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Mechanical Music

Gyvrgy Ligeti Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £8.02 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Mechanical Music + Keyboard Works for Piano, Harpsichord & Organ + Ligeti: Works For Piano: Etudes, Musica Ricercata (Pierre-Laurent
Price For All Three: £21.77

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Product details

  • Composer: Gyorgy Ligeti
  • Audio CD (20 May 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000029P2
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,107 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. ContinuumPierre Charial 3:21£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Hungarian RockPierre Charial 4:52£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Capriccio No.1Pierre Charial 3:54£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. InventionPierre Charial 1:22£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Capriccio No.2Pierre Charial 1:42£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Pohme Symphonique for 100 MetronomesFrangoise Terrioux19:55Album Only
Listen  7. Musica Ricercata: I. Sostenuto - Misurato - PrestissimoPierre Charial 2:12£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. II. Mesto, rigido e cerimonialePierre Charial 3:19£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Musica Ricercata: III. Allegro con spiritoPierre Charial 1:07£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Musica Ricercata: IV. Tempo de Valse (poco vivace - ` l'orgue de Barbarie)Pierre Charial 1:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Musica Ricercata: V. Rubato. LamentosoPierre Charial 3:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Musica Ricercata: VI. Allegro molto capricciosoPierre Charial0:55£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Musica Ricercata: VII. Cantabile, molto legatoPierre Charial 2:34£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Musica Ricercata: VIII. Vivace. EnergicoPierre Charial0:54£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Musica Ricercata: IX. (Bila Bartsk in memoriam) Adago. Mesto - Allegro maestosoPierre Charial 2:09£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Musica Ricercata: X. Vivace. CapricciosoPierre Charial 1:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Musica Ricercata: XI. (Omaggio a Girolamo Frescobaldi) Andante misurato e tranquilloPierre Charial 3:53£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Itudes pour piano, adapted for Player Piano: X. Der Zauberlehrling: Prestissimo, staccatissimo, leggierissimoJürgen Hocker 2:13£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Itudes pour piano, adapted for Player Piano: IX. Vertige: Prestissimo sempre molto legato, sehr gleichma_igJürgen Hocker 1:49£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen20. XI. En suspens: Andante con moto, "avec l'iligance du swing"Jürgen Hocker 1:16£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Itudes Pour Piano, Adapted For Player Piano: XIII. L'Escalier Du Diable: Presto Legato Ma LeggieroJürgen Hocker 3:40£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen22. XIVa. Coloana fara sfbrsit: Presto possibile, tempestoso con fuocoJürgen Hocker 1:04£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen23. Itudes pour piano, adapted for Player Piano: VII. Galamb borong: Vivacissimo luminoso, legato possibileJürgen Hocker 2:16£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen24. ContinuumJürgen Hocker 3:43£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Unique, Amazing Recording 22 Dec 2006
Format:Audio CD
I bought this album expecting something rather whimsical, for curiosity value as much as anything else. I was rewarded with a rare gem: it has since carved out its own niche in both my music collection and my mind. The barrel-organ sound suits Ligeti's bizarre yet beautiful arrangements so well, its mellow tones making even the more dissonant moments (of which there are few) easy on the ear, and the sheer precision of the instrument makes the convolutions and intricacies of the arrangements wonderfully clear. "Poeme Symphonique pour 100 Metronomes" is pure experiential music, but the continually shifting shapes that move through the noise are still evocative of heavy windblown rainfall, perhaps: closer to listening to the sounds of some natural process than a piece of music.

The etudes arranged for player piano are also fantastic; "l'escalier du diable" in particular I find dizzying in its continual shifting of contexts. I know nothing about music theoretically or technically, but I really think this recording is rather special. Go on, try it; you won't be disappointed!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clocks not Clouds 15 Jun 2009
By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
To those new to this collection it represents a sometimes bizarre but always intriguing collection. Many of the pieces were transcribed from original works for human hand. The microtonal an dshifting "cloud" harmonies of his middle years are nowhere to be seen here as the works are msotly concentrated in his Hungarian periods and later years. So the early pieces often have folk inflections whilst trying to burst out from Communist strictures whilst the later works sometimes hark back to these but have the bonus of a lifetime's musical searching; rhythms added to by familiarity with African polyrhythms, surreal and dadaist humour (often taken as a veiled form of protest), and the mechanistic virtuosity of course. An example is the dazzling late Etudes for Piano transcribed for two player pianos. Stylistically the works range from early folk inspired material to his most modernistic and conceptual works. This is one of the main attractions apart from the extreme virtuoso nature of the music.

Poeme Symphonique for 100 metronomes is perhaps the most eccentric and dadaist work and is an intriguing exercise rather than music that you'd want to regularly hear again. Havcing said that, I find it perculiarly hypnotic. All the other works for player piano or barrel organ are coherent and attractive exercises enhanced by the demonic demands of speed and precision. At best these are deliriously exciting works.

