Three Fantasies after Friedrich Hölderlin

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Poem by Friedrich Hölderlin, on which the first fantasy is based

Three Fantasies after Friedrich Hölderlin (German: Drei Phantasien nach Friedrich Hölderlin) is a 1982 collection of pieces for 16 voices by Hungarian composer György Ligeti. It was premiered in Stockholm on September 23, 1983, by the Swedish Radio Choir, under the baton of Eric Ericson, to whom it was dedicated.[1] It was published by Schott Music.


The composition consists of three movements and a typical performance takes approximately 11 minutes. The movement list is as follows:[2]

  1. Hälfte des Lebens (Halfway through Life). Lento
  2. Wenn aus der Ferne (If from a Distance). Andante con tenerezza
  3. Abendphantasie (Evening Reverie). Maestoso – Più mosso, agitato

The piece is a polyphonic four-part work for 16 voices (id est, SSSSAAAATTTTBBBB). Its compositional style is strongly influenced by Ligeti's word-painting techniques from the 60s. Here, lyrics are almost indistinguishable, so the listener is encouraged to listen to the labyrinthic ramifications of the music instead of trying to understand the content of the original poems.[3]

Ligeti commented on this work: "My three fantasies are emotional, 'onomatopoetic', overwrought, 16-voiced pieces (not micropolyphonic!)".[4]


  1. ^ "Drei Phantasien (Three Fantasies)". György Ligeti's website. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ Ligeti, György (1983). "3 Phantasien". Schott Music. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ Ritter, Steven (December 23, 2008). "Ligeti: Lux aeterna; Three Fantasies on Friedrich Hölderlin; Sonata for Solo Viola — Movements 1, 2, 3; Heppener: Im Gestein – Susanne van Els, viola/ Cappella Amsterdam/ MusikFabrik/ Daniel Reuss, conductor – Harmonia Mundi". Audiophile Audition. Retrieved March 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ Brodsky, Seth. György Ligeti – Drei Phantasien nach Friedrich Hölderlin, for 16 voices at AllMusic. Retrieved March 6, 2013.

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