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György Ligeti and his wife Vera left Budapest by train on 10 December 1956, in the wake of the Soviet quelling of the Hungarian uprising. After crossing the Austrian border on foot under dangerous circumstances through the night of 11 and 12

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The poetry of Sándor Weöres (1913–1989) was a life-long passion and source of inspiration for György Ligeti. He was 23 when he wrote his first Weöres settings, and 77 when he composed his last ones; but perhaps even more telling is the fact that

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Dans les années quatre-vingt, le compositeur français, Francis Bayer, a réalisé de longues heures d’entretien avec György Ligeti. L’extrait présenté ici concerne la jeunesse de Ligeti, en Transylvanie, et ses premières années de compositeur, pendant la guerre et immédiatement après la guerre, à Budapest. Ligeti y apparaît marqué par l’héritage de Bartók et par l’atmosphère studieuse et exigeante du milieu intellectuel au sein duquel il a été élevé. On apprend également quelques éléments de sa vie liés au destin des Juifs à cette époque.

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The beginning of the 1950s marks a turning-point in György Ligeti’s early career. By that time Ligeti had become disappointed regarding his rather marginal position in Hungarian musical life, and he might well have felt some dissatisfaction with his own artistic output, as well. He recognized that he should leave his former style and build up his own expressive means and musical language from elementary material. For this purpose, he set himself certain compositional tasks, and imposed restrictions on pitch content, intervals, and rhythms ‘as if to build up a “new music” from nothing’. Accordingly, Musica ricercata , which is the first fruit of his experimental project, marks a renewal of Ligeti’s musical thinking primarily on terms of the compositional technique. The present study examines the main problems of compositional technique raised in Musica ricercata (primarily that of chromaticism and dense polyphony) and points out significant influences shown in the work (such as those of Bartók, Stravinsky, and Romanian folklore).

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This article reflects the ‘verbal history’ of György Ligeti’s most prominent work, the orchestral piece Atmosphères from 1961. It discusses previously unknown notes from the György Ligeti collection at the Paul Sacher Stiftung, Basel as well as official comments by Ligeti. In addition, it takes into account the secondary literature, beginning with Harald Kaufmann’s influential text “Strukturen im Strukturlosen” (1964), which was partly co-authored by Ligeti. The main aspects in focus are the composer’s own distinction within the contemporary music scene, his way of describing his work in terms of perception, and his handling of the concepts of effect and structure.

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IGNM Zurich organized in November concert debates with the composer). Since the 1990s, Niculescu has gradually become known on the European music scene, thanks to the efforts of an extraordinary friend, György Ligeti. In 2008 we lost a person who was

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This article proceeds from the notions that composers need advocates and that in postwar new music, they commented more than ever before on their own work. It deals specifically with György Ligeti and focusses on the years between his flight from Hungary in 1956 and his appointment as a professor in Hamburg in 1973. A detailed examination of sources from the composer’s archive in the Paul Sacher Foundation shows how Harald Kaufmann and Ove Nordwall promoted his music and thinking. Ligeti’s own position reveals a rift between his public success and the deeprooted self-consciousness of an immigrant sensitive to all kinds of discrimination. Nevertheless, Ligeti, with his extraordinary clearness, had considerable influence on musical discourse and succeeded in defining an individual profile. An appendix includes six hitherto unpublished letters from Kaufmann to Ligeti.

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György Ligeti’s comments on his last large orchestral piece San Francisco Polyphony show a remarkable understatement, if not neglect, of this work. This paper intends to find reasons for this attitude. It analyzes the correlation between title and substance, in particular the description of the work as being polyphonic, showing that the piece is less polyphonic than it is melodic or even thematic, resulting from coherent stylistic development as well as from an innate spatial conception rather than from a switchback to 19th-century procedures. At the end, San Francisco Polyphony proves to be a very personal comment on the state of the post-war musical avant-garde and the discussion about postmodernism in music.

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This essay identifies three reasons that help explain why György Ligeti was highly active as a speaker and author of texts about music throughout his career. He thereby replenished his income (particularly before 1973), asserted his auctorial authority vis-à-vis musicological interpretations and — at least indirectly — secured a better “share of the market” for his own music by being present in the public eye. This essay also discusses the reliability of Ligeti’s assertions which warned against an overreliance on composers’ views on the part of musicologists.

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Vermag Musik einen imaginären Raum zu eröffen, worin die Zeit stillgestellt scheint? — Den flüchtigen, in der Zeit verflibenden Charakter, den die klassizistische Asthetik der Musik zuweist, sucht György Ligeti (1923) auf der Ebene des Illusionären aufzuheben.

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