Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook

By Larry Sitsky | Go to book overview

GYÖRGY LIGETI (1923–)

Friedemann Sallis

An Austrian composer of Hungarian origin, György Ligeti was born in Diciosánmârtin (Dicsöszenmárton) on May 28, 1923. The small town, today known as Tîrnveni, is situated in the Transylvanian region of Romania.

Ligeti’s ancestors were middle-class Jews of German origin living in western Hungary. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the growth of Hungarian nationalism encouraged many members of this community and other cultural minorities to alter their names so as to better assimilate into the majority. The composer’s father changed his name from Auer to Ligeti, after being pressured by overzealous secondary school teachers. 1 Alexander Ligeti (1890–1945) went on to take a degree at the Budapest University and became the manager of a branch of an Anglo-Hungarian banking concern at Diciosánmârtin. Ligeti’s mother, Ilona Somogyi (1893–1982), was a practicing ophthalmologist. In 1929, the family moved to Cluj (Kolozsvár), the economic and cultural center of Transylvania.

Studies in music began with piano lessons in 1937 (Ligeti 1973b, 57–58). Four years later, Ligeti graduated from secondary school and applied for admission to the local university with the intention of obtaining a degree in physics. However, because Jewish students were subjected to a numerus clausus, he was refused entry. As an alternative, he enrolled at the Cluj Conservatory in 1941, with organ as his principal instrument. The earliest extant holograph is dated 1938–1939 and bears the title Sonatina (per quatuor) mi minore.2 A first public performance and a first publication of works came in 1942. 3 That same year, Ligeti decided to devote himself to composition, studying with Ferenc Farkas, then director of the conservatory (Griffiths 1983, 15). These studies were brutally cut off in 1944. Being Jewish, Ligeti was forced to do hard labor for the Hungarian army. In October, he escaped and returned to Cluj to find that his family had been deported. Later, he would learn that both his father and his brother (Gábor, 1928–1945) were murdered by the Nazis in the last days of the

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Music of the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde: A Biocritical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xix
  • George Antheil (1900–1959) 1
  • Robert Ashley (1930–) 11
  • Select Discography 16
  • Milton Babbitt (1916–) 17
  • Henk Badings (1907–1987) 23
  • Bibliography 30
  • Jean BarraquÉ (1928–1973) 31
  • Bibliography 42
  • BÉla BartÓk (1881–1945) 43
  • Selected Works 48
  • Alban Berg (1885–1935) 50
  • Luciano Berio (1925–) 60
  • Selected Works 66
  • Boris Blacker (1903–1975) 68
  • Pierre Boulez (1925–) 77
  • Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924) 85
  • John Cage (1912–1992) 91
  • Bibliography 98
  • Cornelius Cardew (1936–1981) 99
  • Selected Works 102
  • Elliot Carter Jr. (1908–) 103
  • Bibliography 110
  • Henry Cowell (1897–1965) 112
  • Luigi Dallapiccola (1904–1975) 117
  • Claude Debussy (1862–1918) 124
  • Morton Feldman (1926–1987) 131
  • Brian Ferneyhough (1943–) 138
  • Selected Works 143
  • Kenneth Gaburo (1926–1993) 144
  • Selected Works 149
  • Roberto Gerhard (1896–1970) 151
  • George Gershwin (1898–1937) 159
  • Philip Glass (1937–) 168
  • Efim Golyschev (1897–1970) 173
  • Selected Works 176
  • Percy Grainger (1882–1961) 177
  • Sofia Gubaidulina (1931–) 183
  • Alois HÁba (1893–1973) 190
  • Josef Hauer (1883–1959) 197
  • Lejaren Hiller (1924–1994) 203
  • Alan Hovhaness (1911–2000) 211
  • Bibliography 216
  • Charles Edward Ives (1874–1954) 217
  • LeoŠ JanÁČek (1854–1928) 224
  • Ernst Krenek (1900–1991) 236
  • La Monte Young (1935–) 246
  • GyÖrgy Ligeti (1923–) 254
  • Bibliography 261
  • Arthur LouriÉ (1892–1966) 264
  • Alvin Lucier (1931–) 269
  • Selected Works 273
  • Videography 274
  • Otto Luening (1900–) 275
  • Witold LutosŁawski (1913–1994) 282
  • Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) 291
  • Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992) 299
  • Selected Works 304
  • Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) 305
  • Aleksandr Vasil’yevich Mosolov (1900–1973) 314
  • Conlon Nancarrow (1912–1997) 319
  • Notes 325
  • Luigi Nono (1924–1990) 329
  • Bibliography 336
  • Nikolai Obukhov (1892–1954) 339
  • Pauline Oliveros (1932–) 345
  • Leo Ornstein (1892–2002) 351
  • Arvo PÄrt (1935–) 358
  • Harry Partch (1901–1974) 365
  • Krzysztof Penderecki (1933–) 373
  • Selected Works 378
  • Francesco Balilla Pratella (1880–1955) 380
  • Steve Reich (1936–) 385
  • Selected Works 390
  • Terry Riley (1935–) 391
  • Nikolay Roslavets (1881–1944) 398
  • Dane Rudhyar (1895–1985) 404
  • Selected Works 407
  • Carl Ruggles (1876–1971) 409
  • Selected Works 414
  • Luigi Russolo (1885–1947) 415
  • Mordecai Sandberg (1897–1973) 420
  • Erik Satie (1866–1925) 425
  • Pierre Schaeffer (1910–1995) and Pierre Henry (1927–) 432
  • R.Murray Schafer (1933–) 446
  • Alfred Schnittke (1934–1998) 455
  • Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951) 463
  • Dmitry Shostakovich (1906–1975) 470
  • Bibliography 479
  • Aleksandr Skryabin (1871–1915) 480
  • Selected Works 486
  • Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji (1892–1988) 487
  • Selected Works 491
  • Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928–) 493
  • Selected Works 498
  • Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) 500
  • TÔru Takemitsu (1930–1996) 508
  • Vladimir Ussachevsky (1911–1990) 525
  • Edgard VarÈse (1883–1965) 530
  • Wladimir Vogel (1896–1984) 537
  • Ivan Vyshnegradsky (1893–1979) 544
  • Anton Webern (1883–1945) 548
  • Selected Works 552
  • Kurt Weill (1900–1950) 554
  • Christian Wolff (1934–) 561
  • Selected Works (published by C.F.Peters Corp. Unless Specified) 566
  • Stefan Wolpe (1902–1972) 569
  • Selected Works 577
  • Iannis Xenakis (1922–2001) 581
  • Selected Works (all Works Published by Editions Salabert, Paris, Unless Otherwise Stated) 584
  • Isang Yun (1917–1995) 586
  • Frank Zappa (1940–1993) 593
  • Bibliography 598
  • Bernd Zimmermann (1918–1970) 599
  • Bibliography 606
  • Index 607
  • About the Editor and Contributors 649
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