György Ligeti: Clear or Cloudy

György Ligeti: Clear or Cloudy

CD(Special Edition)

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Deutsche Grammophon's budget-priced, four-CD collection of all the works by György Ligeti in its catalog has many things to commend it, beginning with the title. Clear or Cloudy is a profoundly astute description of the composer's career, encompassing both the great sound clouds of his micropolyphonic work of the 1960s, such as "Atmosphères," "Volumina," "Lux aeterna," and "Lontano," and the crystalline clarity of his early years, demonstrated in "Six Bagatelles for wind quintet" and his first "String Quartet," as well as in his "Etudes pour piano" and "Piano Concerto" from his final period. The performances here are extraordinary, and some are legendary. In "Volumina," Gerd Zacher wrings an incredible variety of sonic possibilities from the organ and shapes them into a chilling aural experience. "Aventures" and "Nouvelles Aventures," with singers Jane Manning, Mary Thomas, and William Pearson and the Ensemble InterContemporain, led by Pierre Boulez, are especially assured, and lead the listener on a frightening, comic, cryptic emotional roller coaster ride. The radiant performances of "Atmosphères" and "Lontano" by Claudio Abbado and the Vienna Philharmonic make the most of the scores' glistening mysteries. If this were intended as a survey of Ligeti's career, one could quibble over the omissions -- the "Requiem"; the "Trio for horn, violin, and piano"; and the fact that there are only two of the piano etudes -- but given the fact that it is a reissue of everything Deutsche Grammophon happened to have in its archive, it is a remarkably comprehensive and representative collection that offers a broad and detailed view of the composer's output. It's an ideal introduction to Ligeti for anyone coming to his remarkable work for the first time, and it is also expansive and diverse enough to interest those who are already fans. The set contains over five hours of music, and the program booklet includes an insightful essay by Paul Griffiths. Surprisingly, for a collection coming from so many recorded sources, the sound is consistently excellent, with the appropriate ambience and presence for the various works.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/14/2006
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028947764434
catalogNumber: 000762302
Rank: 87534


  1. Sonata for cello
  2. Bagatelles (6) for wind quintet
  3. String Quartet No. 1 ("Métamorphoses nocturnes")
  4. Pieces (10) for wind quintet
  5. String Quartet No. 2
  6. Atmosphères, for large orchestra
  7. Volumina, for organ
  8. Lux aeterna, for 16 unaccompanied voices
  9. Study No. 1 "Harmonies", for organ
  10. Lontano, for orchestra
  11. Ramifications, for 12 strings (or string orchestra)
  12. Melodien, for orchestra (or chamber orchestra)
  13. Aventures, for 3 voices & 7 instruments
  14. Aventures & Nouvelles aventures, stage version of vocal works
  15. Cello Concerto
  16. Chamber Concerto, for 13 instruments
  17. Mysteries of the Macabre, for soprano & ensemble, or trumpet & piano/ensemble (arr. from "Le Grand Macabre" by E.Howarth)
  18. Double Concerto, for flute, oboe & orchestra
  19. Die große Schildkröten-Fanfare vom Südchinesischen Meer (The Big Turtle-Fanfare from the South China Sea), for trumpet & orchestra
  20. Pieces (3) for 2 pianos: Monument, Selbstporträt, & Bewegung
  21. Etudes (6) for piano, Book 1: Etude 2: Cordes à vide. Andantino con moto, molto
  22. Etudes (6) for piano, Book 1: Etude 4: Fanfares. Vivacissimo molto ritmico. Whol
  23. Piano Concerto
  24. Violin Concerto

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György Ligeti: Clear or Cloudy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
György Ligeti: Clear or Cloudy ~ William Pearson Here is your review the way it will appear: György Ligeti died in 1906 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