György Ligeti's Cultural Identities  book cover
1st Edition

György Ligeti's Cultural Identities

ISBN 9780367232054
Published February 4, 2019 by Routledge
306 Pages

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Book Description

Since György Ligeti’s death in 2006, there has been a growing acknowledgement of how central he was to the late twentieth-century cultural landscape. This collection is the first book devoted to exploring the composer’s life and music within the context of his East European roots, revealing his dual identities as both Hungarian national and cosmopolitan modernist. Contributors explore the artistic and socio-cultural contexts of Ligeti’s early works, including composition and music theory, the influence of East European folk music, notions of home and identity, his ambivalent attitude to his Hungarian past and his references to his homeland in his later music. Many of the valuable insights offered profit from new research undertaken at the Paul Sacher Foundation, Basel, while also drawing on the knowledge of long-time associates such as the composer’s assistant, Louise Duchesneau. The contributions as a whole reveal Ligeti’s thoroughly cosmopolitan milieu and values, and illuminate why his music continues to inspire new generations of performers, composers and listeners.

Table of Contents


Amy Bauer and Márton Kerékfy

Part I, Creative Personality and Aesthetics

1 Music in the Technological Era
György Ligeti with Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt, translated and annotated by Louise Duchesneau

2 ‘…music is a bit like love – you do it but you don’t talk about it’

Louise Duchesneau

3 The Innate Melodist

Richard Steinitz

4 Ligeti’s Musical Style as Expression of Cultural Trauma

Wolfgang Marx

5 Making It Home? The Natural Sciences as a Site of Belonging in György Ligeti’s Music

Frederik Knop

Part II, Influences and Backgrounds

6 Reflections on Ligeti’s Jewish Identity Following the Discovery of New Documents from his Cluj Years

Heidy Zimmermann

7 Ligeti and Romanian Folk Music: An Insight from the Paul Sacher Foundation

Bianca Ţiplea Temeş

8 Ligeti and the Beginnings of Bartók Analysis in Hungary

Anna Dalos

9 Bartók, Ligeti and the Innovative Middle Road

Peter Edwards

10 From Row to Klang: Ligeti’s Reception of Anton Webern’s Music

Ingrid Pustijanac

Part III, Works

11 Genre as Émigré: The Return of the Repressed in Ligeti’s Second Quartet

Amy Bauer

12 Sketches Reflecting the Images of San Francisco

Kyoko Okumura

13 Ironic Self-Portraits? Ligeti’s Hungarian Rock and Passacaglia ungherese

Márton Kerékfy

14 Tragedy and Irony: The Passacaglia of the Violin Concerto

Volker Helbing

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Amy Bauer is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine. She received her PhD in music theory from Yale University, and has published articles in Music Analysis, The Journal of Music Theory, Contemporary Music Review, Indiana Theory Review and Ars Lyrica, and book chapters on the music of Ligeti, Messiaen, Chávez, Lang, the television musical, modernist opera and issues in the philosophy and reception of modernist music. Her monograph Ligeti’s Laments: Nostalgia, Exoticism and the Absolute (2011) provides a critical analysis of the composer’s works, considering both the compositions themselves and the larger cultural implications of their reception.

Márton Kerékfy is Research Fellow at the Budapest Bartók Archives, Editor of the Béla Bartók Complete Critical Edition and Editor-in-Chief at Editio Musica Budapest. He studied musicology and composition at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest and received his PhD in musicology from the same institution. His doctoral thesis (2014) explores the influence of East European folk music in György Ligeti’s music. He has published articles on the music of Ligeti and Bartók in, among others, Tempo, Studia Musicologica and Mitteilungen der Paul Sacher Stiftung. He translated into Hungarian and edited Ligeti’s selected writings (2010).