GYÖRGY LIGETI Six Bagatelles for
Insatiably curious and constitutionally incapable
of falling into a rut, Hungarian composer
György Ligeti continually reinvented his musical language over the course of
his long life. Early in his career, Ligeti concentrated on distilling
his musical language to its essence, as illustrated by these finely wrought
miniatures, which cover a wide range of textures and expression despite using a
purposefully limited number of pitches.
FRANCIS POULENC Trio for Oboe, Bassoon,
delightful and unusually scored chamber work acknowledges the prevailing
neoclassicism of the time in its traditional three-part form, shapely melodies
and phrases, and essentially triadic harmonies spiced with tangy dissonances.
After a successful premiere in Paris, at which more than 200 people had to be
turned away, the trio became one of Poulenc’s most popular works.
IGOR STRAVINSKY Histoire du soldat
miniature theater piece intended to be “read, played, and danced,” Histoire
du soldat (The Soldier’s Tale)—with its jazzy
inflections and short, self-contained musical numbers—pointed the way toward
Stravinsky’s streamlined neoclassical style of the 1920s and ’30s. At the same time,
C. F. Ramuz’s libretto—featuring a hapless soldier who sells his soul (in the
form of his violin) to the devil—harks back to the Russian folk tales that
inspired many of the composer’s earlier works.