DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Ligeti Never Stayed Glum For Long

By Norman Lebrecht on February 19, 2021

ligeti-feature

György Ligeti: The 13 Etudes (Hyperion)

★★★★★

🎧  Amazon | Apple Music

Among composers of the post-War avant-garde, Ligeti is now the most performed. You can go from one end of the year to the other without hearing a note of Boulez or Stockhausen, but Ligeti — who died sooner than the other two, in 2006 — is somehow freshest in mind. His opera Le grand macabre is practically made-for-TV with its post-modern anarchic comedy and his violin concerto is a back-to Bartok contemporary classic.

These piano studies, written in the 1980s and 1990s when Ligeti had fallen out with the didactic avant-gardists, are fiendishly difficult to play and irresistibly easy on the ear. Bartók apart, the main influence is Debussy, with filigree delicacy and occasional plosions of irritation. Ligeti describes some of his sounds as “fake gamelan” but he may be teasing. The piece I like best is the one he calls “melancholy pigeon”. I know exactly what he means.

It’s the expression Ligeti wore every time I met him. And he never stayed glum for long.

The British pianist Danny Driver captures his mood swings with uncanny intuition, interleaving gamelan plinks with Boulez hammers and remaining entirely Ligeti all the way through. If you want to know what a piano can do, you really need to settle down with this absorbing world of sound.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

#LUDWIGVAN

Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the Ludwig van Daily — classical music and opera in five minutes or less HERE.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

SCRUTINY | Tarragon Theatre’s Premiere ‘Orestes’ Is Part Of A Brave New World

By Paula Citron on February 6, 2021

The greatest take-away from Tarragon’s Orestes is the fact that the company went for broke on creating original digital live online theatre, a risky venture if ever there was.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

THE SCOOP | Quebéc Recognizes Musical Excellence At Online Opus Prize Gala

By Michael Vincent on February 8, 2021

While sports fans were busy watching the Super Bowl Sunday spectacle, Quebéc's classical music community gathered to celebrate their own at the 24th annual Opus Prize Gala.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

THE SCOOP | Canadian Opera Company Appoints First-Ever Disruptor-In-Residence

By Michael Vincent on January 27, 2021

The Canadian Opera Company appoints Amplified Opera to a new two-year "Disruptor-in-Residence" program aimed at developing equity, diversity, and inclusivity in the arts.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.