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LIGETI, G.: String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 / Andante and Allegretto (Parker Quartet)

Composer(s):Ligeti, Gyorgy
Artist(s) Parker Quartet, Ensemble
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber Music
Catalogue 8.570781
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
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György Ligeti’s choral and orchestral music hit the mainstream when it was featured in the soundtrack of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but his equally remarkable chamber works remain less well known. While indebted to his compatriot Bartók for its folk-inflected passages, Ligeti’s First Quartet, subtitled Métamorphoses nocturnes, is nonetheless a work of striking originality. The Second Quartet, composed around fifteen years later, abounds in contrasts between glacial stillness and manic activity, mechanistic pizzicatos and gentle oscillations. His early Andante and Allegro is richly expressive and easily accessible.


Musical Metamorphosis
Review By DB115673,March 2011

Ligeti only wrote two string quartets in his lifetime (regrettably), but both are superb examples of the form, in which the composer’s unique synthesis of atonal and lyrical elements are on full and glorious display.

The First String Quartet was written in 1953-54, when Ligeti’s musical language was still evolving, and is unsurprisingly more traditional in form. Yet even at this early stage, his work betrayed his experimental nature. The melodic line, while highly accessible, proceeds in nervous, jagged fashion, engaging the listener emotionally while keeping him or her off balance intellectually. This characteristic duality would become more pronounced as Ligeti’s art matured.

The four movements alternate between moments of almost frenzied atonality with more....

Review By Aron Sayed,,April 2010


Review By Arnold Whittall, Gramophone,April 2010

A new quartet launches into Ligeti—and the results are impressive

Here is another relatively new quartet plunging into the recording fray with “high end” repertory and reaping the rewards of their apparent fearlessness. Ligeti’s two numbered quartets require feats of individual virtuosity to be combined with the kind of effortless coordination that sounds utterly spontaneous. The slightest lapse creates chaos, and perhaps the greatest compliment one can pay the Parker Quartet is that, whatever false starts and shambolic episodes occurred during rehearsals, the recordings have the conviction and character of single takes: these performances might just as well be “live”.

Review By Dirk Wieschollek, Fono Forum,March 2010

8.570781_Fono Forum_032010_gr.pdf
Review By Pierre Rigaudière, Diapason,March 2010

Review By Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press,January 2010

The String Quartet No. 1 (1953–54) starts where Bartók leaves off, offering souped-up layers of tangy modalities, asymmetric rhythms, fierce attacks and constantly shifting sonic textures. In the more radical Second Quartet (1968), traditional melody, harmony and meter are replaced by a bewitching sound world of distilled textures, densities, colors, irregular pulse and acoustic instruments that seemingly pine to sound electronic.

The Andante and Allegretto (1950) is an early work whose tight construction, songful opening and folkish finale remind you how grounded Ligeti was in the tradition.



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