The bar-lines in this piece are purely a means of synchronization of the individual parts and an aid to temporal articulation. There is no such thing as a beat in the sense of metrical pulsation. Therefore, the beginning of a measure does not mean an accentuation. The piece should be played completely without accent, with the exception of a few places which are specially marked.
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The bar-lines in this piece are purely a means of synchronization of the individual parts and an aid to temporal articulation. There is no such thing as a beat in the sense of metrical pulsation. Therefore, the beginning of a measure does not mean an accentuation. The piece should be played completely without accent, with the exception of a few places which are specially marked. The top is to be removed. Before beginning the piece, the piano pedal is to be depressed and secured with a wooden wedge or a suitable weight.
The piano part is to be performed by two players standing as follows: 2 1 If possible, two pianos should be used instead of one. In this case, the second player stands at the second piano in the same manner as the first player at the first piano. The piano part consists entirely of sounds made by sweeping across the strings. The necessary tools are: a pair each of wire brushes those used by jazz drummers , thick, soft, wadded cloths, and two pairs of brushes for each player.
For the lower and middle strings it is best to use large clothes-brushes of horse hair, very compact and not soft; for the higher strings smaller brushes, for example rather hard nail brushes, their size depending on the available space in the piano.
The sweeping motions are to be so performed that a soft, completely continuous and balanced sound is created, without any glissando character and without a trace of periodicity. This is best achieved in the following way: the strings are swept very slowly by both players at the same time, diagonally and in contrary motion: The full surface area of the brushes is to be used, so that they cause as many strings as possible to vibrate at the same time. The sound should be clearly audible; therefore the brushes ought to be pressed rather forcefully against the strings.
The tools, one in each hand, are to be employed continuously, not in a parallel fashion. Passing over from one hand to the other should not be noticeable. When one hand has reached approximately the mid-point of the motion, the other begins; when this one reaches the mid-point, the first ends and begins again immediately: The placing of the jazz brushes on the strings should not be heard.
The changing from jazz brushes to brushes and from brushes to cloths should be unnoticeable: while one hand is still using a jazz brush, the other prepares to switch to one of the brushes, etc. If the piano is too resonant, the jazz brushes will stand out too harshly; therefore they can be omitted, the player using clothes brushes from the beginning. On the other hand, with pianos that have a weak tone, one should leave the cloths out and perform the closing diminuendo with clothes brushes only.
If only one piano is used, the passage where the highest strings are played upon meas. If two pianos are used, this passage is also played by both performers at the same time. The little notes in the piano part indicate the duration of the sound complex. Remarks concerning rehearsal All entrances are to be played imperceptibly and dolcissimo. The wind especally must always enter unobtrusively. The overall form of the piece is to be realized as a single, wide- spanning arch — the individual sections melting together and sub- ordinate to the great arch.
Cue A, meas. Imperceptible change of bow in Viola 1—4 and Violoncello 1—4, so that the impression of a legato is created. Perhaps Via I—4 and Vc 1—4 could also tie without change of bow. Cue G, meas. Cue H, meas. Cue P, meas. For that reason the brass passage must sound still softer than the viola passage; everything very delicate, on the threshold of inaudibility; even the crescendi must be very quiet and stay within the dynamic level ppp.
If the passage cannot be played softly enough by the horns and tuba, those instruments should be left out. In this case, trumpet 3 plays the two measures in the horn 1 part, and trombone 3 plays the horn 3 part horns 2, 4, 5, 6, trumpet 3, trombone 3 and tuba are thus left out. The other brass instruments play their parts as written. The impression of a new beginning should not be created until the piano entrance in meas. Cue T, meas. In performances so far, this whole section from cue T on has usually been played too loud, The listener should perceive only a few instruments distinctly: the flutes, then the piano, and finally the trombones, tuba and piano.
Even if one tone or another does not speak, this is not nearly so bad as a tone standing out by being too loud. Individual parts must not be noticeable as such; they must all fuse into a delicate veil of sound. The contrabasses must play softly, as must the violas whose C string is too much audible ; and especially the violoncellos 2 and 3, whose C strings speak still louder and could give the impression of a seventh-chord on C.
The seventh-chord effect must be avoided at all costs since the combination of parts makes the sound veil neutrally chromatic. If violoncellos 2 and 3 are separately audible and cannot play more softly than the other strings, they had better be left out here. The intensity of the four trombones and tuba must be so adjusted that the pp is completely equal, and no instrument stands out. The piano plays a shade louder, but the trombones and tuba must be distinctly audible too, as a unit.
The ending: The piano should be distinctly audible until meas.
G.Ligeti - Atmospheres score
The SWF recorded this performance for broadcast, and this recording has been released commercially on CD several times. Paul Griffiths writes that this performance made Ligeti a "talking point". The popular music edition All Music Guide describes the piece as having clusters of notes from which sections fall out, leaving "masses of natural notes". The piece features "shimmering rapid vibrato , multiple high glissandi , waves of string harmonics in different meters , [and] notes moving along the same path but at different speeds". Harald Kaufmann has described it as "acoustically standing still", a stationary sound that has movement within it that is similar to breathing.
Atmospheres - Gyorgy Ligeti.pdf
György Ligeti: Atmosphères