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Ligeti: Le Grand Macabre Import


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2 new from CDN$ 65.99 1 used from CDN$ 45.00

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 23 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00000ICMU
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Disc: 1
1. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Car Horn Prelude / Autohupen-Vorspiel Prélude aux klaxons
2. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 1: 'Dies irae'
3. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 1: 'Away, you swagpot!'
4. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 1: 'Shut up!'
5. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 1: 'Oh ...!' - 'Amanda! Can do no more!'
6. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 1: 'Ha-ha-ha-ha! Hey! Give me my requisites'
7. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 1: 'Melting snow is thy breast'
8. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Second Car Hor Prelude / Zweites Autohupen-Vorspiel / DeuxiÃ..me prélude aux klaxons
9. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 2: 'One! Two! Three! Five!'
10. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 2: 'Shapley and attractive figure'
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 3.: Doorbell Prelude
2. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 3.: 'Arse- licker, arse- kisser!'
3. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 3.: 'Posture exercises!'
4. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 3.: 'Tsk...' - 'Psssst!'
5. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 3.: 'Ahh! ... Secret cypher!'
6. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 3.: 'Hurray, hurray! My wife is dead'
7. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 3.: Nekrotzar's Entrance
8. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 3.: 'Woe! Ooh!' - 'For the day of wrath'
9. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 3.: 'There's no need to fear'
10. Le Grand Macabre, opera: Scene 3.: 'Up!'- 'Drink!' - 'Up!'
See all 15 tracks on this disc

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ligeti's opera "Le Grand Macabre" based on the ballade of Michel de Ghelderode is a great musical achievement of our time. This version by Salonen, sung in English, is a reference. Salonen is a young enthusiastic conductor who loves the score (he told once something about composing and opera, after conducting Ligeti's Grand Macabre) and it is an authentic gift hearing Philharmonia Orchestra under his rules. In the casting, this version counts with a shining and lovely Amanda (Laura Claycomb),a funny Mescalina (Jard van Ness) and a really dark (literally) Nekrotzar (Willard White). Only Gepopo (Sybille Ehlert) is not fully convincent. But it is delightful hearing her, in any case, singing "Stern measures".
I am not agree with the stern reviews of some colleagues in this page. This Opera by Ligeti is magical, funny and delicious, as "The magic flute" of Mozart, for example. The music is powerful (the entrance of Nekrotzar, Astradamors' torture...) and filled with beauty (Gepopo's "misteries").
I love this opera and those of Penderecki, and I consider them the best works in their genre of the last 50 years.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
One of the few contemporary masterworks in opera Feb. 6 2005
By drabauer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I will not bother defending Le Grande Macabre for those dismayed at how it differs from earlier Ligeti; having studied the works from 1943 on, I hear a continuity that others may miss. Know only that the opera was influenced by the visual arts of Bosch, Brueghel and Saul Steinberg, the operas of Monteverdi and Verdi, the absurdist theater of Alfred Jarry, and the films of Charlie Chaplin. In other words, be forewarned!

Having not seen the recent San Francisco production I can only imagine the wild visuals, but the performers in this spanking new edition are spot on. Ligeti has considerably abridged and tightened the opera (first written in 1974-77), and has greatly refined his original vision (the composer has even gone on record preferring the English libretto to the original German.) The Wergo original is of interest primarily to completists.

Let me just add that history is everywhere present in LGM; this is the closest Ligeti's come to a "collage" work, which seems completely appropriate given the darkly surreal subject matter. He would never produce something quite like this again, but let us hope against hope that he finishes the long running operaplanned on the Alice books. For more about Ligeti, I recommend the Richard Steinitz work and life (although the earlier bios by Griffiths, Toop and Burde are great as well).
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A great opera of our time July 25 2001
By Vladimir - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Ligeti's opera "Le Grand Macabre" based on the ballade of Michel de Ghelderode is a great musical achievement of our time. This version by Salonen, sung in English, is a reference. Salonen is a young enthusiastic conductor who loves the score (he told once something about composing and opera, after conducting Ligeti's Grand Macabre) and it is an authentic gift hearing Philharmonia Orchestra under his rules. In the casting, this version counts with a shining and lovely Amanda (Laura Claycomb),a funny Mescalina (Jard van Ness) and a really dark (literally) Nekrotzar (Willard White). Only Gepopo (Sybille Ehlert) is not fully convincent. But it is delightful hearing her, in any case, singing "Stern measures".
I am not agree with the stern reviews of some colleagues in this page. This Opera by Ligeti is magical, funny and delicious, as "The magic flute" of Mozart, for example. The music is powerful (the entrance of Nekrotzar, Astradamors' torture...) and filled with beauty (Gepopo's "misteries").
I love this opera and those of Penderecki, and I consider them the best works in their genre of the last 50 years.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Fun, if utterly bizarre Sept. 29 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I love Ligeti's music and I never fully understood why. I don't care for most contemporary composers, but I feel that he always has something very interesting to say and it goes way beyond the cacophony normally associated with contemporary music. To be frank there's enough dissonance in this work to make most people cringe, but, again, there's something to the way he approaches music and sound that elevates his works way above the banal or ugly and irritating, like Cage and Carter. Like Penderecki, Ligeti has his own musical vocabulary and he's not afraid to either use it or add to it when necessary. The result in "Le Grand Macabre" is a surrealistic soundscape that compliments the equally surrealistic tale of an imaginary kingdom and it's odd inhabitants. Truly bizarre and, definitely, not for everyone. Nevertheless, a truly great work. As original and wonderfully bizarre as one could only hope for. The performance is wonderful and most cohesive. Not an easy thing to accomplish with a work of this magnitude and complexity.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Late Verdi meets Alfred Jarry March 22 2009
By Wayne A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I'm not sure who annoys me more--people who claim to adore this opera because it's so "wacky" and "crazy," or people who dismiss it as childish and chaotic rubbish. For that matter, toss in amateurs who approach and evaluate Ligeti solely from the appallingly limited perspective of their experiences of "2001: A Space Odyssey."

