Personalities | György Ligeti | Modern Era | Opera
An Eastern European exile whose family was executed by the Nazis during the Second World War, Ligeti was a composer with a neo-Dadaist penchant for the absurd, and a musical style that varied wildly from one piece to another as each work became a world unto itself.
While in Germany, Ligeti acquainted himself with the avant-garde movement, immersed himself in electronic music and composed two short music theatre works – Aventures (‘Adventures’, 1962) and Nouvelles Aventures (‘New Adventures’, 1965) – before relocating to Vienna and becoming an Austrian citizen in 1967. Ligeti’s sole opera, Le Grand Macabre (‘The Grand Macabre’, 1976), features a chaotic score as well as a libretto by himself and Michael Meschke that reflect the hedonistic excesses of the work’s pre-apocalypse characters. Ligeti’s use of musical illusion, borrowing themes or interludes from the works of other composers, can be compared to the lifting of material in the world of pop art.
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