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Gyorgy Ligeti

Gyorgy Ligeti

Born: 1923 Died: 2006

Ligeti was born in Tarnava-Sanmartin (in Hungarian, Dicsoszentmarton, renamed Tarnaveni in 1945), in the Transylvania region of Romania to a Hungarian Jewish family. Ligeti recalls that his first exposure to languages other than Hungarian came one day while listening to a conversation among the Romanian-speaking town police. Before that he hadn't known that other languages existed. He moved to Cluj (Kolozsvar) with his family when he was 6 and he was not to return to the town of his birth until the 1990s.

Ligeti received his initial musical training in the conservatory at Cluj. In 1943, after the takeover of Northern Transylvania by Hungary following the Second Vienna Award, his education was interrupted when, as a Jew, he was sent to a forced labor brigade by the Horthy regime. His brother, at the age of sixteen, was deported to the Mauthausen concentration camp; his parents were both sent to Auschwitz. His mother was the only other survivor of the immediate family.

Following the war, Ligeti returned to his studies in Budapest, Hungary, graduating in 1949 from the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. He studied under Pal Kadosa, Ferenc Farkas, Zoltan Kodaly and Sandor Veress. He went on to do ethnomusicological work on Romanian folk music, but after a year returned to his old school in Budapest, this time as a teacher of harmony, counterpoint and musical analysis. However, communications between Hungary and the West by then had been undergoing difficulties due to the communist government, and Ligeti and other artists were effectively cut off from the recent developments outside the Soviet bloc. In December 1956, two months after the Hungarian revolution was put down by the Soviet Army, he fled first to Vienna and eventually took Austrian citizenship.

In Cologne he was able to meet several key avant-garde figures and to learn the more contemporary musical styles and methods. These included the composers Karlheinz Stockhausen and Gottfried Michael Koenig, both then working on groundbreaking electronic music. Ligeti worked in the same Cologne studio, 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.

From this time, Ligeti's work became better known and respected, and his best known work might be said(weasel words) to span the period from Apparitions (1958-59) to Lontano (1967), although his later opera, Le Grand Macabre (1978) is also fairly well-known. In more recent years, his three books of Etudes for piano have become better known thanks to recordings made by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Fredrik Ullen, and others.

Ligeti took a teaching post at the Hamburg Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in 1973, retiring in 1989. In the early 1980s, he tried to find a new stylistic position (closer to "tonality"), leading to an absence from the musical scene for several years until he reappeared with the Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano (1982). From then on, his output was plentiful through the 1980s and 1990s. Invited by Walter Fink, he was the first composer featured in the annual Komponistenportrat of the Rheingau Musik Festival in 1990.

However, health problems became severe after the turn of the millennium, and no further vocal pieces appeared after the song cycle Sippal, dobbal, nadihegeduvel ("With Pipes, Drums, Fiddles", 2000). Ligeti's last original work to be completed is the eighteenth piano etude of 2001, "Canon." This title and the form of the etude recall the musical language of Ligeti's central European homeland.

Ligeti died in Vienna on June 12, 2006 at the age of 83. Although it was known that Ligeti had been ill for several years and had used a wheelchair the last three years of his life, his family declined to release the cause of his death. Ligeti's funeral was held at the Vienna Crematorium at the Zentralfriedhof, the Republic of Austria and the Republic of Hungary represented by their respective cultural affairs ministers. The ashes were finally buried at the Zentralfriedhof in a grave dedicated to him by the City of Vienna.

Aside from his musical interests, Ligeti was interested in literature, for example in Lewis Carroll, and the arts, in architecture, in science and mathematics, especially in the fractal geometry of Benoit Mandelbrot, and in Douglas Hofstadter.

Ligeti was the grand-nephew of the great violinist Leopold Auer. Ligeti's son, Lukas Ligeti, is a composer and percussionist based in New York City.

Featured Items (See Related Items.)

Displaying 1-4 of 4 items.


Gyorgy Ligeti : Hortobagy - Three Hungarian Folksongs : SATB : 01 Songbook : Gyorgy Ligeti : 073999352368 : 49001403

Gyorgy Ligeti : Hortobagy - Three Hungarian Folksongs

Review: For unaccompanied mixed voice choir. English translation inlcuded.

Songlist: Hortobagy

More details
7374b | Songbook $5.95 | SATB add item to cart Hungarian Choral Music


Gyorgy Ligeti : Nonsense Madrigals : TTBB : 01 Songbook : Gyorgy Ligeti : 884088053659 : 49032487

Gyorgy Ligeti : Nonsense Madrigals

Review: First premiered by the King's Singers in Queen Elizabeth Hall these compositions are a delight and will be a welcome addition to your repertoire. English text by William Rands and Lewis Carroll. Difficult.

