György Ligeti & Steve Reich: African Rhythms (2003)
Classical | EAC (APE & CUE) | 215 MB
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At the turn of the twentieth century, György Ligeti's late piano music was performed in various European concert halls alongside music of the Aka Pygmies of Central Africa. The acclaimed project culminated in a CD on the Teldec label entitled Ligeti/Reich: African Rhythms (Pierre Laurent Aimard/Aka Pygmies) featuring works by Ligeti, alongside works by Steve Reich and music of the Aka. This paper describes and evaluates the uneven critical reception of the project in relation to the precise formal connections between Ligeti's etudes, on the one hand, and the music of the Aka, in particular, and African music, in general, on the other. It traces some of the African citations in Ligeti's etudes to specific source materials, briefly describes the original function and context of the music (even if they are not demonstrably known by the composer), and assesses the ideological dimensions implicit in the way the African materials are put to use in a Western context.