György Ligeti: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

"Now onto the longest and essential part of the program: Ligeti’s Piano Concerto, a work he himself considered his most technically complex work, with virtually unplayable music.

Yet all five movements–four of them very fast–were played with dazzling assuredness. That first movement was a study in unsteadiness. The piano music is written in simultaneous different scales for different hands. We had plenty of simultaneous for both piano and orchestra and constant rhythm changing.

Ligeti, though, was not your usual European composer. He was Hungarian, and those Bartók-style nature sounds came out in the second “Desolate” movement, beginning slowly, ending with shrill calls.

For the final three movements, Mr. Kigawa led the orchestra a merry chase, especially in the Stravinsky-like finale Stravinsky, though, held back from this organized chaos: Ligeti let it go, with both orchestra and pianist holding a carnival of music. The cohesion wasn’t structural or harmonic. It was a kind of quantum cohesion, space and time vying, fighting, bouncing off each other." - Harry Rolnik,