Klett-Cotta-Verlag Psychology

Der idiosynkratische »Neo-Neoklassizismus« des späten Ligeti im 2. Satz seines Violinkonzerts

April 2017, 21. Jahrgang, Heft 82, pp 51-61

The Idiosyncratic ›Neo-Neoclassicism‹ of Late Ligeti in the Second Movement of His Violin Concerto – As individual and ›forward-thinking‹ as György Ligeti’s compositional stance was, there are tendencies in some of his late works that, in aesthetic terms, exhibit uncanny parallels with the (neo-)classicist late style of Debussy – in particular, a strange tension between an idiosyncrasy forging ahead in visionary fashion and a simultaneous reliance on established stylistic elements from the past. The title of the second movement of his Violin Concerto – ›Aria, Hoquetus, Choral‹ – points to the deliberate application of compositional and formal principles from earlier periods. At first glance, however, it is by no means clear how far into the musical ›underground‹ the effects of these principles actually extend: the plain, ›pseudo-modal‹ sound world of the theme is combined with the intellectual rigour of medieval cantus firmus technique. Tonal reminiscences collide with the seemingly chaotic polyphony of independent sonic levels, and ›raw‹ archaisms like drones and unadjusted natural intervals play a decisive part. The element of subversion and distortion is present at all times, whether at the rhythmic level, in the chromatic ›falsification‹ of the theme, or also the use of ›impure‹ foreign bodies like ocarinas and lotus flutes. The result is a ›patchwork‹ that is by no means postmodern, but rather forms a coherent world of musical expression.

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