There was a nice live recording of Gyorgy Ligeti's 'Atmospheres' on NPR the other night. It's just about impossible to sell live because of the extreme dynamic range.

One listener's cough will wreck a good three seconds of one of the complex clusters of sound played at quadruple-piano, and there were more than one such hacks in the performance. Still, it was kind of nice to hear live, rather than in the well-known Vienna Philharmonic recording employed in 2001: A Space Oddysey.

It got me thinking about the austere beauty of some of the timbres Ligeti produced in this and other pieces, many of them associated with 2001 and other films by Stanley Kubrick.

Interestingly enough, 'Atmospheres' and some of Ligeti's other music from that period seem to evoke an interest in timbral change akin to the experimental electronic music of the mid-1950's. Ligeti himself did work in this vein at the same Cologne studios that nurtured Karlheinz Stockhausen, of whom I've previously posted. One such piece, Artikulation, has found a fascinating video analog shown above, a sort of hybrid 'art/score' in which shapes represent timbral changes. Enjoy!

(The images are from Wikipedia, the sounds are from Romania by way of Germany)


Anonymous said...

You have very eclectic interests. Are you a Kubrick fan? And if so, what did you think of "Eyes Wide Shut"?


Peter said...

If you enjoy Ligeti, I suggest you also check out the score to Steven Soderbergh's re-make of Solaris in 2002. The composer, Cliff Martinez, used a Ligeti-inspired style on several of the cues. Ligeti is one of my favorite of the 20th century composers and the Solaris album is one of my favorite soundtracks of all time.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

what did you think of "Eyes Wide Shut"?

I'm ambivalent, Beelz. If slasher movies are the pornography of violence, then that movie is a pornography of dehumanization. Like a lot of Kubrick movies, it has these really telling moments of icy observation. I'm impressed by them, but they also appall me.