Ligeti, particularly in the player piano works offers a conscious tribute to the work of Conlon Nancarrow. So don't try to play these at home; sit back and let the massive waves of sound wash over you. The use of a barrel organ works well not just because it adds a richness over the mechanistic and often brutally fast playing; it adds depth too to the bass notes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wacky and wonderful 28 Oct 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Anyone who loves the music of Conlon Nancarrow should discover the music of his friend and admirer, Gyorgy Ligeti. I have gone on to buy more of the Ligeti Edition series. Wacky and wonderful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 17 Sep 2014
Format:Audio CD
Prompt service, as described
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars share Ligeti's fascination with mechanical things. 30 Jan 2004
By Lord Chimp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
First off, I should inform you that Sony's Ligeti Edition series is being deleted so if you're interested in this stuff, you should pick up the ones you want as soon as you can. Ligeti Edition 5 is a good one. No, it's AWESOME. If you have any interest in "mechanical music," this should be essential.
Poeme Symphonique for 100 Metronomes was the main thing I wanted to hear on this collection. The piece starts with 100 metronomes ticking in a dense, ordered mass of monotone ticks. As the piece progresses, as some of the metronomes finish winding down, distinct rhythmic arrangements begin to emerge, swaying and wavy and disorienting. (You can also play a good trick on someone: play this piece in their car and they'll think the vehicle is about to explode or something.) Finally, one metronome is left ticking alone, then silence. The concept seemed utterly fascinating so I knew it was something I had to check out. Fortunately, it is more than just an idea that sounds good on paper - it is a very enthralling piece of music. In the liner notes, Ligeti discusses the thermodynamic category of maximal entropy, which factored into his considerations in composing this piece. That's interesting, because in his work on "dissipative structures," Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine theorized that a given system might reach a "bifurcation point," at which its simpler processes can no longer provide for order. At this point, Prigogine tells us, the system can either go into a total, entropic collapse, or evolve into a higher form of order. The second law of thermodynamics (on which our understanding of entropy is based) may not be as relevant as Prigogine's insights. Rather than coming to maximal entropy upon the finale of the single metronome, we can think of it as a new beginning. It's kind of inspirational in its own weird little way. To get the most out of it, play it on your finest stereo equipment at massive volumes and drown in the sound (gotta emulate the live performance anyway you can).
Another highlight of this collection as Ligeti's piano Etudes adapted for player piano. In standard form, the Etudes demand reams of virtuosity. Here, they are rearranged for player piano where there are no limits imposed by the performer - even the godlike Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Fredrik Ullen are still MEN, and thus have man's limitations. Needless to say, these adaptations are stunning and astonishingly fast, from the head-spinning runs of L'escalier du diable to the astonishing gamelan texture of Galamb borong (for two player pianos). Also of interest is Continuum, adapted for two player pianos. It takes the blurry prestissimo to unreal speeds (it cannot actually be played fast enough on standard piano - the original was written for harpsichord).
The barrel organ pieces are very amusing adaptations of early Ligeti with shadows of Bartok, and they are full of the original pieces' rhythmic ingenuity and vigor, but with flawless mechanical precision and tone control. I think a big reason for my enjoying them is their quirky sound. As for Musica ricercata, personally I'd rather listen to Aimard's piano version (on Ligeti Edition 3), but the barrel organ adaptation is a pretty interesting spin on the piece, with an arrangement that gives it a very different flavor. The barrel organ also makes them sound kinda proggy, hehe.
Get it. Remember, this stuff's going out of print, and Ligeti is so good you don't want to miss your opportunity to have his music!
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the gripe 6 Jun 2001
By "morabyshe" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It's unfortunate that the previous reviewer has sadly misjudged this marvelous collection, which is a rich and complex selection of mechanized pieces for player piano and barrel organ that truly shows Ligeti's creativity in all its glory--sometimes berserk, sometimes poignant, but always compelling. Or almost always. It's true that the metronome piece is tiresome, but remember: it's only one piece! To dismiss an entire record of some of the 20th century's most interesting and inventive music on the basis of a single wearisome experiment is absurd. In fact, I resisted purchasing this record for many months because I feared it would be as troublesome as some of Nancarrow's thornier compositions for player piano. But in actuality, this music is much more enjoyable--though not "easy" necessarily--than Ligeti's critics would have you believe. For those fans of Volume 3 in this set, the Piano Etudes, this selection is oddly comparable in its striking aural effect and surprising drama, albeit different in structure and in instrumentation. So don't worry about the metronome and instead take a chance on the composer's wondrous mechanical mastery. For most fans of modern music, it shouldn't be a difficult leap.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Half inconsequential, half surprisingly strong in relation to Ligeti's total output 18 Jun 2009
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I suspect for many Ligeti fans, the appeal of this disc is connected to how much you like Ligeti's prankster side and his piano etudes. The former element is present in the Poeme Symphonique for 100 Metronomes, a 20-minute work which is nothing more and nothing less than 100 metronomes set off at the same time. The liner notes, written by Ligeti himself, are quite informative on how this piece came to me. It was hatched during his brief flirtation with the Fluxus movement and the circumstances of its premiere were comical. The work itself is interesting on an occasional listen (as in once every several years). There is some value in the claim that this work is not just a gag, but rather expresses through its myriad inpenetrable lines the thick textures and complex rhythms that interested Ligeti throughout his career.

