Monday, June 12, 2006

György Ligeti

Today is a sad one, due to the passing of composer György Ligeti, the best of the best. His music occupies a unique place in our world. Devoid of sentiment, whimsical, bizarre, and utterly astonishing in its continuous discovery of new sounds where there seemed to be none left to be discovered, we are left with no one who can fill his shoes. In my years of studying music, I have yet to encounter a fellow composer who did not admire his genius, which was to learn everything from everyone, from Brahms to Stockhausen to Steve Reich to Nancarrow to African pygmies. I heard him lecture at Cornell in 1993 and literally swooned when he played a cassette recording of the second movement of his then brand-new Violin Concerto.

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