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Ligeti - String Quartet № 2 [Audio + Score]






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Название :  Ligeti - String Quartet № 2 [Audio + Score]
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Дата публикации :   2018-06-23
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György Ligeti [1923 - 2006] - String Quartet № 2 [1968]

I. Allegro nervoso [0:03]
II. Sostenuto, molto calmo [4:46]
III. Come un meccanismo di precisione [9:17]
IV. Presto furioso, brutale, tumultuoso [12:25]
V. Allegro con delicatezza [14:28]

"Near the very end of György Ligeti's Second String Quartet, there's an uncanny moment -- far too private to be the icon it should be -- where the work's previous 20 minutes suddenly seem to vanish, and the spirit reveals itself. Four and a half movements of the most myriad variance have passed; all manner of texture and timbre, acrobatics, and still scenes have been put forth; and after a collective "whisper" cadenza of extreme, suppressed virtuosity, comes this sad, hobbled musical sigh, rolling in and out like a Viennese fin de siècle tumbleweed. The moment, marked by such Sphinx-like tenderness, casts an equivocal light on all the Quartet's past mechanics, as if it were flowing silently underneath them like a grieving ghost, and only at this very instant allowed itself a fleeting incarnation. The whole incident happens in the wink of an ear, and soon enough this elusive work ushers itself out with not so much as a clipped breath.

Upon hearing this episode, one might interpret Ligeti's Second Quartet as a strange set of transformations on something inexpressible in its original form. Perhaps it's a record of strategies for a nonexistent game; or an array of snapshots of an imaginary and highly mobile object; or possibly it's a collection of chemical changes and altered states in the life of a periodic element yet to be discovered (Ligetium 90?). Whatever the case, the sense looms that a secret moves with uneasy persistence through this music, and that its extraordinary differentiation is a kind of expert evasion of a simple but unapproachable truth -- perhaps that sad, hobbled sigh which pokes in at the end. But for this moment, "quality" is replaced by "quantity": the object (melancholy, blue-ness, nostalgia) becomes the flow of numbers and forces (fast-faster, bright-dark, mechanized-organic). Indeed, one could argue that, save for this now-belabored "sigh" incident near the work's end, this Quartet is the anti-object. Ligeti himself confessed a desire to create a music in which "there is no longer any motivic writing...no contours, only sound textures, which are sometimes frayed and almost fluid...and at other times grainy and machine-like." The composer continued "how, I asked myself, can color replace contours, how can contrasting volumes and weights create form?"

This quest -- to eradicate the hard bit, to liquidate material into chemistry-at-work -- arguably engendered some of Ligeti's greatest music; the Second Quartet has gone down as a classic of twentieth century chamber music, an anthem to its time. But to ask the question "Why liquidate?" is a different breed of exploration, open only to hypothesis. If it's not too vulgar to venture, perhaps the making of a purely "texturizing" music was a kind of era-therapy for the European mind, a deliberate blanching of recent ruins, a "melting of solids into air." A perfect inversion of Emily Dickinson's famous image -- "After great pain, a formal feeling comes -- The nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs..." Here the nerves rise from their graves into ether; here great pain casts formality into a formula far more fluent."
( allmusic composition ...)

Arditti Quartet
David Alberman, Irvine Arditti; Violin
Garth Knox, Viola
Rohan de Saram, Cello

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