For fans of the piano etudes, the transcriptions here for player piano will provide an interesting standard that living pianists approach only with immense talent and practice. Etude XIVa "Coloana fara sfarsit" was written originally for player piano, with the usual Etude XIV being a simplification for mere humans. While it's generally more interesting to hear Aimard perform the Etudes, the player piano versions are entertaining listening in their own right.

The adaptations for barrel organ are completely uninteresting to this reviewer. Perhaps Ligeti was fond of the instrument because of childhood memories, but their presence taking up half the disc means that you could probably save this installment for last in collecting the Gyorgy Ligeti Edition. But snatch all the volumes up soon, because Sony has a nasty habit of letting fine recordings slip out of print.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not essential Ligeti, but still worth the budget price 7 Dec 2009
By Michael Schell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Disk 5 of the eight album Ligeti Edition on Sony (LE5 henceforth) is of interest to confirmed Ligeti fans and completists, but it's probably not the best place to begin an exploration of the music of this great postmodernist composer. That's because with the exception of the notorious Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes, the music here is all second hand: arrangements of various Ligeti keyboard works for player piano or barrel organ (the latter being a kind of "player organ" associated with stereotypical European street corner organ grinders). Adapting these piano and harpsichord compositions for mechanical acoustic instruments is an interesting exercise that occasionally offers a new slant on a familiar piece. But these recordings really shouldn't be your primary source for this music.

Jürgen Hocker programmed the Ampico player pianos used to play a half dozen of the piano etudes from Ligeti's late style period, as well as the harpsichord piece Continuum, which despite its brevity is one of Ligeti's most important compositions and one of the miniature masterpieces of the 20th Century. In fact it's this arrangement of Continuum that's the highlight of the album for me. Although the piece still works better for harpsichord (and you can hear it in that version on LE6 among others), I'm grateful to have a technically "perfect" rendition of this piece as a reference point for human attempts to cope with its challenges at the keyboard. Of course, without a real-time human interpretive presence, you don't get the full insight into the structural and dynamic changes in the work (as at the climax for example), and by using player pianos instead of a harpsichord you also miss the thumping sound of the modern harpsichord's action, which is arguably an important timbral element of the piece in its original conception. But it's worth taking any opportunity to cherish this hauntingly beautiful and perfectly crafted little moto perpetuo piece. If you can read music, search online for the worthy analysis of Continuum by Emilios Cambouropoulos and Costas Tsougras.

Less successful is the arrangement of Continuum for barrel organ, which doesn't quite possess the percussive punch or dynamic range that the work requires (and yes I know that a harpsichord can't execute a crescendo or diminuendo and has its own dynamic limitations, but Ligeti clearly exploits couplings of 4-, 8- and 16-foot pitch to create contrast). Hungarian Rock on a barrel organ sounds like it should be accompanying a YouTube novelty video, though I must admit I'm not very fond of the original either. The album Musica Ricercata from Ligeti's early years fares a bit better in the translation to barrel organ, and has in fact been transcribed for other ensemble types as well (e.g., the Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet, recorded on LE7). It's still a minor work, but some of the movements show glimpses of the experimental brilliance that would burst out after Ligeti's escape from Hungary in 1956.

That leaves us with Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes. It really wasn't intended to be taken completely seriously as other Ligeti works, and in the liner notes, Ligeti describes his comportment at the work's 1963 premier, with the obligatory tuxedo and exaggerated theatrics in the over-the-top Fluxus manner. Yes, it was that silly, and Ligeti never really possessed the innate theatrical understanding of artists like Cage and Paik, whose aesthetic informed the Fluxus movement. Nevertheless, there is a serious side to Poème Symphonique, one that positions it within the tradition explored by Xenakis, in which rhythm is modeled after stochastic sound patterns found in nature (like the semi-random distribution of raindrops falling on a noisy surface). Reich's early Pendulum Music, written a few years later, is an American expression of the same underlying concept. Poème also propelled an important stylistic trait in Ligeti's own music that unfolded later in the third movement of the second string quartet, the third movement of the Chamber Concerto, and the Three Pieces for Two Pianos. Ligeti likens this kind of music to the winding/unwinding of a mechanical clock (or, if you will, of metronomes gradually speeding up or slowing down). With tongue-in-cheek I might point out that Poème anticipates the experience of listening to microwave popcorn pop by several years.

As I write this in December 2009, Amazon.com is selling LE1 through LE6 for eight bucks each. At that price any one of them is a bargain, including this one. LE5 isn't essential Ligeti, but it's still worth acquiring for those already familiar with this music or those looking to complete their collection.

UPDATE March 2010: Sony has made the entire Ligeti Edition series available in an inexpensive nine-CD box set that includes this CD, so you should probably just buy that set instead of this single CD if you're interested in Ligeti's music.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars supreme! 21 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This CD cuts territory where only a few have tread. The mechanical instruments heard on this disk shimmer and shake while the metronome piece (for 100 metronomes) is a nut buster. Ligeti at his most awesome indeed.
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