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Audio CD, Import, 8 January 2016
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- Product Dimensions : 31.9 x 13.21 x 13 cm; 178.04 Grams
- Manufacturer : WARNER CLASSICS
- Item Model Number : 35224576
- Original Release Date : 2016
- Run time : 5 hours and 17 minutes
- Label : WARNER CLASSICS
- ASIN : B014G6AOAY
- Number of discs : 5
- Customer Reviews:
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This Teldec collection was a project close to György Ligeti’s heart – the pioneering Hungarian composer was actively involved in the recording process up until his death in 2006. The artists had long-standing relationships with Ligeti and his work, both in the studio and in concert: pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Schönberg and Asko Ensembles led by Reinbert de Leeuw. The liner notes, written by Ligeti himself, contain a brilliant and illustrative essay about the genesis and composition of each work. From the massed sonic clouds of the orchestral masterpiece Atmosphères to rarities like Elgar Howarth’s arrangements of excerpts from the opera Le Grand Macabre and Max Bonnay’s accordion transcription of Musica Ricercata, this 5-CD set reveals the iconoclastic genius of Ligeti as well as his sharp musical sense of humour.
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I'll admit I am not a universal enthusiast of Ligeti. Some of his works I find strikingly beautiful and a beguiling mix of seeming simplicity with multi-layered complexity as you grow familiar with the music, but I have to admit some of it leaves me cold. At his best he was a wonderful composer who deserves to be included in the pantheon of great composers and his music was never less than interesting. Many people will deride his music as discordant or just recoil from the concept of modern music (can music written over 50 years ago still be considered "modern"?!!), it's true this is not the sort of tune laden easy listening of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik but neither is it impenetrable and as you listen there are some genuinely arresting and beautiful pieces in this set. My own favourites are the piano concerto, cello concerto and Hamburg concerto, all of which are really wonderful. And of course there is the Requiem and Atmospheres.
I would recommend anyone with an open mind and willingness to listen to something different to buy this set, it is nicely presented and an absolute bargain. The recording quality is excellent throughout. This is a splendid accompaniment to the Sony Ligeti Masterworks box set. Conventional wisdom seems to rate this Teldec/Warner set above the Sony set but I really don't agree and rate both sets as equally impressive. A wonderful set, 5*.
So, when this five CD collection came up in a search, triggered by the anniversary of Kubrick's movie, it was an easy purchase, especially at the price. This set of CDs is quite impressive, with a broad stroke of Ligeti's works over the years, all performed well. The recording quality is good, although I have to wonder what a contemporary set of classical engineers could do with the works. Still, these were engineered by Teldec, which has a superb reputation for quality.
There's all the content from 2001 here, in its full glory, and listening to it always gives me flashbacks to the movie. It's some of the other music that surprised me more, as I knew very little about Ligeti. None of these works are rally "background music"; it you actually focus and listen, you'll find layer upon layer of complexity, or, even more often, simplicity. It's an interesting exercise working through some of these pieces. Some of which are truly brilliant!
After going through the five CDs, I am much better educated as to his style and music, and while most of these pieces won't be on constant play during listening sessions, they are interesting. For anyone curious about Ligeti, this is the best source of music in today's catalogs.
Reviewed in Spain on 30 September 2019