Ligeti Festival at Salle Bourgie | Quatuor Ligeti : How Do You Honour A Giant?

by Rédaction PAN M 360

One hundred years ago, the fascinating Hungarian composer György Ligeti was born. Although he passed away in 2006, his music has left an imposing mark on contemporary and contemporary music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Salle Bourgie and the Ligeti Quartet have invited a host of performers and composers to pay tribute to this diverse and moving architect of sound.

Ligeti’s music is difficult to define in a single work since it evolves not only through the formats in which he composed but also through the periods. So it was impossible to adequately represent and honor his work through a single concert. That’s why this festival is made up of three separate, independent concerts, to represent the different aspects of Ligeti’s work and present it to an audience that is often already conquered, but still curious about such unusual music.

The second concert, on Sunday afternoon, was an opportunity for several composers to pay tribute to György Ligeti through works commissioned by the Ligeti Quartet. We hear works by Nicole Lizée, Xiaoyong Chen, Emily Hazrati, Mandhira de Saram, Rolf Hind, Sidney Corbett, Ana Sokolovic, and above all Lukas Ligeti, György’s son, whose work Entasis opened the program.

Their works evoke, pastiche and borrow from the particular style of Ligeti (father). Rhythms and timbres are explored in equal measure, with voice and whistling combined on several occasions with the harsh violin techniques often requested by the composer. During this first part, we realize just how much Ligeti knew how to use the breadth of contemporary musical language, adding dimensions of texture and intensity that inspired several generations of composers after him. The quality of the Ligeti Quartet is exemplary, perfectly communicating the intentions of the scores.

The concert ended with Ligeti’s two String Quartets, works that highlight the aggressiveness and anxiety-inducing delicacy of Ligeti’s more mature style. The contrasts are striking, in terms of sonority and intensity, and it’s easy to get caught up in the force of the writing. We’re exhausted by the end but leave satiated and marked.

To read the review of the third and final concert, click HERE!

Photo credit: Claudine Jacques

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