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György Ligeti: Piano Concerto and Documentary

György Ligeti | Ensemble intercontemporain | Pierre-Laurent Aimard piano
Pierre Boulez

György Ligeti (1923-2006) is undoubtedly one of the most famous contemporary composers. Since his composition "Atmosphères" was used in Stanley Kubrick's "A Space Odyssey", at least the sound of his music has become known to a wider audience.

In 1996, in close collaboration with György Ligeti and Pierre Boulez, this film was made about him and one of his works, the Piano Concerto (composed 1985-1987). The initial German title of the production is "Wenn die Zahnräder Menschen sind… Das Klavierkonzert von György Ligeti".

The Piano Concerto was something like the opus magnum of the Hungarian-born composer. Traces of all the experiences and compositional techniques he had gathered in his life can be found in this work. Reason enough to make this concerto the focus of this film documentary, which is more about the music than a portrait of the composer. Ligeti's craft and working methods are vividly portrayed, based on the piano concerto. Meetings in Paris, with friends from the music world and academia, allow a glimpse of Ligeti's cosmopolitan life, but also of his loneliness.

At the same time, the film shows a complete concert recording with probably one of the best orchestras in the world: the Ensemble InterContemporain with Pierre-Laurent Aimard as soloist under the direction of Pierre Boulez. 

Between the movements, György Ligeti gives insights into the way he works as an artist, describing the path of composition from the first suggestions in a Parisian record shop, through sketch sheets, experiments at the piano to rehearsals with the musicians.


Györgi Ligeti: Piano Concerto


Prog. No.
Music genre
58 mins
Hanne Kaisik-Aumüller, Uli Aumüller
Metropolitan Munich
Production year