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Arts and Humanities journals’ primary focus is on presenting theoretical and empirical research in these respective fields. The main goal is to encourage educational research and connect academia to the scientific community. Researchers and scholars need to share their research findings with others to help better understand and act on the ongoing social changes in the field. The Arts and Humanities journals aim to provide a platform for everyone who shares a common interest in these fields and to group all the latest field findings in one place.

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Abstract

Discussing his Horn Trio, György Ligeti imaginatively describes the second movement as a dance that was “inspired by different folk musics of nonexistent people, as if Hungary, Romania, and all of the Balkans were located somewhere between Africa and the Caribbean.” And in more general remarks about his works, he goes on to suggest that, rather than overtly referencing their stylistic features, he abstracted technical principles from various traditions and combined them into an idiosyncratically amalgamated musical language. This essay shows an expansive approach to hybridity in Ligeti's Violin Concerto and Hamburg Concerto, going well beyond previous remarks about African rhythmic influences. Ligeti's practice encompasses not only rhythm, but also texture, pitch, and tuning systems; it spans a wider breadth of traditions as well, including newly identified sources such as flute and panpipe ensembles from New Guinea and yodeling traditions from across the globe. An analysis of passages from these late concertos – undertaken alongside evidence from his ethnomusicological sources, recordings, and sketches housed at the Paul Sacher Stiftung – demonstrates the intricacies and patterns of Ligeti's late style and the compelling statement it makes about the role of hybridity and globalization in contemporary life.

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Abstract

György Ligeti was very interested in many artistic and scientific fields and drew inspiration for his compositional work from them (his engagement with mathematics – particularly fractal geometry and chaos theory – is perhaps the best known). In this chapter I compare the concept of artistic research with Ligeti's practice and oeuvre. While the notion of artistic research was only appearing in embryonic form during the latter stages of Ligeti's career, many – though not all – of his statements seem to be suitable for describing his artistic processes. The benefit of this investigation is expected to be twofold: applying the concept of artistic research to Ligeti's approaches and practices should yield new insights on the relationship between his work and his interest in other humanities and sciences. Yet this look at Ligeti may also help to refine the concept of artistic research as discussed and applied to the artistic output of today.

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Abstract

Like his fellow members of the Western European musical avantgarde of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Ligeti often expressed himself in articles or lectures on theoretical and analytical topics. Unlike his contemporaries, however, he also wrote on matters autobiographical. Though his first self-examination, dating from 1971, is still concerned overwhelmingly with compositional theory, from the end of that decade he returned several times to personal experiences, especially those of his childhood years and early adulthood. These seemed to become important again now that the musical climate was turning from a hard objectivity that held the composer's personality to be almost irrelevant towards a fuzzier view of how composers could not but be subjectively engaged in their work. At the same time, in their variety of approach, Ligeti's autobiographical writings refuse to tell a single story.

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Abstract

The code word “Kylwiria” was mentioned by György Ligeti from time to time since the 1970s. At first, it functioned rather abstractly as a working title for the opera that had been in the making since the mid-1960s and eventually mutated into Le Grand Macabre. Later, Ligeti also shared details about the imaginary land of his childhood, providing glimpses of brightly colored maps of that land and underscoring the importance of his childlike fantasy world. This article explores the dimensions of this “private mythology” and its impact on the composer's creative thinking and work. Its documentary evidence – the description of the land of Kylwiria recorded in 1950 in a booklet of more than 70 pages – is presented in examples and examinated for its particularities. On the one hand, it seems that the pioneering exploration of geographical spaces is transferred as a model to the creative exploration of sound spaces. On the other hand, Ligeti's concept of a fantastic counterworld is to be seen in a literary and cultural-historical context, in which it is to be located somewhere between expedition report, travel guide and utopian design. Such an outline sharpens the meaning of Kylwiria as a cipher for creativity in a characteristic mixture of ratio and fantasy.

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Abstract

Sándor Weöres's poetry was a life-long passion and source of inspiration for György Ligeti. This article explores the role Weöres played in Ligeti's early development as a composer by providing insight into the genesis of all of his 13 early settings of Weöres, including the unpublished choral works Hajnal [Dawn] and Tél [Winter], the incomplete song “Nagypapa leszállt a tóba” [Grandpa descended in the pond], and the unfinished oratorio “Istar pokoljárása” [Ishtar's Journey to Hell], and by making some analytical observations on them. Ligeti's early settings of Weöres were composed in three periods. The first stage in 1946–1947 was his compositional discovery of Weöres's poetry, which seems to have acted as a fuel and a challenge for him, triggering something of a musical self-liberation. His Weöres settings in 1949–1950 may be seen as a sign of solidarity with the poet effectively silenced by Communist state authorities, while in 1952–1955, Weöres texts seem to have served specifically as material for Ligeti's experimentation with static music and serialism.

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“Some Sort of Machine without a Body”

György Ligeti and Antoinette Vischer Explore the Modern Harpsichord

Studia Musicologica
Author:
Elisabeth Reisinger

Abstract

From the mid-1950s, Basel harpsichordist Antoinette Vischer (1909–1973) promoted the harpsichord as a modern instrument, commissioning numerous composers to contribute to a new repertoire. To this end, she turned to György Ligeti, who completed Continuum for her in 1968. The composer had already used the harpsichord in ensembles several times, but now he had to think about it in a soloistic function for the first time, starting from a specific performer with her specific instrument. In this paper, I focus on this relationship between composer, performer-commissioner, and instrument, drawing primarily on the correspondence between Ligeti and Vischer preserved at the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel. These unpublished letters document their collaboration and how both negotiated their artistic positions and aesthetic concepts of the harpsichord as “some sort of machine.” An in-depth analysis of Ligeti and Vischer's exchange about the instrument's peculiarities and performance issues allows us to better understand their self-conception as artists and their ideas of “modernity.” Furthermore, this case study sheds light on a specific period in the history of an instrument that through the efforts of performers like Vischer was transformed from an artifact of the past to an emblem of the present.

