Talk:György Ligeti

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"various pieces which feature prominently in the Stanley Kubrick films 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut"

I think that Ligeti works only appeared in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In what tracks did it appeared in The Shinning or Eyes Wide Shut?? JoaoTrindade 21:52, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

The obsessive piano motive in Eyes Wide Shut is from Musica Ricercata; The Shining uses Lontano. 10:21, 19 October 2006 (UTC)


Can we please get a better picture of Ligeti?

Agreed, I would suggest [1] maybe?

That one up there right now is horrible! Ligeti was a truly great composer, the least we can do to honor his memory by putting up a flattering picture of the poor guy. I like the pic suggested above, will try and put it up...K. Lastochka 17:53, 18 September 2006 (UTC) Oh never mind, I can't figure out how to change it...can a more seasoned Wikipedian do this? K. Lastochka

i found this cd cover, was wondering if we should use this. It DOES contain the Hamburg concerto which was Ligeti's last work so perhaps it could be used someone on the page but not as the main picture? Kenkoo1987 09:24, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps we could use this one — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:24, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

I like this one I think that we should put a colour image, to emphasize the fact that he was a composer of our times, late XX century and beginning of XXI. ~~aleazk~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

Electronic works[edit]

Ligeti produced three electronic works. "Artikulation" and "Glissandi" were recorded and released on Wergo. Ligeti later suppressed "Glissandi" as juvenalia. The third electronic piece was planned out but either never realized or never released. Crculver 21:12, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

In fact the third piece, usually known as 'Pièce électronique no.3', but originally titled 'Atmosphères' (it's not really connected to the later orchestral piece of the same name), was realized in 1996 by Kees Tazelaar, Johan van Kreij and Paul Berg. It was released by the Institute of Sonology on BV-Haast records in 2001. TimR-J 16:18, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Place names[edit]

"Ligeti was born in Dicsöszentmárton (now Târnăveni) and received his initial musical training in the conservatory at Kolozsvár (now Cluj-Napoca), both in Transylvania, Romania."

Ligeti was born AFTER 1918. So, he was born in Târnăveni and studied in Cluj, both already in Romania at that time. 08:45, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

  • According to the article Târnăveni, the name Târnăveni was not granted to the town until 1941. Do you have a source indicating otherwise? Cluj seems OK though. Also, please use the edit summary when making anon edits, at least to direct people to your justification on the talk page - your edits look like vandalism. You should also be aware that there is a rule against reverting edits more than three times a day, see WP:3RR for more information. Regards, 09:03, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Place names[edit]

Right, the name Tarnaveni was officially granted on May 3, 1941. Sorry and thank you for the good advice. 13:57, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

The city of Târnăveni name was Diciosânmartin in 1923 when Ligeti was born because was already a Romanian city form 1918. --Olario 17:12, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

But it was still a mainly Hungarian city in the 1920s. All biographies of Ligeti stress this. The Hungarian name can thus continue to be used, although the Romanian name should of course be mentioned alongside. CRCulver 00:07, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

That's fair enough. I think the current form of the article is OK. Tankard 11:11, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I've just checked the two authoritative English-language biographies of Ligeti today. Both use "Dicsöszentmárton" when talking about his youth, mentioning only in passing that it is now called Tarnaveni. In fact, they don't even mention the Romanian name that existed during the 1920s. There is a reason for this. Using the Hungarian name conjures for the reader the sociolinguistic and cultural milieu that Ligeti grew up in. Since Wikipedia is based on fidelity to already-existing scholarly materials, we used use what they have written. I have reverted the article accordingly. CRCulver 20:46, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

They may use "Dicsöszentmárton", but I think the real Hungarian name is Dicsőszentmárton, written with a double acute accent instead of a diaresis (which indicates that the vowel is long [øː]). --Adolar von Csobánka (Talk) 03:32, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Baffling experience[edit]

"Ligeti recalls that his first exposure to the Romanian language came one day while listening to a conversation among the Romanian-speaking town police, a baffling experience for the young boy. After he left, he was not to return to the town of his birth until the 1990s." Frankly I do not understand the meaning of this paragraph and its significance in the context of this article. I suggest it is either expanded (with the appropriate citations) or removed completely. Mentatus 08:55, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