Songlist: Two Dreams and Little Bat, Cuckoo in the Pear-Tree, The Alphabet, Flying Robert, The Lobster Quadrille, A Long, Sad Tale

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7375b | Songbook $39.95 | TTBB add item to cart Humorous A Cappella Arrangements


Gyorgy Ligeti : Songs from Matraszentimr Dalok : SA treble : 01 Songbook : Gyorgy Ligeti : 073999786880 : 49001338

Gyorgy Ligeti : Songs from Matraszentimr Dalok

Review: A collection of Hungarian folk songs for unaccompanied upper voice choir.

Songlist: Harom hordo, Igaz szerelem, Gomb, gomb, Erdobe, erdobe

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7376b | Songbook $4.95 | SA treble add item to cart Eastern European Choral Arrangements


London Sinfonietta Voices : Gyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works : 00  1 CD : Terry Edwards : Gyorgy Ligeti : 07464623052-7 : SK62305

London Sinfonietta Voices : Gyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works

Review: Terry Edwards conducts the London Sinfonietta Voices in 37 striking a cappella choral works by noted Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti. Influenced by Bartok and Kodaly, and by Hungarian and Romanian folk music, Ligeti experienced censorship of his work by the Soviets, finally fleeing with his wife to Austria after the crushing of the Hungarian uprising in 1956. Since then his work has found a much wider audience in Germany, Sweden and California. All songs are a cappella and sung in Hungarian, but the extensive liner notes have English translations of all the lyrics. Some of our favorites are the folk tunes "Haj, Ifjusag!" (Heigh, Youth!) which sings lustily of the battle of the sexes, "Hortobagy," which sings of life on the farm, and "Kallai Kettos," (Double Dance from Kallo), which sings of love in Autumn, and the fact that all the singers' relatives and in-laws are still alive and kicking. "Choral Works" is a complex, powerful, poetic choral work by a gifted composer and a wonderful choral group.

Songlist: Night, Morning, Far from Home, Solitude, Two Canons, Kings of Bethlehem, The Fugitive, Wedding Song, Songs from Inaktelke, Songs from Matraszentimre, Widow Papai, Three Fantasies after Holderlin, Hungarian Etudes, Heigh, Youth!, Easter, Hortobagy, From A High Mountain Rock, Double-Dance from Kallo

More details
6871c | 1 CD $14.97 add item to cart

Related Items ( See Featured Items )

Displaying 1-33 of 33 items.

Song NameArrangerComposerArtistItem TitleFormatTrax
A Long, Sad TaleGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiNonsense MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Cuckoo in the Pear-TreeGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiNonsense MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Double-Dance from KalloGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
EasterGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Ejszaka/ReggelGyorgy LigetiSt. Olaf ChoirPortrait of the Orient 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Erdobe, erdobeGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiSongs from Matraszentimr DalokSongbook (SAA)MORE DETAILS 
Far from HomeGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Flying RobertGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiNonsense MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
From A High Mountain RockGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Gomb, gombGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiSongs from Matraszentimr DalokSongbook (SA)MORE DETAILS 
Harom hordoGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiSongs from Matraszentimr DalokSongbook (SA)MORE DETAILS 
Heigh, Youth!Gyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
HortobagyGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
HortobagyGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiHortobagy - Three Hungarian FolksongsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Hungarian EtudesGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Igaz szerelemGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiSongs from Matraszentimr DalokSongbook (SA)MORE DETAILS 
Kings of BethlehemGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Lux aeternaGyorgy LigetiArs Nova SingersLuminescence: Music for Many Voices 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
MorningGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
NightGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
ReggelGyorgy LigetiSanta Fe Desert ChoralePassion 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
ReggelGyorgy LigetiIowa State SingersChoral Spectrum 3 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
SolitudeGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Songs from InaktelkeGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Songs from MatraszentimreGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
The AlphabetGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiNonsense MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
The FugitiveGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
The Lobster QuadrilleGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiNonsense MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Three Fantasies after HolderlinGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Two CanonsGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Two Dreams and Little BatGyorgy LigetiGyorgy LigetiNonsense MadrigalsSongbookMORE DETAILS 
Wedding SongGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Widow PapaiGyorgy LigetiLondon Sinfonietta VoicesGyorgy Ligeti - A Cappella Choral Works 1 CDMORE DETAILS 


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