László Vidovszky | Ligeti Ensemble, András Keller, Piano Sextet, Zoltán Rácz Le piano et ses doubles, Promenade, Blackout

BMCCD294 2023

Works by László Vidovszky, member of the legendary New Music Studio, has selected three works from the past decade, which are based on details from previously written and published works. The changing of already composed notes, the seeking of unknown sounds, and the role of improvisation all reinterpret the concept of composition for both the composer and the listener. The seven-part work Le piano et ses doubles, whose movements are supplied with almost Debussyesque titles, was made for Zoltán Kocsis’s sixtieth birthday; Promenade explores the various possible paths for movement of musical voices; and Blackout is tape music built on free improvisation.
All the fellow artists on the CD have earned enduring merit in the playing of contemporary music both in Hungary and abroad. The Piano Sextet brings together outstanding young- and middle generation pianists, such as József Balog, László Borbély, Péter Kiss, Emese Mali, János Palojtay, and Róza Radnóti. The other small ensemble on the CD is the Ligeti Ensemble, founded by Zoltán Rácz and András Keller and under their joint artistic direction. In addition to promoting the oeuvre of György Ligeti, it performs masterpieces from the present and past one hundred years of music history, pieces that have today become classics, and represents Hungarian contemporary music at a high standard on the international scene.


Piano Sextet (1-7)
Conducted by Zoltán Rácz 
Pianists: József Balog, László Borbély, Péter Kiss, Emese Mali, János Palojtay, Róza Radnóti

Ligeti Ensemble (8-13, 15)
Conducted by András Keller 

László Vidovszky (14)

About the album

Recorded at BMC Studio, Budapest on 4 July, 2020 (1-7) and 13 August, 2020 (8-13, 15)
Recording producer: Ibolya Tóth (8-13, 15)
Recorded by Viktor Szabó (1-7) and Tamás Dévényi (8-13, 15)
Edited by Viktor Szabó (1-7) and Ibolya Tóth (8-13, 15)
Mixed and mastered by Viktor Szabó

Composer assistant: Szabolcs Kerestes

Artwork: Anna Natter / Cinniature
Produced by László Gőz
Label manager: Tamás Bognár

Supported by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary


Komlós József JR - alfoldiregiomagazin.hu (hu)

3500 HUF 11 EUR

László Vidovszky: Le Piano et ses doubles, Promenade, Blackout

01 Le piano et ses doubles - Les Préludes 8:28
02 Le piano et ses doubles - Cloches 2:14
03 Le piano et ses doubles - Trois moments musicaux 2:43
04 Le piano et ses doubles - Résonances / Interferences 2:45
05 Le piano et ses doubles - Orages & arc-en-ciel 4.02
06 Le piano et ses doubles - Mouvements 5:40
07 Le piano et ses doubles - Apothéose 3:23
08 Promenade - I. 1:19
09 Promenade - II. 4:05
10 Promenade - III. 6:16
11 Promenade - IV. – fées – 1:58
12 Promenade - V. 5:28
13 Promenade - VI. 1:23
14 Blackout (for tape) 11:19
15 Promenade – II. (version for two marimbas) 6:18
Total time 67:27

The album is available in digital form at our retail partners

The three compositions that can be heard here are the fruit of the last decade, though the origins of all of them go back much further. The basis of the musical material is formed by details of works I wrote previously, forgotten motifs, algorithms, sketches that gain a new meaning, and excerpts of works that the public already knows.
All this poses many questions. Any intervention in an older text after a certain time changes the characteristics of the work so much that the question arises as to whether it can be considered identical to the original. Or perhaps the two variations differ in a way that can never be determined, and both fully deserve their independent existence.
Is this not, actually, about the essence of composing, when we change or transcribe already composed sounds, which were thought to be final?
The sextet Le piano et ses doubles (2012) is the most complex of all the pieces. Originally I wrote it for solo piano, and when it first appeared the title was in the singular (Le piano et son double, 1992). Here the soloist was accompanied by one single MIDI piano, which he also played. I was primarily preoccupied by the digitalization of performance gestures, the relationships and contradictions between sounding and visible elements. Later I deleted this work from the catalogue of my works.
The current version is basically defined by microtonality. The resolution of the sound system used here (a scale of seventy-two degrees) is sufficiently refined to portray not just the generally known twelve-degree temperament, but also scales used in other cultures, and the most important commas, dissonances and consonances too. The innacuracy of the consonances that thus come into being results in a more dynamic sound than static harmony, which is theoretically perfect but dispenses completely with inner movement, radiating as it does eternality. Dividing the chromatic semitone into six means that the role of certain notes can be taken by arbitrary groups of notes, thus making the sound more organic.
In this work, rewriting gained a special meaning and provided me with a particular opportunity. In each work phase, the work of composing was begun from scratch, always starting from the beginning of the work, just continuing the already existent material. With hardly any compositional intention in the traditional sense, hardly any forethought or preparatory work, I notated a process for the recording of a sound independent of me and until then unknown.
Promenade (2015) is also based on the musical material of several earlier works, being a reworking for larger ensemble of the central movement of a composition that was in any case performable in several versions (Romantikus olvasmányok, Romantic Readings, 1983, 1985), with the addition of a few smaller movements (Összhangzattani jegyzetek, Harmony Notes, 2011). This work also has a stage version in which the displacement of the performers while they are playing changes the acoustic properties of the
sounding space. 
During the performances a kind of rivalry formed between the various versions, and even the performers expressed distinct preference for one version or the other. Thus we decided to release two equally valid possible versions of the central movement of this work on this CD. In this variation a previously hidden motion is “amplified” with percussion. In each case the initial material and the algorithm applied is the same, but the final result is perceptibly different. 
Blackout: tape music. Free improvisation. Control through the program MAX/MSP made it possible for gestures to shape the sound material in a way unforeseeable by the performer. After the recording was my I destroyed all the original material.

