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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Guide to Ligeti's Music, 21 April 2003
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This review is from: Gyorgy Ligeti: Music and Imagination (Hardcover)
Richard Steinitz has written a book that all lovers of Ligeti's music should read. It might well persuade others to try the music, too. It has all the marks of a book a long time in the making, it's deeply considered and full of insights.
There is a mass of biographical information, especially about the early years in Transylvania and in the whirling political confusion of WW2 and the immediate post-war years. Fascinating stuff, although this isn't a biography in the sense of trying to investigate all the ins and outs of Ligeti's psyche (and all the better for that!)
The heart of the book, and what makes it so important, is the discussion of the music of Ligeti. From the earliest compositions, throught the works written when Ligeti first arrived in the west, the "Grand Macabre", the milestone of the Horn Trio, to the latest works - and especially the Piano Etudes, all the major works are carefully considered. Some of Richard Steinitz's musical analysis is hard going - particularly if, like me, you don't read music. But it's full of insights and ideas that mean one goes back to the music (recordings for me) with a new attention and able to get an even richer appreciation of Ligeti's genius. On a whole number of occasions things I had subjectively 'felt' were explained and developed in the book.
For anyone even a little interested in contemporary music this is a must-read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steinitz on Ligeti, an unbeatable combination, 6 April 2003
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This review is from: Gyorgy Ligeti: Music and Imagination (Hardcover)
I've just finished this book - after waiting a very long time for it to appear.
The first thing to say is that if, like me, you are not musically trained, then some of the analysis is pretty tough. There were places where I had no choice but to skip. Sometimes, as in the discussion of the piano etudes, the sheer density of the musicological argument is daunting.
But I've still given the book 5 stars. When the technicalities got too much I put down the book and listened to a recording of the music instead. Then I found that the ideas I could take from the discussion were stimulating a richer hearing. My ears were bigger! For example, I have never put "San Francisco Polyphony" that high in my favourites of Ligeti's work - but I need to reconsider that now I've read and re-listened. The turn in Ligeti's work Horn Trio is clearly established, as are other key turning points in Ligeti's oeuvre and this enables a crtitical, historical, approach to the music.
So I've been helped to sudy (by ear) Ligeti in greater depth. Richard Steinitz, founder of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, has already done so much for modern music - and this book is another invaluable contribution.
We can only hope that Ligeti has a late efflorescence (like Elliot Carter), and that this book becomes out-dated and needs to be updated regularly.
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Gyorgy Ligeti: Music and Imagination
Gyorgy Ligeti: Music and Imagination by Richard Steinitz (Hardcover - 7 April 2003)
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