Review Of Gyorgi Ligeti’s Danse
Macarbei Essay, Research Paper
This piece is a
lesson in polytonality, dissonance, and complexity. The first thing
heard is an imitation of a car horn that seems designed to grab hold
of the listener. If I were inattentive before this piece, I certainly
was wide awake when it was over. Ligeti seems to have sculpted a
piece together from bits and pieces of other musical styles: a sort
of modern-art approach to music. The violins tuning without a care in
the first few moments, the slow mock continuo of the highly dissonant
bassoon counterpoint, and the later high pitch of a clarinet all seem
to be broad, bold strokes on a canvas of sound. Ideas come floating
to the front of the imaginary “stage”, and drop back behind newer
also adds considerably to the complexity of the piece in the later
minutes, stomping along without any respect for the classical violin
or the clarinet’s solo theme. A bird drops in, played by the flute,
taking the focus away from the slowing, stomping band. Perhaps this
is a bit of editorial from the composer himself on big-band music in
general? The marching band ushers in the beginning of the end,
gaining speed and volume. The texture of the piece grows with the
addition of another instrument every few measures. After a short
build, the threshold of noise is reached. All of the instruments of
the band and orchestra are playing at their highest volume, playing
solos of a mixture of styles, in a polyrhythmic soup of sound. The
peak of this amalgamation is reached, and the slow, almost drunken
marching band pulls us away, towards the end of the piece.
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