László Vidovszky
Translated by Richard Robinson 


László Vidovszky was born in 1944 in Békéscsaba. He studied composition under Ferenc Farkas at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest.
In 1970 a UNESCO scholarship enabled him to spend a semester in Paris, where he attended the course of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales, and Olivier Messiaen’s composition classes at the Conservatoire. In the same year, at the instigation of Albert Simon, together with Péter Eötvös, Zoltán Jeney, László Sáry, and Albert Simon, he founded the New Music Studio, which between 1972 and 1990 premiered over 600 pieces of contemporary music.
Vidovszky participated in the concerts of this internationally recognized composing and performing workshop as both composer and performer. From 1972 he taught in the Teacher Training Institute of the Liszt College of Music, from 1984 at the Janus Pannonius University of Sciences in Pécs, and since 1999 he has taught at the Liszt University of Music in Budapest.
The first period of his compositional oeuvre is characterized by experimental music. In addition to chamber and orchestral works, he also wrote pieces for prepared piano and computers. In his solo and chamber works, there is often a role for audiovisual elements and musical constructions linked to various events on stage.
He is an ordinary member of the Széchenyi Academy of Letters and Arts. His work has been acknowledged with many prizes: in 1983 he was decorated with the Ferenc Erkel Prize, in 1992 with the Bartók–Pásztory Prize, and in 1996 with the title Artist of Merit. In 2010 he received the Kossuth Prize, and in 2004 he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.

Zoltán Rácz was born in Budapest in 1960. He graduated as a percussionist from the Liszt Academyof Music. While still a student, he became interested in solo and chamber pieces written for percussion instruments.
He regularly took part in the work of the New Music Studio, and premiered many new pieces in concerts and on records and CDs.
In 1984 he founded the internationally famous Amadinda Percussion Group, of which he continues to be the artistic director. The group regularly responds to invitations to prestigious European festivals, and they have recorded many albums. John Cage dedicated his piece Four4 to them, and Amadinda premiered it in 1992 in Tokyo. György Ligeti wrote the piece Síppal, dobbal, nádihegedűvel (With Pipes, drums and reeds) for them, and it was premiered in 2000 in Metz. For Amadinda’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Steve Reich composed the
piece Mallet Quartet. In 1988 the group was awarded the Ferenc Liszt Prize, in 2004 the Kossuth Prize, and in 2008 the Bartók–Pásztory Prize. In 1997 they were awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.
As a soloist too, Zoltán Rácz is a key figure in the Hungarian and contemporary music world: for example, he recorded and played in concert Péter Eötvös’s piece Triangel.
Between 1992 and 1996 he was first timpanist in the Budapest Festival Orchestra, then for five years he worked as contemporary music programmer at Hungarian Television.
In 1997, with music historian András Wilheim, he founded the UMZE chamber orchestra.
Since 1990 he has taught at the Liszt University of Music, and he gives masterclasses all over the world.
In 2002 he was awarded the title Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the Republic of France.

András Keller was born in 1960 in Budapest. At the age of fourteen he became a student at the Liszt Academy of Music, where he was taught by Dénes Kovács, Ferenc Rados, and György Kurtág, and in Salzburg by Sándor Végh.
In 1983 he won the Hubay violin competition, following which he accepted János Ferencsik’s invitation to become leader of the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra, and he simultaneously became soloist with the National Philharmonia. Between 1984 and 1991 he also worked as the leader of the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
In 1987 he founded the Keller Quartet (comprising András Keller, János Pilz, Zoltán Gál, and Ottó Kertész), which in 1990 won two of the most important string quartet competitions in the world: the Evian competition, and the Premio Paolo Borciani.
András Keller’s solo and chamber music recordings have garnered prestigious prizes, with him collecting the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis six times between 1996 and 2006. He regularly performs as a violinist in prominent European festivals and concert halls, and holds international masterclasses.
He debuted as a conductor in February 2003 at the helm of the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto. Since 2005 he has compiled and directed the musical programmes of the Arcus Temporum Festival in Pannonhalma (Hungary).
Since 2007 he has been the musical director of Concerto Budapest, where in addition to enlarging the classical repertoire, he places great emphasis on the performance of twentieth-century and contemporary works (in many cases premiering them in Hungary), and on inviting guest musicians from abroad.
At his instigation, in 2018 the Ligeti Ensemble took shape under the aegis of Concerto Budapest, and it has operated within the orchestra ever since, holding series of concerts in Budapest Music Center.
In addition to several dozen international prizes, in 1995 András Keller was awarded the Liszt Prize as a member of the Keller Quartet, in 2012 he received the Bartók–Pásztory Prize and the title Artist of Merit, and in 2021 he was awarded the Kossuth Prize.
Since 2016 he has been a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

The Ligeti Ensemble is a new formation that took shape under the aegis of Concerto Budapest, and it gave its first concert on 28 May 2018, György Ligeti’s birthday. The ensemble started at the instigation of András Keller, music director of Concerto Budapest, with András Keller and Zoltán Rácz as artistic directors.
The choice of name is a clear indication of the aims of orchestra: the Ligeti Ensemble focuses on promoting the oeuvre of György Ligeti; on representing works of music of today and of the last hundred years which have now become classics; and on constantly representing Hungarian contemporary music present in the repertoire.

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