György Ligeti


for violin and orchestra
Orchestra with Soloist(s)
mit Violine
Number of performers
2 (1st also afl. and soprano rec., 2nd also pic.) · 1 (also soprano ocarina in C) · 2 (1st also Ebcl. and sopranino ocarina in high F, 2nd also bcl. and alto ocarina in low G) · 1 (also soprana ocarina in C) – 2 · 1 · ttbn. · 0 – perc. (3 timp. · s.dr. · tamb. · 2 s.c. · t.-t. - · gong · crot. · slapst. · 2 · tbells. · glock. · xyl. · vibr. · mba. · 2 slide whistle) (2 performers) – str. (5 [1 of them with scord.] · 0 · 3 [1 of them with scord.] · 2 · 1)
Composition year(s)
World premiere
original version · Cologne · Saschko Gawriloff, violin · Radio Symphony Orchestra Cologne · conductor: Gary Bertini
revised version · Cologne · Saschko Gawriloff, violin · Ensemble Modern · conductor: Peter Eötvös
I Vivace luminoso
II Aria, Hoquetus, Choral: Andante
III Intermezzo: Presto
IV Passacaglia: Lento intenso
V Appassionato: Agitato molto

György Ligeti: The Ligeti Project © 2016 Warner Classics 0825646028580

Comment of the composer on the work

Responding to a suggestion from Saschko Gawriloff, I composed the Violin Concerto in 1990, revising it in 1992. The chamber orchestra consists of two flutes (doubling alto flute, piccolo and soprano recorder), one oboe, one bassoon, one trumpet and one trombone, two clarinets (the second doubling bass clarinet), two horns, four violins, three violas, two cellos, one double bass and two percussionists (who play a rich and varied group of instruments, which includes two slide whistles). With the exception of the flutes, all four woodwinds also play ocarina.

Important for the character of this piece are micro-intervals. In all five movements, one violin and viola are re-tuned (scordatura) and, in the second and third movements, the horns play only uncorrected natural notes. By combining these “out of tune” notes and harmonics with those of the normally tuned strings, I can build a number of harmonic and non-harmonic spectra.

© 2001–2003 Teldec Classics & 2004 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd | Translation: Louise Duchesneau