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Born: 1923, Dicsöszentmárton, TransylvaniaDied: 2006, Vienna, Austria

"In my music one finds neither that which one might call 'scientific' nor the 'mathematical.' But rather a unification of construction with poetic, emotional imagination."

GYÖRGY LIGETI was born to Hungarian Jewish parents. He studied composition in Cluj and then, after the war, in Budapest, at the Academy of Music, where he joined the teaching staff soon after graduating in 1949. These were difficult times. Much of the music a young composer might be interested in was officially banned, and Ligeti had to piece together his knowledge of new and recent music from diverse sources: an uncle abroad, foreign radio broadcasts. In December 1956, following the Soviet invasion, he escaped with his wife to Austria. The première of his orchestral work Atmosphères, in 1961, established him as a master of color and stillness; the appearance of Aventures the next year proved his equal command of quick-fire humor. His subsequent career can be seen as one of continuing growth in range and differentiation within the world of radiant beauty and strangeness he had opened.

Further listening:

Atmosphères (1961)Berlin Philharmonic, Jonathan Nott(Teldec)

Etudes, Books I & II (1985, 1988-1993)Idil Biret, piano (Naxos)

05/07