Piano Concerto (Ligeti)

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György Ligeti's Piano Concerto was written from 1985–1988. The work has five movements:

  1. Vivace molto ritmico e preciso – Attacca subito:
  2. Lento e deserto
  3. Vivace cantabile
  4. Allegro risoluto, molto ritmico – Attacca subito:
  5. Presto luminoso: Fluido, costante, sempre molto ritmico

The concerto is a prime example of the composer's exploration of polyrhythms. Ligeti has said that he considers it to be his most complex and technically demanding score.[citation needed] The work is scored for a reduced orchestra with many unusual instruments such as a harmonica, slide whistles, and an ocarina.

The first and fifth movements have some minimalist elements and explore the extreme registers of the piano. The second movement starts slow and mysterious, similar to Béla Bartók's "night music". After a whip crack which marks a climax, the woodwind play a dissonant passage in their highest registers, accompanied by descending chromatic chords from the piano and the xylophone. The movement ends with an almost silent harmonica passage.