1) The opera--the COMPOSITION--is not anarchic: it's beautifully written & scored, well-structured (more so in this modern edited version), and profoundly purposeful--inspired from stem to stern. It's a brilliant composer's DEPICTION of absurdity (I'd argue the definitive musical depiction), and large stretches of it often remind me of the opening storm scene from Verdi's Othello. It's also beautiful. Generic opera buffs, if they ever troubled themselves to get their snouts out of the comfortable distant past, would marvel at the endless nods to tradition present in Le Grande Macabre. Equally, noise-band fans and alternative types who claim to admire Le Grande Macabre too often just don't get far beyond the opera's surface features. They like the opera for the same dumb reasons that others dislike it.

2) It's grindingly clear from the peevish one-star reviews that the dismissive types really shouldn't be going anywhere near material like this, any more than a first-year German student should be writing critiques of Goethe, or some teen photoshop geek should be evaluating de Kooning. The Ones-Stars' reviews reveal an awful truth--that being a fan of classical music does not automatically make you intelligent or perceptive, or prove that you are any more musically sophisticated than the average five-year-old, who can clap along to Vivaldi as well as anyone else who wrongly treats that great composer as a creator of classy "Easy Listening" pieces. I've argued for years that too many consume classical music as a hoity-toity form of elevator musak; those people shouldn't write reviews, ESPECIALLY of music like this.

3) This is a great opera. I've been familiar with it for nearly twenty years now and, like any masterpiece, it gets better and MORE interesting over time. Arguing about the respective merits of the only two recordings, especially when they are two different VERSIONS, seems a little silly. I like the Wergo recording for any number of reasons: one being that since it's sung in German I can (when I want to) focus more easily on Ligeti's extraordinary music. It's also an enthusiastic performance. This Sony recording is also fine, and sung in English it makes the experience more properly theatrical. This tighter version is as appropriate for the times as the looser-limbed original version was for its less stick-up-hinder era. Buying both helps one learn more about the piece, and a lot about Ligeti, who is a composer who can be glibly dismissed or ignorantly misunderstood only at one's peril.

OK--Ligeti was a genius, and he wrote one opera and I suspect it was the only opera he felt could or should be written in an era of profound cultural decay. The opera is about us, and, in a way, it is about these reviews, and Amazon reviews as a whole, and the entire goofball mess that is our modern apocalyptic world. This is the sort of art that sane, immensely talented, profoundly gifted people are almost compelled to produce in insane times. People may ooh and coo over the comforting NPR-ish predictabilities, unchallenging music, and pseudo-profound moral non-dilemmas* of recent products by Adams, Glass, and Tan Dun, but for me, Le Grande Macabre is the mighty capstone to the great Western operatic tradition that started with Monteverdi.

*I really worry about people who think the Achille Lauro incident or Robert Oppenheimer's anxieties over an issue everyone in the audience has already made up their minds about is something up there with Chekov or Tolstoy. These composers (despite their claims) don't challenge; they meet & match audience expectations as scrupulously as some pleaser like Meyerbeer (Tan Dun is easily the new Meyerbeer). Worse, these composers turn moral issues into nebulous comfortable hash--everything reduced to a "well, I guess everybody's right and everybody's wrong, and we all have our different perspectives" sort of spineless mush.
21 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Not the only jewel in the crown. Dec 10 1999
By Andrew Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Amazon can't seem to recommend this one enough. I wish that made me happy. As it is, I find it frustrating. Opera seems to take precedence in critical and intellectual circles as an inherently superior medium of musical expression. I find this tragic, since Opera is as much or more about theater (actors, costumes, lights, pyrotechnics, etc.) than it is about music.
Le Grande Macabre is certainly one of Ligeti's monumental works and this is very much a recording worthy of owning if contemporary opera is of interest to you. I don't feel it appropriate to comment on the performances since experience has taught me that every listener has their own agenda and each grades a performance according to those criteria. He who has ears, let him listen...
My principle reason for posting this review is to encourage passers by to examine Ligeti's instrumental works, particularly the Chamber Concerto, the fabulous Wergo release containing Lontano and other orchestral works, and the piano etudes. Le Grande Macabre is, more or less, a composite of the ideas Ligeti has explored throughout his career. But as Ligeti is obedient to the requirements of storytelling, in the opera these ideas are decoration. In his other works, they are the substance.

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