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Abstract

Conservative critic John Borstlap cited Ligeti as a partisan in his fight against the modernist myth of progress in the arts, based on the famous citation “I am in a prison. One wall is the avant-garde, the other is the past. I want to escape.” Ligeti's ambivalence reflected his distaste for art linked to utopian socialist ideals, and for all that was reactionary. Yet he admitted that his own youthful utopian strivings evolved into a desire for complex music that often defied audibility. This essay traces Ligeti's reception history from the late 1950s onward as a reaction to the thwarted utopian strains in his music. For some, Ligeti's music of the 1960s seemed to define “the contemporary problem itself.” But the composer's increased visibility in the 1990s led to demands that he deal with his Jewish heritage and wartime trauma, and cease writing music with a broad appeal. I argue that Ligeti's works reinscribe the past, the personal, and the extramusical as a conscious expression of his prison. They express the nonlinear notion of progress that defines modernism: a vast “tear in the historical process” able to lift music above the scrum of political-aesthetic skirmishes, to a “region which lies elsewhere.”

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Abstract

On several occasions, Ligeti spoke about an early literary memory that he credited with the origins of his meccanico style. He recalled reading a short story by Gyula Krúdy (1878–1933) at the age of five, in which Krúdy supposedly wrote about a widow who lived in an old house filled with constantly ticking clocks. To date, the best Krúdy experts have been unable to identify the story in question, and it is reasonable to assume that in Ligeti's mind, actual elements from the writer's work were freely recombined and reimagined at a time when the compositions partly inspired by the Krúdy experience had already been written. Ligeti's published interviews contain references to Krúdy that go beyond the story with the clocks, it may be assumed that the writer's influence on the composer goes deeper than what has been acknowledged so far.

In addition, there is an aspect of Ligeti's recollection of the Krúdy story that has not received all the attention it deserves. In his conversations with Péter Várnai, the composer spoke of machines that were working or not working (emphasis mine), and elevators stopping at the wrong floor, or not starting at all. Some of the meccanico works are worth revisiting in search of such “malfunctions” as we try to reimagine the old house where not all the clocks might have been running like clockwork.

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Abstract

Children are a vulnerable group in terms of obesity: nearly 20% of Hungarian kindergarten and school-aged children are overweight or obese. School catering plays a decisive role in shaping children's nutritional behavior. To support the prevention of obesity and to increase the quality of children's diets, legislation passed in 2014 included provisions on school catering. This paper provides a qualitative content analysis of a roundtable discussion on the school catering system that took place at an interdisciplinary conference, with the aim of identifying the most important messages about school meals conveyed by the discussion. During the qualitative analysis of the roundtable discussion, seven main categories emerged: factors supporting the acceptance/implementation of public catering; factors hindering the acceptance/implementation of public catering; everyday problems in the implementation of public catering; the task of caterers and public catering; the transformation of public catering; cooperation among parties with an interest in public catering; and factors helping children to cooperate. The co-occurrence network of subcategories and values can be broken down into one large component and several separate, small components. Thus, it can be concluded that the majority of subthemes and values are grouped into a coherent system. The results point to the key role of school catering in healthy nutrition and nutrition education, and the importance of close cooperation among parties with an interest in school catering to promote the social acceptance of catering and the prevention of childhood obesity.

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Abstract

The starting point for the present study is the thematization of the concept of “Jewish cultural heritage” and, in this context, the outlining of the role and position of cemeteries in Jewish tradition. The case study focuses on the Hungarian village of Apc, which was home to a Jewish community of just over a hundred people before World War II. After the Holocaust, only a few survivors returned to the settlement; some of them emigrated, while others remained in Apc for the rest of their lives. In recent decades, what has become of the cemetery, one of the most important sites for the former Jewish community of Apc? This paper explores the process of the heritagization of the local Jewish cemetery, one of the activities carried out by the Together for Apc Association, a civil society initiative launched two decades ago. In 2003, the dilapidated and abandoned “Israelite cemetery” was the first of the settlement's deteriorating assets to be declared as local cultural heritage. With the involvement of various actors from the local community (volunteers and local entrepreneurs), and in contact with Jewish organizations (the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities, the Foundation for Hungarian Jewish Cemeteries), the cemetery was restored over a period of two years and was “inaugurated” in 2006 in the presence of a rabbi, a cantor, a Jewish secular leader, Holocaust survivors and members of the local society. In the fifteen years since then, care has been taken to ensure that the achievements are sustainable and maintained, and the cemetery has been kept open not only for the descendants of the Jewish community but for all interested parties. But the salvaging of the Apc Jewish cemetery is not only an example of the preservation of the built heritage of a single community: while for the village residents it forms part of their local identity, for the Jewish organizations it represents part of their Jewish identity. What happens when two communities stake a claim to the heritagization of the same site? As a shared goal, or “cause,” the “bipolar” process of the heritagization of the Jewish cemetery in Apc has provided an opportunity for dialogue, collective thinking, and problem solving between Jewish and non-Jewish society, even if the various heritagization goals, coming from different directions, have in many cases generated tensions.

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