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Gyorgy Ligeti Edition 7:: Chamber Music

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 29, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

This recording includes Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet, Ten Pieces for Wind Quintet, Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano and Solo Viola Sonata.
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: LIGETI,G.
Title: CHAMBER MUSIC
Street Release Date: 01/20/1998
Domestic
Genre: CLASSICAL COMPOSERS

Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Classical
  • ASIN: B00000BZX7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,834 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Michael Schell on December 10, 2009
Format: Audio CD
NOTE: This appears to be a duplicate listing for LE7. Also note that as of 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 one if you're interested in Ligeti's music.

This is the last installment of Ligeti Edition before Le Grand Macabre, and it focuses on chamber music other than string quartets. The 1982 horn trio is the first of Ligeti's late period neoclassical works, and is far more conventional in style and form than his sound surface works of the 1950s through 1970s. Ligeti can't resist throwing some quirks in though: he calls for the violin and horn to play in just intonation while the piano remains in equal temperament. You hear this clash most clearly in the slow forth movement (what seems "out of tune" is how it's supposed to sound), which reminds me of the last of Ives' Three Quarter-Tone Pieces, which is itself a slow chorale. After Ligeti brings the movement to a climax, the violin and horn sustain notes at the extremes of their registers, recalling a similar passage in the last movement of the Second String Quartet (though the effect is somewhat undermined by the horn's inability to indefinitely sustain a pedal tone). Throughout, Ligeti emphasizes a descending me-re-do motive borrowed from Beethoven's "Les Adieux" sonata that's also used by Copland in the slow finale of his adventuresome piano quartet, which this horn trio also reminds me of.
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Format: Audio CD
(Note that in the time since I originally wrote this review, all discs in Sony's Ligeti Edition were collected into a box set which is excellent value. But if you are curious about the specific works here, read on.)

This Sony disc, the seventh of the "Gyorgy Ligeti Edition" series of the composer's collected works in performances overseen by Ligeti himself, presents four pieces from four very different parts of his career. The performers are virtuosos, violinist Saschko Gawriloff, the composer's favourite pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, his preferred horn player Marie-Luise Neunecker, Tabea Zimmerman on viola, and the London Winds quintet.

First up chronologically are the "Six Bagatelles" for wind quintet (1953). Those who know Ligeti's eleven-piece "Musica Ricercata" for solo piano will find these quite familiar. The piano work was written when Ligeti decided to totally revise his compositional technique and embrace total chromaticism. However, he couldn't expect all of it to be played publically in Stalinist Hungary, so he arranged six of the more innocuous parts for wind quintet. (Only five appeared at the premiere, as the sixth had too many minor seconds.) These are delightful arrangements, retaining the strong dramatic potential of the piano work but expanding its timbres through Klangefarbemelodien.

The "Ten Pieces" for wind quintet (1968) come from Ligeti's middle period, marked by "micropolyphony", orchestral texture so thick that individual voices disappear in an intricate web of sound. The soundworld here reminds me very much of the String Quartet No. 2 and of "Lontano" for orchestra, both composed around the same time.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This collection of chamber music brings "The Ligeti Project" to a natural close. The Trio for Violin, Horn, and Piano (1982) is the composer's paean to the trio by Brahms. Written in four movements, like Brahms', the piece is a modern tour de force of virtuosity that requires the players to listen to each other and maintain the concept through the composer's style. Marie-Luise Neunecker, a Ligeti favorite, is probably the top horn virtuoso being recorded today; her tone is uniformly smooth and transparent. She merges expertly with violinist Saschko Gawriloff and pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The other pieces here are not this good but still worth a listen for Ligeti acolytes. Of the other pieces included here. Ten Pieces for Wind Quintet (1968) and Sonata for Solo Viola (1991) make use of the composer's microtonaltiy and the early Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet (1953) is tonal and traditional. The London Wind Soloists provide its first recording here. All told, this package spans the composer's career and and gives you an idea of how Ligeti transformed himself over the decades. With good sound on recordings from 1994-96 and adequate notes, this is an enduring slice of Ligeti you'll want to know if you've been converted by his more famous Lontano, Requiem, Lux Aeterna, or Atmospheres.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After a piece is written, it gets premiered. It doesn't matter how much preparation goes into the first performance, it's only a rough draft of the music. These pieces have been around for a generation now, played and studied by countless musicians and have in many ways entered the standard repertoire. This recording stands as a testament to the ameliorative properties of the passage of time with its concomitant reworkings of interpretations. There's just no substitute for time.
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