This detail is mentioned in one of the Ligeti biographies (either the one by Toop or Steinetz) and in the booklet for one of the The Ligeti Project CDs. It's meant to give a context for the sociocultural milieu in which Ligeti grew up. I am travelling at the moment (and am less than a kilometer from the conservatory Ligeti studied at) and cannot give a citation at the moment, but in a couple of weeks I'll have access again to my references. CRCulver 14:28, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Hi, CRCulver, would you please add more details regarding the Ligeti's sociocultural milieu in which he grew up? It sounds interesting. Mentatus 14:40, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Diacritics in sorting key[edit]

The sorting key should not have diacritics because Wikipedia's category system sorts using the ascii value, so the diacritics are put *after* the regular letters. So, the order would be a, d, g, o, z, ö ... bogdan 18:50, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Ligeti and the Holocaust[edit]

According to his interview for the BBC, Ligeti was forced to labor by the Hungarian authorities (he lived then in Kolozsvár/Cluj, which was under Hungarian occupation from 1940 till 1944). His brother was sent to a concentration camp.

"Let's move forward to this dreadful, appalling period of the wartime. You and your family ended up in concentration camp; your father and brother were murdered, your mother survived. You escaped from labour camp. How much is that a time and a period that you think about constantly?

All the time, I think. I cannot accept that my brother was killed. He was five years younger than me. He lived exactly 17 years. I saw him last time, when he was 16, then I was in the Hungarian army in labour service which was very, very difficult, but not as difficult as concentration camp. So, by chance I survived. The hate against the Hitler regime and the Hungarian regime which was allied with Hitler is... I cannot forget it and it never diminished. Emotions, with time which is going on, these emotions of hate and disgust become stronger.

So the idea of forgiveness and reconciliation with that regime and those years is impossible?

Impossible. I think it will only happen that people who survived this horrible time of the early '40's will die, me too, and then there'll be nobody there with the emotions of hate. Or we don't know the future. Think of Africa today, the Tutsi/Hutu murders was very similar." (See John Tusa's Interview with Gyorgy Ligeti on BBC, 1999) Mentatus 23:53, 27 July 2006 (UTC)


I added the infobox because I feel it helps consolidate the information, and because I think it makes the page more aesthetically pleasing. Any thoughts? S.dedalus 20:22, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi. We now have a policy not to use these boxes for composers (See Composers Project 6.1 amd Opera Project 16). They were really designed for another purpose - so if it's OK with you I am going to take it down - but of course keep the picture. Regards. --Kleinzach 05:23, 1 May 2007 (UTC)


The page for Le Grand Macabre describes it as being Ligeti's only opera, yet this page lists Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures under the Opera heading. I'm not changing it because I wouldn't know, but it seems to me that Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures would belong under Vocal/Choral. Funkeboy 22:49, 15 June 2007 (UTC)


In year 2000 Ligeti was given the Finnish award 'Sibelius Prize' by the Wihuri Foundation. It was featured in the Finnish headline news back then. This prize is in the league of 100 000 euros, not given every year, and past recipients include such names as Sibelius (duh), Skostakovich, Stravinski and Penderecki. Shouldn't this kind of award be mentioned on the list? Matti Nuortio, Oulu, Finland (talk) 14:11, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Done.--Atavi (talk) 15:34, 18 November 2007 (UTC)


I recall that Ligeti said in the Stanley Kubrick documentary that his discordant pieces were an attempt to stab at Stalin's heart due to his anger with what Stalinism had done to Hungary. Can someone please find the quotation and add it to the article with a proper cite? --Dragon695 (talk) 20:07, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Notable student(s)?[edit]

Do we truly feel it is necessary to have a section for one notable student? Granted that other names might be added---indeed, there have been others in the past, but usually redlinks or unreferenced names---but would this not be better dealt with in a section on his influence and legacy? Rather than a simple list, which is not terribly informative? ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 16:08, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Lawsuit over Aventures in "2001"?[edit]

