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Ligeti: Le Grand Macabre Import


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3 used from CDN$ 60.00


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

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Créé en 1978, cet opéra adapté de La Balade du Grand Macabre de Michel de Ghelderode constitue l'un des sommets de l'oeuvre de Gyorgy Ligeti. Le compositeur y déploie en effet les multiples facettes de son écriture orchestrale et vocale pour exprimer la vision à la fois funèbre, burlesque et dérisoire d'un monde en proie à la folie, au mensonge et à l'illusion. Le titre renvoie directement à une peinture de Breughel dont Ligeti actualise, par-delà les siècles, la verve et l'ironie grinçante. -- Michel Marmin

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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
19 of 21 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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A partial success Dec 18 2009
By Michael Schell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Though you can't tell from the outside, this is the 8th and final volume in Sony's Ligeti Edition. It's also the only currently available recording of the revised (1997) version of Ligeti's only opera, captured from a live performance conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Chatelet in Paris. As of March 2010, Sony has made the entire Ligeti Edition series available in an inexpensive nine-CD box set that includes these two CDs, so you should probably just buy that set instead of this one if you're interested in Ligeti's music.

Le Grand Macabre, by far the lengthiest of Ligeti's works, represented a culmination of Ligeti's work to date. After this he seemed to feel that he could not go on rewriting works like Atmosphères and Aventures, and like Beethoven, he fell relatively silent for a few years before resuming in a more neoclassical vein with the horn trio. Alas, although I enjoy experimental theater, and support efforts to extend music theater and other forms of theater beyond simulationism, I've never warmed to Meschke's libretto. Rendered in a more-or-less traditional operatic context (albeit with postmodern music), this setting of Gheldorode's ballade seems more pompous and self-indulgent than surreal or profound. Perhaps this text just isn't the caliber of Beckett, Jarry or Robert Wilson. Or perhaps a less ostentatious theatrical context would better suit the work. But I think that deploying the accoutrements of traditional Western opera to construct a satire of that tradition is probably a losing proposition overall: it's just too "easy" to poke fun of a genre that requires so much suspension of disbelief. The most successful avant garde operas tend to either stay outside the capabilities of conventional opera companies (Einstein on the Beach, for example, uses neither a traditional orchestra nor bel canto singers), or else look to extend the artform musically and dramatically rather than looking backwards (Taverner, Ulisse, Die Soldaten, etc.).

Ligeti always seemed better suited for nonsensical or abstract texts than he did with concrete texts. The vernacular often took him toward a literalism that undermines the depth of his highly cultivated musical language. Contrast the overly particularlized text painting and straightforward puns of Le Grand Macabre to Aventures/Nouvelles Aventures, especially in a good staging that brings out the humor. Or consider how powerful and radical Ligeti's Requiem, with its jaded Latin text, still sounds 40 years later (Stanley Kubrick or no). But then -- and this is a big caveat -- I've never seen a live staging of this opera. And as of December 2009, I've only heard of a single North American production (San Francisco, 2004) -- sadly, opera companies this side of the Atlantic are very conservative, since they rely on local patronage from corporations and wealthy individuals, and get little public support. So there's a good chance that I'm missing something that would be evident when the work is entrusted to a skilled director. Several European productions have been very well received, so I reserve the right to change my mind.

Whatever misgivings I have about the libretto don't extend to the music, which is marvelous. Much of it sounds like Aventures/Nouvelles Aventures, but in English and with a full orchestral accompaniment. A few passages are closer to the Ligeti of Atmosphères and Volumina. Many passages anticipate the neoclassical orientation of late period Ligeti. The music of the lover couple (whose characters were named Spermando and Clitoria in the original, but now bear expurgated monikers) is often reminiscent of Clocks and Clouds, sometimes with undulating chromatic lines in the strings and woodwinds outlining chromatic scales in an example of classic Ligeti micropolyphony. Other passages represent a departure, and presage the more pitch-oriented works of Ligeti's late period. And there's a good dose of postmodern pastiche, such as the passage starting at 1:16 of Track 6 in the opera's first scene, which I read as a quotation of common modernist licks. The second scene is of a style associated with post-War composers like Tippett and Birtwhistle. And the work ends with a diatonic passacaglia of tenuous tonality. Nekrotzar's Entrance in the third scene may be the most famous excerpt, a passacaglia over a crazy distortion of the theme from the finale of Beethoven's Eroica symphony. There are other allusions to specific pieces, such as Offenbach's Can Can in Scene 2. And of course there are plenty of parodies of operatic conventions, such as the male lover being sung by a female singer in a satire of the trouser role tradition, or the moralizing ensemble ending recalling operas like Don Giovanni (or The Rake's Progress). What remains constant is Ligeti's mastery at eliciting an almost unbroken succession of unexpected colors from the voices and instruments.

A full libretto is supplied. The recording makes a nice contrast with the original German version of Le Grand Macabre, which you might be able to track down from the Wergo recording, either complete or condensed into a concise and very enjoyable format (as there was originally much more spoken dialog than the 1997 version). And of course this recording is in English, which Ligeti now prefers over the German or Swedish of the original. The play by Michel de Ghelderode is in French, so Ligeti and Meschke retained the language of the title.
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.
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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