Monday, June 12, 2006

R.I.P. Gyorgy Ligeti

"There is a great living writer - I know him personally - Sandor Veres. One of the greatest poets, like your. . . but I don't know any great living English poets."

The man many considered the greatest living composer, Gyorgy Ligeti, died at age 83. I remember my first exposure to his music - like most, it was through Stanley Kubric's films (2001, The Shining, etc). In many ways, I've continued to be inspired by his example, in particular his adventurousness. His 1961 work "The Future of Music" is a great example of a young composer struggling with the problem of public performance, where the entire piece consists of the composer staring at the audience onstage. His work spawned a whole genre named after one of his pieces (atmospheric music), helped set the stage for minimalism, and generally resisted pidgeonholing.

I learned of Ligeti's death from Ben Levy, a great friend and colleague whose dissertation concerned Ligeti's three electronic works, important and excellent examples of work done at WDR in Cologne in the 50's. Ben - remind me to talk about the diss when it gets published online!!!!


Blogger Kairos said...

Often overshadowed by Boulez and Stockhausen, Ligeti's music-- uncompromising yet always humane-- will in time be regarded as among the richest, most diverse, and most genuinely "new" composed in the 20th century.

6/14/2006 12:51 PM  

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