Written for the concert Requiem for the 20th Century , performed on December 10, at Carnegie Hall. That Ligeti had close acquaintance with death is unquestioned given the circumstances of his youth. Born in Transylvania to a family at once Hungarian and Jewish, he was sent to a forced labor camp in Astoundingly, his mother survived. In the midst of the Hungarian revolt of , Ligeti escaped to Vienna and soon made his way to Cologne, then a hotbed of the musical avant-garde. As noted above, Ligeti composed his Requiem at a time when he had decisively rejected the post-war European avant-garde: communication with his listeners became of paramount importance.
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Colour print. Signed by Ligeti in pencil. In fine condition. With notes on verso in pencil, saying that it was a gift from the composer on June 30, In the same year it was premiered in Stockholm.
Studied at the Music Academy of Cluj and Budapest. After his graduation he started to collect folk music in Romania and taught composing and counterpointing at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. He left Hungary after the revolution in , and started to work at the radio station in Cologne where he made acquaintance with Karlheinz Stockhausen who had a major influence on his art. In settled down in Vienna and became citizen in This gave him reputation in the Western European music scene.
After these works he gave up composing electronic music but his experiences with such instruments made and effect on his later compositions. His music could be characterized as a mixture of Western avant-garde music and Hungarian folk music combined with sense of humour and absurd. Add to Cart Ask a Question.
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A Singer’s Account of György Ligeti’s Requiem
The work lasts for just under half an hour, and is in four movements: Introitus , a gradual unbroken plane of sound moving from "mourning into the promise of eternal light";  Kyrie , a complex polyphonic movement reaching a fortissimo climax; Dies Irae , which uses vocal and orchestral extremes in theatrical gestures; and the closing Lacrimosa , for soloists and orchestra only, which returns to the subdued atmosphere of the opening. Ligeti was commissioned to write a work in for a series of new-music concerts on Swedish Radio. It was he who suggested a Requiem, and had initially intended to set the full text of the Requiem mass. However he ultimately decided that to set around half the text met his structural needs. He scored the work for large choral forces, featuring two mixed choirs and soprano and mezzo-soprano soloists.
Perhaps best remembered for his dense harmonies, tone clusters, and micropolyphonic textures, Ligeti was famous for crafting nearly impossible repertoire—and the fact it has taken half a century to mount a Seattle performance of his Requiem is a testament to its difficulty. This musical undertaking was certainly out of the typical chorale wheelhouse and was an audacious selection for the Symphony to perform. As a member of the chorale, I had the opportunity to learn this requiem and will share my experience in doing so. The physical score is bulkier than a standard choral scores, elongated both vertically and horizontally by the part chorus notation.