A Fine and Affordable Library of the Works of György Ligeti
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"György Ligeti died in 2006 after a long and productive life as a composer who challenged the creativity of even his most avant-garde colleagues. Teldec produced a magnificent series of CDs, The Ligeti Project, which contain some of the most thrilling performances of the composer's well-known works as well as much of the esoterica: it is big, it is expensive in toto. This 4-disc album, while less inclusive, presents all of the works DGG has recorded and the price is affordable (just over $30) for such a solid survey.
The works include pieces for solo instruments (organ, piano), chamber ensembles from quartets to small chamber orchestras, to the works for chorus, instrumental concerti and for large orchestra. The various ensembles - Ensemble InterContemporain, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, London Sinfonietta, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Choir of North German Radio Hamburg, the Hagen Quartet, Vienna Brass Soloists, LaSalle Quartet and multiple exceptional soloists - are under the direction of such luminaries as Claudio Abbado, David Atherton, and Pierre Boulez.
The collection of works is a compilation of the recordings by one company, and instead of the presentation being chronological in format, it plays as simply a broad sampler. Yes, the famous works are here, but it is the lack of the very early works - such as the magnificent 'Concert Românesc 1951', an absolutely infectious play of folk tunes and quasi-folk tunes sewn together with some of the most brilliant orchestration in the composer's repertoire - works that held the glimmer of the genius just beginning to bloom, that make the collection less than perfect.
For the devotee of Ligeti's genre the Teldec collection is far more complete. But for the music lover looking to expand horizons, this set has superb performances of the more familiar (and not so familiar) moments in the career of György Ligeti. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, June 07
A tribute to Gyorgy Ligeti (1923 -- 2006)
R. Hutchinson | a world ruled by fossil fuels and fossil minds | 12/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"CLEAR OR CLOUDY: COMPLETE RECORDINGS ON DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON is a 4-disc set of Ligeti's music, recorded between 1968 and 1995 for DG, Decca and Philips. The format is a double jewelcase rather than a box. For anyone who has collected the entire Ligeti Edition on Sony and Ligeti Project on Teldec, of course there are no new pieces here. But for Ligeti devotees, this is an essential set if you do not already have all these recordings in their original form.
The first disc includes both String Quartets, No. 1 (1953-4) performed by the Hagen Quartett, and No. 2 (1968), one of Ligeti's masterpieces, performed by the LaSalle Quartet. The Arditti Quartet has recorded the definitive versions of the string quartets, but what makes the CLEAR OR CLOUDY presentation extraordinary is that No. 1 is preceded by the "6 Bagatelles for Wind Quintet" (1953), and No. 2 is preceded by "10 Pieces for Wind Quintet" (1968). The styles of the 1950s works are similar, and so are the styles of the 1960s works, and so overall it makes a great double pairing of chamber music. The second disc includes Claudio Abbado conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in live performances of "Atmospheres" (1961) and "Lontano" (1967) from 1988, interspersed with "Volumina" and "Harmonies" for organ, also from the 1960s, "Lux aeterna," the famed choral work from 1966, featured in Kubrick's 2001, "Ramifications" from 1968-9, performed by Boulez and the Ensemble Intercontemporain, and "Melodien" for orchestra from 1971. Again, this is brilliant programming, and the works, powerful in their own right, are enhanced by the juxtaposition.
The third disc includes the vocal works "Aventures" (1962) and "Nouvelles Aventures" (1962-5), both performed by Boulez and the EI, the "Concerto for Cello & Orchestra," a 1992 recording by Boulez & EI, and two excellent chamber works -- "Chamber Concerto" (1969-70) with Boulez/EI, and "Double Concerto for Flute & Oboe" (1972) with Abbado & the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the latter live in Berlin from 1995. The fourth disc includes music for trumpet and piano, but concludes with two of the great works of Ligeti's late period, the "Concerto for Piano & Orchestra" (1985-88) and the "Concerto for Violin & Orchestra" (1989-93), both with Boulez/EI, and Pierre-Laurent Aimard on piano and Saschko Gawriloff on violin, recorded in 1992 and 1993.
With Ligeti's death in June 2006, we have lost one of the greatest composers of the late 20th century. For anyone who has not heard Ligeti's music, this set would certainly serve as an excellent introduction. Collectors will know whether they need CLEAR OR CLOUDY, but I suspect that most serious Ligeti listeners will find ample reason."
DG versus Teldec in a battle for your Ligeti dollar
dv_forever | Michigan, USA | 08/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Two record companies released two competing collections dedicated to a major 20th century composer who passed away in 2006. Since I already owned the Teldec recordings and having heard some of the stuff contained within this DG set, I had no major interest in making this purchase. However as I was making my way through Borders one day, I noticed they had this huge 50 percent off sale on a lot of records. I took a look and found this fantastic collection for the pathetic amount of $16. That's $4 a disc if you're counting. So I bought the thing and I'm happy I did. Although much of the music overlaps the pieces contained in the Teldec set, this DG collection has some surprises.
The major works herein are the orchestral and concerto recordings. Abbado leads the Vienna Philharmonic in the most famous pure orchestra works while Boulez takes over for the concertos. The surprises come in the form of the chamber music which includes Ligeti's two string quartets. Although they lack the grandeur and structual coherence of Elliot Carter's work in the medium, Ligeti has certainly found his own peculiar voice in this difficult genre.
Overall, if you're thinking of diving into Ligeti's output and you don't know where to start, I would recommend the Teldec 5 CD set. But if you're hardcore, you'll have to pick up the DG recordings as well. Together they will be more Ligeti than most people will ever need."