Hungarian composer György Ligeti (1923-2006) is probably best known for his opera Le Grande Macabre (1977) which received its Australian première at the 2010 Adelaide Festival. That said, millions have heard excerpts from his orchestral work Atmosphères (1961) and the Requiem (1965) thanks to their use in Stanley Kubrick’s landmark film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The dense clusters of micropolyphony heard in these excerpts typify much of Ligeti’s music of the 1950s and 1960s. Ligeti crossed the Iron Curtain in 1956 (hidden in a mail train) to take advantage of the freer cultural policies of the West, settling first in Vienna and later in Hamburg. His career reached a high point with the première of Le Grande Macabre in Stockholm in 1978. Works from the last decades of his life include concertos for cello, piano and horn and a large series of Études for solo piano, considered to be among the most dazzling piano music of the second half of the 20thcentury.
© Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra