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African Rhythms - Ligeti, Reich / Aimard, Aka Pygmies


Release Date: 06/17/2003 
Label:  Teldec   Catalog #: 86584   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  TraditionalSteve ReichGyörgy Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aka Pygmies
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 51 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A fascinating collision of music from three continents played with fiercesome dexterity.

Highlighting the première recordings of Etudes 16-18, this is the perfect remedy for over-exposure to Ligeti’s polyrhythms and abounds in thrilling contrasts. Above all, it sensitises the ear in a remarkable way to Ligeti’s innovations in phrasing and musical structure.

The Ligeti pieces are offset by two entirely different but significant elements. The first is the complex, predominantly vocal music of the Aka Pygmies from sub-Saharan Africa, a crucial structural element of which is an instrumenal ostinato in fast time, against which the voices set short-breathed phrases of irregular length.

The
Read more second element are Steve Reich’s Clapping Rhythm for two sets of hands, where the same rhythm is heard in different canonic relationships to itself, and Music For Pieces of Wood, which applies the processes of gradual rhythmic addition and subtraction to the same rhythmic pattern. Both techniques had consequences for Ligeti’s Etudes, but the implication of a direct relationship between Reich (who more likely drew his inspiration from Ghanaian Hunting music) and the Aka Pygmies is not quite right.

There are marvellous insights to be found in the juxtapositions here, moving in both directions: the effect of hearing Clapping Music followed by the Aka Pygmies’ Bobangi, where two pieces of iron hammer out a similar rhythm for its ostinato background, followed immediately by the ostinato of Ligeti’s Fourth Etude, which is in the same ‘key’ as Bobangi.

Aimard’s playing of the Ligeti is without parallel, but this is no surprise. Just as rewarding, though, are Clapping Music and Music For Pieces of Wood, where he is found clapping and playing overdubbed on himself. Inauthentic, perhaps, but by far the most exciting (and revealing) accounts of these two pieces I have ever heard.

At just 51 minutes, this disc is perfect for anybody hungry for a new kind of listening experience. It is also a perfect introduction to the very particular world of Ligeti’s piano études.

-- Martyn Harry, Gramophone [10/2003]
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Works on This Recording

1. Bossobe by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aka Pygmies
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Central African Repu 
Notes: This selection is sung in Yaka. 
2. Clapping Music by Steve Reich
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Hand Claps)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; USA 
Date of Recording: 09/19/2001 
Venue:  Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
3. Bobangi by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aka Pygmies
Written: Central African Repu 
Date of Recording: 06/13/2001 
Venue:  Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Yaka. 
4. Etudes (6) for Piano, Book 1: no 4, Fanfares by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; Berlin, Germany 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  La Chaux de Fonds, Neuchâtel,Switzerland 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 
5. Yangissa by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aka Pygmies
Written: Central African Repu 
Date of Recording: 06/13/2001 
Venue:  Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Yaka. 
6. Etudes (8) for Piano, Book 2: no 8, Fém by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988-1993 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  La Chaux de Fonds, Neuchâtel,Switzerland 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
7. Anduwa by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aka Pygmies
Written: Central African Repu 
Date of Recording: 06/13/2001 
Venue:  Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Yaka. 
8. Etudes (8) for Piano, Book 2: no 12, Entrelacs by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1988-1993 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  La Chaux de Fonds, Neuchâtel,Switzerland 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
9. Banga Banga by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aka Pygmies
Written: Central African Repu 
Date of Recording: 06/13/2001 
Venue:  Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Yaka. 
10. Etudes (4) for Piano, Book 3: no 16, Pour Irina by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  La Chaux de Fonds, Neuchâtel,Switzerland 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
11. Zoboko by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aka Pygmies
Written: Central African Repu 
Date of Recording: 06/13/2001 
Venue:  Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 27 Secs. 
12. Etudes (4) for Piano, Book 3: no 17, A bout de souffle by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  La Chaux de Fonds, Neuchâtel,Switzerland 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
13. Etudes (4) for Piano, Book 3: no 18, Canon by György Ligeti
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  La Chaux de Fonds, Neuchâtel,Switzerland 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
14. Mohunga by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aka Pygmies
Written: Central African Repu 
Date of Recording: 06/13/2001 
Venue:  Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Yaka. 
15. Music for Pieces of Wood by Steve Reich
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  La Chaux de Fonds, Neuchâtel,Switzerland 
Length: 7 Minutes 58 Secs. 
16. Mai by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aka Pygmies
Written: Central African Repu 
Date of Recording: 06/13/2001 
Venue:  Teldex Studio, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Yaka. 

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