Not Ready for Hungary
I always regret the things I post, never regret those I don't. So I read War & War and I said, “America is ready for War & War!” and Pica said, “No it isn’t,” and she’s probably right.
My favorite works by György Ligeti (1923-2006):
Trio for Violin, Horn & Piano, Sonata for Solo Viola
Adaptations for Barrel Organ
I don’t know the orchestral works on Teldec’s Ligeti Project that Alex Ross singles out, so I can’t say. To hear a new Ligeti piece is always a surprise; where American composers like Feldman or Reich were known for finding a trademark sound and sticking to it, Ligeti never stopped moving. It’s an admirable strategy, even if it has the side effect of producing a lot of music that I never got into. The full-length opera The Grand Macabre tries way too hard to shock; the phoneme sequences making up “Aventures” and “Nouvelles Aventures” mystify me; the tone clusters in the Bagatelles for Wind Quintet make my head want to explode. The compensatory gain is that when beauty does appear, it is always surprising and novel beauty. I think that is the right thing to aim for.