Chamber Concerto

Chamber Concerto
for 13 instrumentalists
Ensemble/Chamber Orchestra
Number of performers
1 (also pic.) · 1 (also obda., ca.) · 2 (also bcl.) · 0 - 1 · 0 · 1 · 0 - hpd. (also horg. or hmn.) · pf. (also cel.) - str. (1 · 1 · 1 · 1 · 1)
Composition year(s)
World premiere

Baltimore, MD (USA) · Ensemble "die reihe" Vienna · conductor: Friedrich Cerha
Final version with 4 mov. · Großer Sendesaal · Berliner Festwochen · Berlin · Ensemble "die reihe" Vienna · conductor: Friedrich Cerha


I Corrente (Fließend)
II Calmo, sostenuto
III Movimento preciso e meccanico
IV Presto


György Ligeti: The Ligeti Project © 2016 Warner Classics 0825646028580

Comment of the composer on the work

My Chamber Concerto for thirteen instrumentalists (five strings, four woodwinds, two brass and two keyboard instruments) was written in 1969/70 for members of the Viennese ensemble Die Reihe, with whom I was on friendly terms, and also for their conductor Friedrich Cerha, the leading Austrian composer of our time. This four-movement piece is a concerto inasmuch as all thirteen players are virtuoso soloists and are all treated as equals. In other words, we are not dealing with the usual type of concerto in which soli and tutti alternate but with a piece for thirteen concertante soloists. The voices always develop simultaneously, but in varying rhythmic configurations and generally at differing speeds. The four movements contrast in character: the first is polyphonic and contains micropolyphonically interwoven lines that merge together to form a homogeneous texture. The second movement is homophonic and static, the third mechanical in the manner of a clockwork mechanism (my 1962 Poème symphonique for a hundred metronomes served as a model here) and the fourth movement is an insanely virtuosic Presto.

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