György Ligeti was born in Romania in 1923 to a Hungarian-Jewish family. His musical education was interrupted in 1944, when he and his brother were sent to forced labor camps, and his parents were sent to Auschwitz. Only György and his mother survived. Despite the hardships of his young life, Ligeti was able to continue his musical education after the war, and attended the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. He died in 2006.

Musica Ricercata (“Researched Music”) has eleven movements. The first movement uses only two tones, A and D. The second movement uses three, the third uses four, and so on, until the eleventh movement, in which all twelve tones of the scale are used. Today’s performance features five of these movements.

 

Ligeti Musica Ricercata, performed at Steinert Hall in Boston on November 22nd, 2014