with such a detailed first review already posted on amazon : i'll just say :
you need this ! if yr even remotely serious about music and contemporary composition. the works featured on this DG release date form the late 1960's and highlight Ligeti's use of micro-tonality (microscopic variations in pitch and harmony) calling this "micro-polyphony" and makes for very eery music, strangely soothing and yet also unnerving. marvellous performances of this extraordinary otherwordly sounding music from all concerned on this medium priced release. Stanley Kubrick wasc ertainly a fan + featured Ligeti's along with Penderecki's music in the film 2001 + The Shining for Penderecki but you probably know this..). a star has been omitted for "Adventures" on this cd which i feel is pure folly alas + sounds like a bad theatrical pastiche of "Stimmung" by Stockhausen.
start here for a good intro overview of Ligeti's music (his Piano Etudes on Sony by Pierre Aimard is v.good also) BEFORE venturing perhaps into the avant deep end of Stockhausen, Penderecki, Boulez or Carter...
Gyorgy Ligeti -one of the key composers of the 20th century.
This disc features superb performances of some challenging works. The Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Boulez, capture the strange underwater-like sonorities of the opening movements of the chamberconcerto with real verve, and play the latter movements which sound like failing clockwork and broken machinery with their usual panache. This is truly a magnificent work, and improves with every listen. At times Ligeti is guilty of empty gestures, but this is not true of this piece.Everything contributes to the work's transition from subdued order tomechanical chaos. The String Quartet no.2 is also a fine piece of music, but is perhaps a little too similar to the chamber concerto to sit happily on this disc,and 'Aventures' is merely silly, a sort of pastiche of Schoenberg's pierrot lunaire, but with none of that piece's expressive qualities. 'Ramifications' is an interesting study in microtonality that anticipates some of the work carried out in more recent years at IRCAM in Paris. This work begins with the string players playing out of tune with one another,and as the piece progresses they gradually and unintentionally harmonise.As with the chamber concerto, the piece focuses a gradual transformation,but in this case the piece becomes more soothing as it nears the end. The disc is completed by the hypnotic, cloud-like 'Lux aeterna'. This piece has a kind of transcendental beauty achieved by the feeling of stasis of the harmonic progressions. This serene conclusion is reminiscent of the 1st movement of the chamber concerto, taking the disc full circle. Aventures aside, this disc is of a consistently high quality. Anyone looking for melodies will be disappointed though, but the genius of Ligeti lies in his use of harmony and timbre. That said, this music is by no means without incident, both the chamber concerto and the string quartetno2 are constantly surprising and very satisfying if given time. The chamber concerto is the highlight, and one of the high-water marks of music in the 2nd half of the 20th century. Highly recommended.
This is highly recommendable collection of Ligeti's most powerful and highly evocative works, each one of them played with inspiration and deeper affinity with ligeti's unique soundscape, thanks to Boulez and LaSalle Qt. Inclues one of the finest performances of the famous choral work Lux aeterna.