Shortlisted for the RPS Music Award 2012 for Creative Communication.
György Ligeti: Of Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds offers a new assessment of a composer whose constant exploration of new sound worlds - based on the musics of different cultures and ages - contributed in crucial ways to making him one of the most important musical voices of the last 50 years. The book combines texts by former students, colleagues and friends, who reflect on different and so far unknown aspects of Ligeti's persona, with new musicological interpretations of his style and several of his main works. Among the contributors are some of the most eminent Ligeti scholars, including Richard Steinitz and Paul Griffiths. Louise Duchesneau, Ligeti's assistant of over 20 years, acts not only as contributor but also as co-editor of the volume.
Many of the musicological chapters are based on studies of Ligeti's sketches, which are now housed by the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basle and were made available for research only recently. Two close collaborators representing disciplines which deeply interested Ligeti - Heinz-Otto Peitgen (a mathematician who introduced Ligeti to fractal geometry, which influenced many if his works since 1985) and Simha Arom (an ethnomusicologist who acquainted Ligeti with the complex rhythmic patters of the music of Sub-saharan Africa) - also reflect on the composer for the very first time in writing. The combination of new insights into Ligeti by people who knew him with new analytical approaches will make this a core publication not only for Ligeti scholars, but also for readers interested in music of the second half of the twentieth century and in Hungarian culture.
WOLFGANG MARX is Lecturer in Music, University College Dublin. LOUISE DUCHESNEAU was Ligeti's assistant for 20 years Contributors: SIMHA AROM, JONATHAN W. BERNARD, CIARÁN CRILLY, LOUISE DUCHESNEAU, BENJAMIN DWYER, TIBORC FAZEKAS, PAUL GRIFFITHS, ILDIKÓ MÁNDI-FAZEKAS, WOLFGANG MARX, HEINZ-OTTO PEITGEN, FRIEDEMANN SALLIS, WOLFGANG-ANDREAS SCHULTZ, MANFRED STAHNKE, RICHARD STEINITZ
Spiced with thoughtful, at times even poetic, observations ... An important bonus of the book is the numerous photographs by Ines Gellrich, some of which capture Ligeti's face in his most private moments. One must also praise the care of the editors, since the orthography of the numerous Hungarian terms is as good as flawless. FONTES ARTIS MUSICAE, December 2013
A fine-grained, nuanced portrait of Ligeti and his music that will continue to enrich scholarly and popular interest. JOURNAL OF MUSICOLOGICAL RESEARCH
[U]nverzichtbar[e] Lektüre für denjenigen, der sich intensiver mit György Ligeti und seiner Musik befassen möchte. DIE TONKUNST
[W]ill surely set a new standard for scholarly work on Ligeti for years to come. The wealth of information and the breadth of historical and theoretical approaches makes this an indispensable volume for anyone interested in this great composer and his music. MLA NOTES
Given the closeness between the authors and Ligeti, reading the musical descriptions gives much knowledge about Ligeti the human, and about how he was as a teacher, student, or friend. [...] This book is a must to those who want to get to know more closely one of the most important composers of our time more closely. KLASSISK MUSIKKMAGASIN
This book piles up its contrasting and multi-toned commentaries, with continuity and connectedness at a premium. [...] a handsomely produced volume. MUSICAL TIMES
[E]ditorial standards are of the highest [...] the present book can be cordially recommended, fulfilling as it does the remit of a broad-based symposium while making for an absorbing read [...] what emerges from these pages is the extent to which Ligeti has remained on the forefront of European musical thinking. GRAMOPHONE
György Ligeti is already seen as one of the major post-war composers. Of Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds
is [...] lavishly produced and illustrated [...] will appeal to the general reader. INTERNATIONAL PIANOOf Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds
is fantastically wide-ranging and yet relevant for even the lay reader. The essays in this collection - and the rich accompanying photographs, illustrations, sketches and scores - provide an excellent introduction to a formidable [...] composer. THE PRAGUE POST