für 13 Instrumentalisten
Composer: Ligeti György
Year of Origin: 1969
Year of Adaption: 1970
Duration: ~ 21m

Kammerkonzert - für 13 Instrumentalisten

Instrumentation Details

flute (1), oboe (2), clarinet (2), horn (1), trombone (1), piano (1), harpsichord (1), violin (2), viola (1), violoncello (1), double bass (1)


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


Publisher:  Schott Music


Title:  Clear or Cloudy
Label:  Decca Records
Title:  György Ligeti
Title:  Kammerkonzert. Ramifications. Lux Aeterna. Atmosphères
Title:  Konzerte
Label:  Valois (Auvidis)
Title:  Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts
Title:  Passport to the 20th Century
Label:  Montaigne
Title:  The György Ligeti Edition. Complete Works
Year:  2010



die reihe


Location:  Berlin
Performer:  Cerha Friedrich

Organiser: Berliner Festwochen

Description of Style

The title “Concert” illustrates that all of the instrumentals were written for virtuosos of the same rank. That is why there is no “soli” or “tutti” like in a traditional concert. Instead, different groups of instruments alternate while maintaining the polyphonic texture. The musical language of the work, as in all of my compositions since the 1960’s, are neither tonal or atonal. There are neither tonal centres nor any harmonic combinations or developments that can be functional realised. On the other hand the twelve tones of the chromatic scale aren’t, like in the German Reihenmusik, equally valued. There are certain dominating combinations of intervals that define the course of the music and the development of its form. The complex polyphonic of the individual voices are embedded in a harmonic-musical flow in which the harmonies (the vertical combinations of the intervals) don’t suddenly change, but flow over into each other. A clearly definable interval combination is slowly blurred, until a new interval combination emerges from this “fog”.



Every movement of this chamber concert is characterised by a specific rhythmic texture and a certain type of movement. The first movement is gentle and flowing, the the heterogenic rhythmic figures create uniform sound patterns. The texture of the second movement is more homophone. Its character is first static, but then slowly broken up by strong, concise figures. In the course of this dynamic development the harmonic structure changes and culminates in a agglomeration of overplayed quints. The third movement is quasi-mechanical, similar to a strange, partially broken precision machine. Polyrhythmic and polymetric are particulrly emphasised in this movement. Those kinds of techniques are also in the other movements, but not as frequently and in a different form. The fourth movement is very fast and requires a great degree of virtuosity. It’s like a perpetuum mobile, but the presto movement is “destroyed” and slowly undermined. The music is ripped to shreds and runs out of control. Portions of the melody reappear, but they lead to nothing and nowhere. It is as if the music was overrun by creeping vines. 


Translation of introductory text for a premiere as part of the festival Wien Modern on 22nd December 1989 in Vienna.


Source: Karsten Witt Musik-Management