Magazine article Gramophone

Ligeti: Six Bagatelles

Magazine article Gramophone

Ligeti: Six Bagatelles

Article excerpt

Ligeti

Six Bagatelles. Chamber Concerto. Ten Pieces for Wind Quintet les Siecles / Francois-Xavier Roth Les Siecles Live/Musicales Actes Sud F ASM26 (44' * DDD) Recorded live at the Chapelle du Mejan, Arles, and the Cite de la Musique, Soissons, France, April 12-14, 2016

At first glance, this 44-minute disc bookending Gyorgy Ligeti's 1970 Chamber Concerto--a major work--with two occasional wind quintet pieces might feel a rather paltry offering compared with Ligeti's Chamber Concerto paired with the Piano Concerto and Melodien as part of Teldec's complete Ligeti Project, or DG's classic Boulez recording placed alongside Ramifications and the Second String Quartet. But, word to the wise, if you consider yourself a Ligeti aficionado, you need to hear these tour de force, cream-of-the-crop performances by Francois-Xavier Roth and Les Siecles.

The booklet-notes don't specify how the ensemble's usual modus operandi of matching repertoire with historically appropriate instruments worked out here, but the group's keenly sensitive ears for timbre--honed in recent recordings of Stravinsky, Chabrier and Debussy--create performances of rare textural pliancy. Ligeti's 1953 student Six Bagatelles connects back to that early-20th-century French neoclassicism with which, as it leans towards Dadaism, the ensemble are so familiar. The opening Allegro con spirito might be the best Milhaud piece Milhaud never wrote, and Marion Ralincourt's laser-cutter flute and Helene Mourot's guttural oboe push for a more unruly spectrum of sounds than is customary in wind quintet playing. …

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