Ligeti's music inspires such visions and the listener can experience an almost trancendental experience. This is music for the mind and for the soul because so often it is akin to a spiritual experience.
Wonderful and inspirational.