Gyorgy Ligeti

The Music of Wahyu

Music composed by Gyorgy Ligeti: – Etudes pour piano premier livre (1985) – Etudes pour piano deuxieme livre (1988,1994) – Etudes pour piano extrait du Troisieme livre (1995) – Musica ricercata for piano

Sen Hea Ha’s collaboration with Ligeti marks both a cultural as well as spiritual dialogue for both artists. For Sen Hea, possessing little knowledge of classical music, Ligeti’s music opens for her a new world to explore and create without any bias. For her, Ligeti’s music is very much “shamanistic” – it connects her bodily energy and carries her to her own deep traditional world, pushing her to think of an ancient Korea. Simultaneously, Ligeti’s music allows Sen Hea to access the European world by understanding his background and the historical, social, political and cultural tensions which influences his composition.
Combining the two inspirations, Sen Hea interprets the complex pieces with her own movement and understanding. She creates motions through bodily imageries on stage and thus creates her own journey as an Eastern woman.

For the Wahyu production, Sen Hea Ha will use Gyorgy Ligeti’s “Etudes for piano” with a live pianist on stage.

Romanian composer Gyorgy Ligeti was born in Tirnaveni, in 1923. He studied with Kadosa, Farkas, Veress and Kodaly at the Budapest Academy where he began teaching in 1950. During this period he followed the prevailing Kodaly- Bartok style in his works while also writing more adventurous pieces (e.g. the First Quartet, 1954) that had to remain unpublished.

In 1956, Ligeti left Hungary for Vienna and worked one year at the electronic music studio in Cologne (1957). In 1961 he came to international prominence with Atmospheres, working with slowly changing orchestral clusters. He developed the ‘cloud’ style in his Requiem (1965) and Lontano for orchestra (1967), while writing an absurdist diptych for vocal soloists and ensemble: Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures (both in 1966). His success as a composer led to teaching appointments in Stockholm (1961-71), Stanford (1972) and Hamburg (since 1973).

Ligeti’s interest in immobile drifts and mechanical processes can be observed in his Second Quartet (1968) and Chamber Concerto (1970), while the orchestral Melodien (1971) introduce a tangle of melodies. The combination of these characteristic elements culminated in his surreal opera Le grand macabre (1978). Other latter works include Monument, Bewegung for two pianos (1976), two pieces for harpsichord (1978), two Hungarian studies for chorus (1983) and a book of piano studies (1985).