Ilona Somogyi. His family was Hungarian Jewish. Ligeti recalled that his first exposure to languages other than Hungarian came one day while listening to a conversation between Romanian-speaking town police. He did not return to the town of his birth until the s. His mother was the only person to survive in his immediate family. He conducted ethnomusicological research into the Hungarian folk music of Transylvania.
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Ilona Somogyi. His family was Hungarian Jewish. Ligeti recalled that his first exposure to languages other than Hungarian came one day while listening to a conversation between Romanian-speaking town police. He did not return to the town of his birth until the s.
His mother was the only person to survive in his immediate family. He conducted ethnomusicological research into the Hungarian folk music of Transylvania. However, after a year he returned to Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, this time as a teacher of harmony , counterpoint and musical analysis.
He was a conservative Christian whose circle represented a safe haven for Ligeti. After leaving Hungary[ edit ] In December , two months after the Hungarian revolution was violently suppressed by the Soviet Army, Ligeti fled to Vienna with his ex-wife Vera Spitz.
They remarried in and had a son together. He took only what he considered to be his most important pieces. He later said, "I considered my old music of no interest. I believed in twelve-tone music! There he met several key avant-garde figures and learned more contemporary musical styles and methods. Ligeti worked in the Cologne Electronic Music Studio with Stockhausen and Koenig and was inspired by the sounds he heard there. However, he produced little electronic music of his own, instead concentrating on instrumental works which often contain electronic-sounding textures.
And I, personally, have no ambition to be first or to be important. In he became composer-in-residence at Stanford University in the United States. While he was living in Hamburg, his wife Vera remained in Vienna with their son, Lukas , who later also became a composer.
He was especially fascinated by the fractal geometry of Benoit Mandelbrot and the writings of Douglas Hofstadter. His largest work in this period was a graduation composition for the Budapest Academy , entitled Cantata for Youth Festival, for four vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra. One of his earliest pieces now in the repertoire is his Cello Sonata , a work in two contrasting movements that were written in and , respectively. Even his piano cycle Musica ricercata , though written according to Ligeti with a "Cartesian" approach, in which he "regarded all the music I knew and loved as being The work is based on a simple restriction: the first piece uses exclusively one pitch A, heard in multiple octaves , and only at the very end of the piece is a second note, D, heard.
The string quartet was not performed until , after he had fled Hungary for Vienna. He completed only two works in this medium, however—the pieces Glissandi and Artikulation —before returning to instrumental music. This texture is a similar to that of polyphony , except that the polyphony is obscured in a dense and rich stack of pitches. In this piece, Ligeti abandoned conventional music notation, instead using diagrams to represent general pitch areas, duration, and flurries of notes.
In these pieces, each singer has five roles to play, exploring five areas of emotion, and they switch from one to the other so quickly and abruptly that all five areas are present throughout the piece. Lux Aeterna is a voice a cappella piece whose text is also associated with the Latin Requiem. It has become a standard repertoire piece. They differ widely from each other in their types of motion. In the first, the structure is largely broken up, as in Aventures. In the second, everything is reduced to very slow motion, and the music seems to be coming from a distance, with great lyricism.
The pizzicato third movement is a machine-like studies, hard and mechanical, whereby the parts playing repeated notes create a "granulated" continuum. In the fourth, which is fast and threatening, everything that happened before is crammed together. Lastly, in strong contrast, the fifth movement spreads itself out.
In each movement, the same basic configurations return, but each time their colouring or viewpoint is different, so that the overall form only really emerges when one listens to all five movements in context.
The twelve are divided into two numerically equal groups but with the instruments in the first group tuned approximately a quarter-tone higher four violins, a viola and a cello. As the group play, the one tuned higher inevitably tends to slide down toward the other, and both get nearer each other in pitch.
In spite of frequent markings of "senza tempo", the instrumentalists are not given linear freedom; Ligeti insists on keeping his texture under strict control at any given moment. The form is like a "precision mechanism". Ligeti was always fascinated by machines that do not work properly and by the world of technology and automation. The use of periodic mechanical noises, suggesting not-quite-reliable machinery, occurs in many of his works.
Pieces such as Continuum and Clocks and Clouds —73 were written before he heard the music of Steve Reich and Terry Riley in But the second of his Three Pieces for Two Pianos , entitled "Self-portrait with Reich and Riley and Chopin in the background ", commemorates this affirmation and influence. During the s, he also became interested in the polyphonic pipe music of the Banda -Linda tribe from the Central African Republic , which he heard through the recordings of one of his students.
After Le Grand Macabre, Ligeti would abandon the use of pastiche ,  but would increasingly incorporate consonant harmonies even major and minor triads into his work, albeit not in a diatonic context.
Besides two short pieces for harpsichord , he did not complete another major work until the Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano in , over four years after the opera. His music of the s and s continued to emphasise complex mechanical rhythms, often in a less densely chromatic idiom, tending to favour displaced major and minor triads and polymodal structures.
During this time, Ligeti also began to explore alternate tuning systems through the use of natural harmonics for horns as in the Horn Trio and Piano Concerto and scordatura for strings as in the Violin Concerto. Book I was written as preparation for the Piano Concerto, which contains a number of similar motivic and melodic elements. In the earlier works, the pulse is something to be divided into two, three and so on.
Different rhythms appear through multiplications of the basic pulse, rather than divisions: this is the principle of African music seized on by Ligeti. His music is so utterly original, enjoyable, perfectly constructed, but at the same time emotional In this section of the piece, the percussionists play chromatic harmonicas.
In , Ligeti completed his Violin Concerto after four years of work. Like the Piano Concerto, the Violin Concerto uses the wide range of techniques he had developed up until that point as well as the new ideas he was working out at the moment. Among other techniques, it uses a passacaglia,  " microtonality , rapidly changing textures , comic juxtapositions Hungarian folk melodies , Bulgarian dance rhythms , references to Medieval and Renaissance music and solo violin writing that ranges from the slow-paced and sweet-toned to the angular and fiery.
The third Madrigal is a setting of the English alphabet. Lux Aeterna is heard in the moon-bus scene en route to the Tycho monolith. The Kyrie sequence of his Requiem is heard over the first three monolith encounters. An electronically altered version of Aventures, unlisted in the film credits, is heard in the cryptic final scenes.
When he learned about the use of his music in the film, he "successfully sued for having had his music distorted",  but settled out of court.
Kubrick in return sought permission and compensated Ligeti for use of his music in later films.
Ligeti made lists of possible titles and the titles of the individual numbers were often changed between inception and publication. Often Ligeti did not assign any title until after the work was completed. The right hand plays only white keys while the left hand is restricted to the black keys. This separates the hands into two pitch-class fields; the right hand music is diatonic , the left hand music is pentatonic. These chords are built primarily from fifths , reminiscent of open strings, hence the title. Vivacissimo, sempre molto ritmico — Feroce, impetuoso, molto meno vivace — Feroce, estrepitoso — Tempo I Two different rhythmic patterns interlock. Andante con eleganza, with swing , ca.