RIP György Ligeti of Mimodrama

Gyorgi Ligeti Gyorgi Ligeti

György Ligeti, a major composer whose music became familiar to millions through the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, died today in Vienna, his publisher announced on its web site. He was 83. (via Greencine Daily)

More about his life and works from the NYtimes here.

“I am in a prison,” he once explained. “One wall is the avant-garde, the other is the past. I want to escape.”

Presto ruvido from Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet (His debt to Bartók is seen in this piece, which is based on a Balkan dance.)

100 Metronomes Ligeti (youtube)
Poema Sinfonico para 100 Metronoms

“I thought of Robert Musil’s story “Flypaper,” in which a trapped insect is said to perform “endless gesticulations of despair.”
The “Poème Symphonique” is Ligeti in a nutshell. He is, first of all, one of the few major composers, modern or ancient, who are notable for a sense of humor. ” (Alex Rose, the New Yorker)

Ode to the discrepancy between word and deed

Ligeti unknowingly seems to admit this when he calls his ‘Aventures’ a ‘mimodrama’. Of old, theatre has been the natural habitat of non-musical auditory mimesis: its constituting element is dialogue, pure auditory mimesis of dialoguing dramatis personae, and also behind the scene there is ample use of auditory mimesis of a whole array of sounds: from thunder with metal plates, through wind with silk, to horse’s hooves with coconuts. (via)

An Open Letter To the Editors of the Associated Press:

While your decision to devote a fairly lengthy article to memorializing composer Gyorgi Ligeti (June 12, 2006) is admirable, especially in the current media climate where coverage of contemporary composers is so rare, the article itself had a number of disappointing and serious problems. (Posted by Galen H. Brown)