Cover image for György Ligeti : music of the imagination
György Ligeti : music of the imagination
Steinitz, Richard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Northeastern University Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
xvii, 429 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London: Faber and Faber, 2003.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.L645 S84 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



One of the world's best known living composers, György Sándor Ligeti is widely acknowledged as the most influential and admired creative figure of the late twentieth century. His brilliantly conceived and challenging pieces, searingly intense at times and full of humor and irony at others, include the orchestral Apparitions and Atmosphères, piano études, the opera Le Grand Macabre, and the unaccompanied choral work Lux aeterna, which Stanly Kubrick actually pirated for the film soundtrack of 2001: A Space Odyssey.In this book, Richard Steinitz fuses biographical, stylistic, and technical analysis to examine thoroughly the evolution of Ligeti's innovative music. Drawing extensively on his own private conversations with the composer as well as on many published and recorded interviews, Steinitz places Ligeti's extraordinary body of work within the context of his complex personal life.

Author Notes

Richard Steinitz is a composer and Professor of Music at the University of Huddersfield.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Undertaking a biography during the final creative period of a composer's life can be fraught with pitfalls, since the author lacks the perspective of a complete critical overview. As well, with much of the music so very new, the biographer can fall into the trap of focusing more on the works that established the composer and not allowing time to judge the more recent pieces. To his credit, Steinitz (Univ. of Huddersfield, UK) avoids these shortcomings and produces a scholarly book balancing emphasis equally between the varied stages of the composer's output. He covers well-known works from his first mature period to current developments, and early pieces that are more obscure. In clear language, Steinitz integrates poignant biographical information, including Ligeti's Holocaust survival and the postwar artistic climate in Eastern Europe, with details of the composer's technical evolution. Of particular interest is how Steinitz elucidates the manner in which Ligeti pools together his eclectic interests (including Banda-Linda music from Central Africa, fractal mathematics, Latin American music, and Balkan folksongs) over the years in his compositional laboratory to produce an ongoing series of groundbreaking works. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals. J. Rubin University of Minnesota--Duluth

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Introductionp. xv
Part 1 From East to West
1 The Making of the Manp. 3
2 Night and Morning: An East European Apprenticeshipp. 37
3 Catching Upp. 72
4 The Watershed of 1960: International Debutp. 96
Part 2 Fantasy and Technique
5 Distorting Mirrors: Humour and Antilogicp. 117
6 Distance and Enchantmentp. 140
7 A Gestural Kaleidoscopep. 167
8 Spider's Web: The Labyrinth of Melodiesp. 179
9 Dis(c)loc(k)ation and Transformationp. 196
Part 3 The Grand Illusionist
10 Alice in Breughelland: A Grotesque Carnival of Sex and Deathp. 217
11 In the midst of life ...p. 244
12 The Dynamics of Disorderp. 266
13 The Piano Etudesp. 277
14 Curiouser and curiouserp. 315
15 On (Not) Writing Operap. 341
Notesp. 365
Appendix Productions of Le Grand Macabrep. 378
Glossaryp. 381
Chronological list of worksp. 387
Bibliographyp. 393
Discographyp. 405
Indexp. 411