Ligeti’s Atmosphères as a Musical Foreshadowing of Kubrick’s 2001- Part 2 (The Musical Past)

Ethereal and sinister

Celluloid Wicker Man

Part 1.

Musical Techniques of Atmosphères and Disassociations with the Past.

“Seen from this angle, with Atmosphères I was consciously reacting against the refinement of serialism.  Musical texture in Atmosphères is also refined but in quite a different dimension.” -Ligeti (1983, p.38).

Before even looking in any depth at the notational content of Ligeti’s Atmosphères, it becomes clear to the reader when looking over the piece’s prefatory notes, that this is not a typical example of orchestral music.  In fact, these opening notes make very clear that Atmosphères is almost deliberately against the grain of more typical orchestral works, even explicitly so in Ligeti’s descriptive language and instructions to the musicians.  Everything about this piece of music has an angst-ridden rebellion ingrained into its every motive, not merely just its tonality and musicality but even down to its structure, its treatment of rhythm and the various ways classical instruments…

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