In one or two books about Stanley Kubrick, director of "2001: a space odyssey," there are vague references to Ligeti successfully suing for having his music "distorted." The version of "Aventures" used in the film is heavily edited and modified. I know of no details of the lawsuit and it's ironic given the incredible exposure Ligeti received via the film. (talk) 19:04, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

According to Steinitz, Ligeti said "I never sued them"; MGM eventually paid $3,500, which Ligeti called "a despicable amount". Rostz (talk) 16:35, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Composer project review[edit]

I've reviewed this article as part of the Composers project review of its B-class articles. This article is a weak B -- it is almost entirely unsourced, contains relatively few personal details (or explanation as to why such are lacking) and it really needs more critical and popular appreciation. My full review is on the comments page; questions and comments should be left here or on my talk page. Magic♪piano 15:21, 22 January 2009 (UTC)


Ligeti did propose in April 1972 that Harry Partch be invited to the Berliner Festwochen in 1973, "describing Partch's music-theatrical work at a meeting of the Berlin Academy of the Arts music section". Beal, Amy C. (2006). New music, new allies, p.179. ISBN 0520247558. Hyacinth (talk) 07:16, 13 August 2009 (UTC)


Is there a way we can use headings to better organize the Music section? As it stands, it was not immediately obvious to me that it was in chronological order and represented his musical development. It just seemed like a catalogue of important works. For the headings, I was thinking:

  • "Early works"
  • "Sound mass" (either that or "Micropolyphony")
  • "Late works"

Are there any other suggestions? I am not familiar enough with his entire catalogue to know if there are other important periods that I missed. The Biography could also use some headings I think. Squandermania (talk) 20:07, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

The New Grove article by Paul Griffiths organizes Ligeti's works into three phases titled:
  • Years in Hungary
  • From 1956 to ‘Le Grand Macabre’
  • After ‘Le Grand Macabre’
This avoids identifying the "middle period" works with either "sound mass" or "micropolyphony", which are two related but distinct concepts and do not apply particularly well to many of the later "middle period" works, such as the Second String Quartet (1968) or the Chamber Concerto (1969–70). On the other hand, it does perhaps put undue emphasis on Le Grand Macabre, even if this opera's importance in Ligeti's output is increasingly becoming recognized.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:06, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
Ok, those headings sound better than mine. I don't know much about Le Grand Macabre so I can't speak to its importance (and obviously Griffiths knows better than me). Right now the music section does not even mention Le Grand Macabre so that would have to be added along with those headings. Any one else have suggestions?
On a related note, I think the beginning of the music section should mention some sort of general characteristics about his music. The two things I keep reading about him is that he was never loyal to one particular school of music (like Stravinsky, he jumped around) and that his music could be quite funny. What am I missing? Maybe some technical characteristics? –Squandermania (talk) 23:26, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
I hadn't noticed that Le Grand Macabre isn't even mentioned in the text! (It does of course appear in the work list.) At least the text doesn't make the mistake of quoting the once widespread opinion that Ligeti suffered from self-doubt and writer's block during the mid-1970s—a view encouraged by the sparseness of instrumental compositions from the period when he was writing the opera! Since there is already a Wikipedia article on the Le Grand Macabre, it shouldn't be too difficult to add a sentence or two about it in the present article.
Before getting too carried away with the "never loyal to one particular school of music" business, it would be well to reflect on (1) what composer of stature ever was "loyal" in this way (second- and third-rate composers often are, of course), and (2) the extent to which this "widespread view" is a product of Ligeti's own propaganda. In this last regard, I recommend reading Charles Wilson's article "György Ligeti and the Rhetoric of Autonomy" in Twentieth-Century Music 1, no. 1 (2004): 5–28, and Jennifer Joy Iverson's 2009 University of Texas Ph.D thesis, "Historical Memory and György Ligeti’s Sound-Mass Music 1958-1968", neither of which is mentioned in the references here, but may be found in the list of "Further reading" in the article on Ligeti's Atmosphères. Both make it vary plain that Ligeti's musical conceptions were held in common by many other composers associated with the various "schools" from which he was so anxious to disassociate himself: Penderecki, Xenakis, Pousseur, etc.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:52, 8 March 2010 (UTC)


it would be very useful to show the correct anglicized or native pronunciation of ligeti's name. "g" hard, soft or fricative? accent on first, middle or last syllable? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Macevoy (talkcontribs) 02:22, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Pronounced like "George". Last name does not rhyme with "spaghetti". The accent is on the first syllable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:53, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

