“Like a comet drawing its tail behind it, music entails a wide range of associations from all levels of the human experience”, György Ligeti explained in a conversation with Ove Nordwall. “In this way, music, or the artificial product ‘work of art’ is connected with all levels of imagination, including real life. But everything is converted into music.” This includes the experience of art. A piece of music like Lontano would have been inconceivable without the late Romantic orchestra culture of composers like Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler, Strauss and Debussy. Ligeti’s new harmonics emerge from a guided levitation through the virtuality of this sound sphere. As if by osmosis, movement is transformed into new experience.
This concept of metamorphoses that still bear traces of the composition’s initial inspiration can also be observed in the transformation of autobiographical elements into art. Bartók addressed his First Violin Concerto to his student years, and to violinist Stefi Geyer. She felt that the first movement was a portrait of herself as a young girl that he loved; in the second movement and its acrobatic cadence passages, however, he described her as the virtuoso musician he admired. Strauss’ influence can be felt in more than one passage. Four years previously, Strauss had composed Symphonia domestica, a self- and family-portrait in an orchestral widescreen-format. Everything, even his coquette bedroom truths, is completely converted into music. Bayerisches Staatsorchester will perform in Berlin conducted by Kirill Petrenko; violinist Peter Zimmermann will be the evening’s soloist.