Various Artists

The Ligeti Project, Vol. 3

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"The Ligeti Project" is a series of discs canvassing the many-faceted output of the octogenarian Hungarian composer that began over at Sony Classical. Weak sales caused Sony to shut the program down, at which point the series moved over to Teldec. Although Teldec has closed its doors for good, the project did manage to reach completion under its masthead. The Ligeti Project III is the penultimate installment in the series and listeners who enjoy contemporary music will want to welcome it with open arms. For a disc that essentially is a grab bag of various Ligeti works that did not fit on earlier issues in the series (or in the case of Sippal, dobbal, nádihegeduvel, did not yet exist) this is a surprisingly unified and satisfying package as a whole. Reinbert de Leeuw pilots the Asko-Schönberg Ensemble through the orchestrally conceived works on the disc with a sense of purpose and a not-so-tight rein so as to let the works breathe a little. The cello concerto reunites cellist Siegfried Palm with the work he premiered on record in 1967, and it emerges as fresh and new as it must've sounded then. Frank Peter Zimmermann takes on Ligeti's wacky violin concerto and, in partnership with de Leeuw, produces a result that accurately transmits the work's wild energy. The real highlights of the disc, though, are the premieres; the schizophrenic and occasionally comic song cycle Sippal, dobbal, nádihegeduvel and the previously unrecorded choral work Clocks and Clouds. Sippal, dobbal, nádihegeduvel is sung with real flair by mezzo soprano Katalin Károlyi and Clocks and Clouds is simply one of Ligeti's loveliest creations, a real gem among his many compositions. For those who like Ligeti, this is a disc to write home to Mom about.

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