According to forvo, the last name does rhyme with spaghetti: the accent is on the second syllable. (talk) 09:27, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Who is this "forvo", and does he speak Hungarian? I think not. In that language, all words are accented on the first syllable, including "spagetti" (= Italian "spaghetti" which, of course, does not stress the initial syllable as Hungarian does).—Jerome Kohl (talk) 17:35, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Google is your friend: it is but I have no idea about its authority as a source. I'm also not sure that "spaghetti" is all that useful a reference anyway, because I suspect that that too depends upon who is saying it. Even so, I don't find the Forvo examples all that compelling - there's a bit of stress on the second but plenty on the first in most of their examples so it is not cut-and-dried. Finally, I'd also always thought he was first-syllable-stressed too. I have good reason to believe that this is correct, but my reasons are not citeable and would be WP:OR if challenged! (They're still right, mind you ...) Best wishes DBaK (talk) 17:56, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I know what you mean. This unreliable source, for example, cannot be cited here.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 00:23, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Ha! Yes, quite! :) 09:25, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
It's not George! d͡ʒ is too hard, d͡ʑ too. It's ɟ. These three sounds are very easy to distinguish if you really want and put some effort into it. Don't be ignorant and pay respect to the original pronunciation. It's possible for everyone. -- (talk) 21:00, 12 May 2014 (UTC)


Find a Grave is listed as a reference and is considered unreliable. Otr500 (talk) 10:36, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

It's a user-edited site, and thus not a reliable source. I've removed it. --Deskford (talk) 16:22, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you. I have been criticized because I am against any site that is used against WP policies and guidelines, and have been removing any that are used as a source, which have been many. On good looking articles, article with current and active edits, or with talk discussions, I have opted to just bring it to light. On later and contested articles (and now just for the record) these are the reasons I see;

  • 1)-WP:SOURCES; Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy.
  • 2)- WP:NOTRELIABLE; Questionable sources are those with a poor reputation for checking the facts, or with no editorial oversight.
  • 3)- WP:SELFPUBLISH; Find a Grave is user edited and uses anonymous or pseudonymous editors.
  • 4)- WP:SPS]; This includes any website whose content is largely user-generated, including the Internet Movie Database,,, and so forth, with the exception of material on such sites that is labeled as originating from credentialed members of the sites' editorial staff, rather than users. Find a Grave is not currently specifically named as is IMBd (which has more editorial control) but falls under "and so forth".

There as been debates as to if it is acceptable as an external link but I feel (and according to some indications) an article that is referenced, but that uses these types of external links, do not progress pass a certain level. Otr500 (talk) 00:02, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Quote Clarification[edit]

Where it says "'I considered my old music of no interest. I believed in twelve-tone music!'" does that mean that because his music was twelve-tone back then, he disregarded it, or, he had accepted twelve-tone music by then and had no need for his old music? If someone knows, please clarify in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:28, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

The music he wrote in Hungary was not twelve-tone. The Soviets wanted art to reflect the people, so a lot of it was based on folk music. And some of the stuff that wasn't was censored (as is detailed in the Music section of the article).
To me, the quote is clear enough since he would have said, "I had believed in twelve-tone music!" if he meant that his Hungarian music was twelve-tone. But if you think it's not clear, then by all means, feel free to edit it to make it more clear. Squandermania (talk) 20:54, 22 February 2012 (UTC)


"The first movement of the Cello Concerto was also used in the Michael Mann 1995 crime film Heat." ( - Anon. n.d.[unreliable source?]... Amongst others, this website gives the Wikipedia article on Ligeti as a link. No specific source for the claim about Michael Mann's film is given, which leaves open the possibility that it was taken from Wikipedia and is therefore a circular self-reference.)

