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Sad news: the composer Gyorgy Ligeti is dead. Born in 1923, to Hungarian Jewish parents, in the predominantly ethnic Hungarian part of Romania's Transylvania region, his father and brother both died in concentration camps in World War II. Ligeti fled to Austria in 1956 after the Hungarian uprising and, in 1967, became an Austrian citizen. Along with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis and Pierre Boulez, Ligeti helped revolutionise postwar music. An excerpt from his 1966 work Lux Aeterna was used on the bestselling soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's Space Odyssey. Kubrick returned to Ligeti in 1999 using the composer's Musica Ricercata II as the theme for Eyes Wide Shut.

Readers Comments

  1. This is a heavy moment indeed. Ligeti wrote some of the most powerful
    music of the last fifty years, as well as nearly all the funniest.
    The '2001' soundtrack includes parts of his Requiem and his orchestral
    piece 'Atmospheres', as well as 'Lux aeterna', all slow-moving music,
    eerie and beautiful.

    Newcomers to his music might well start with 'Atmospheres' as conducted by Jonathan Nott or 'Melodies' with Reinbert de Leeuw conducting, both on Teldec.

    For a bit more information see my obit in the N.Y. Times, which at
    least has the facts right. Adieu to a great man.

  2. By coincidence, I picked out my CD of the re-release of the 2001 soundtrack on June 12th to accompany me on a trip. Ligeti produced some of the most profound and haunting music of the past 100 years.

  3. I should have known I was tempting providence with that boast about 'the facts'. The Horn Trio comes from 1982, not 1980 as I stated in my obit.

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