That Anon n.d. source was in fact this. The suggested IMDB source has been discounted as unreliable. Curiously, the excerpt is not included in the film soundtrack. Is this source any better? Martinevans123 (talk) 18:35, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

I'm not sure about that Pytheas site, which is why I asked for another opinion, rather than just deleting it (and I put the same flag on this linked entry in the list of sources). It does not say where it got the information, for this or anything else in the article, but becuase it lists this Wikipedia article amongst the external links, it looks like it might be tainted. The Mooviees site is repulsive in appearance, but at least gives its source of information as the film credits. I would say it is the preferable source under the circumstances, though I'm not sure whether it might be tarred with the same brush as the IMDb.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 20:34, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes hard to tell , isn't it. Unless we get a copy of the film and watch the credits. Next time I see Michael, I'll be sure to ask him.... Martinevans123 (talk) 20:44, 22 October 2013 (UTC) (I can't believe that Mooviees has got a detail like this wrong!)
Perhaps it is very naïve of me, but I have never understood why movie credits cannot be cited on Wikipedia. I mean, we can cite magazine articles, books, and all sorts of other print media, and even documents on online websites—heck, we can even cite the New York Times—but evidently it takes special skills to read the type in movie credits, so we need the help of professional film critics, academics, and the good folks at Mooviees to interpret them for us. On the other hand, how is reading movie credits different from getting a copy of a book and reading it?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 21:31, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
You are absolutely right. It's quite an anomaly of Biblical proportions! Martinevans123 (talk) 21:41, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Hmm. Well, I have sometimes experienced similar anomalies while squinting at teeny-tiny lettering in film credits displayed on my home television screen instead of the cinerama-theater screens for which they were evidently intended. As long as I have got your attention, you asked in your most recent edit summary how it is that "widely regraded as" should be thought of a WP:PEA. Perhaps you are right, and I should have described it instead as weasel wording. My point was that the source only spoke for itself, and did not assert that anyone other than the writer held that opinion. Of course, I have no way of knowing either what Cummings's girth might be or how far he casts his gaze, so perhaps it was meant as an objective literal description rather than a metaphoric one, but I don't think that we Wikipedia editors are permitted to assume any such thing.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 22:12, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
I imagine his girth might also be of Biblical proportions, but you are quire right, again - that's no excuse! Martinevans123 (talk) 22:21, 22 October 2013 (UTC) well, actually, he looks rather slim!
Thanks for the evidence. I rest my case!—Jerome Kohl (talk) 03:14, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
I was wondering if imdb could be used as a source? I noticed Ligeti given credit in the soundtrack section: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Overhere2000 (talkcontribs) 14:48, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:External links/Perennial websites#IMDb. Toccata quarta (talk) 16:36, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

Removed template[edit]

@Jerome Kohl: I see that you've removed the template {{Modernist composers}} using the justification "-Ligeti is cited as a postmodernist, not a modernist". While this is true, Ligeti is cited as a postmodernist, he is also cited in sources as a modernist, for example in "The Pleasure of Modernist Music: Listening, Meaning, Intention, Ideology By Arved Mark Ashby". And this is true of a lot of avant-garde composers, such as Berio, Cage, Reich, Stockhausen etc., who are also cited as being both modernist and postmodernist. See Postmodern music. --Jules (Mrjulesd) 17:55, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

Yes, you are quite right. Since I am the editor largely responsible not only for the Postmodern music article, but also for the one on Modernism (music), and most of the entries in the List of modernist composers, I am fully aware of the fact that nearly every composer working since about 1930 has been pigeonholed in both camps at one time or another. Since I see that there is now a new List of postmodernist composers (with exactly one name in it), and there are now categories for both modernist and postmodernist composers (as of last week there was only the one for modernists), I propose that both categories be added to Ligeti's biographical article, as well as to the articles for all the composers found (with reliable sources, of course) on both of those lists. It was the imbalance I was objecting to, not the foolish category.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 19:08, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:György Ligeti/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Last edited at 15:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 16:54, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

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