Fact-Checking Is Still Hard

“Tripp is a perfectly acceptable name.” Only, that’s not true. I can’t go around making these things up; they’ll come back and bite me on the ass, one of these days. Or worse, if I say these things in public media, over time, they might become culturally true (the phenomenon where a falsity is reiterated enough times it becomes true). Hence, some unfortunate people are named Tripp. (Poor little guy)

It works the same way for information about music. If you’ve stuck with DR for while, you might recall an anecdote about my uncle: He bought a recording of Wozzeck, liked it, then asked me what was twelve-tone about it, because, contrary to what he heard, it was pretty. Where did he receive the information that twelve-tone music is ugly? Hmmm...

My gripe today is rather small, but the same principle applies. And we need to set the record straight.

Gyorgy Ligeti wrote his Horn Trio in 1982 after a five-year silence following his opera Le Grand Macabre, a breakthrough that led to a series of concertos over the next decade.

Bzzzt! Wrong.


For the record:

(And I’ll be generous and give Lawrence 1992, just because it looks prettier [1982-1992], even though that’s eleven years.)

Ligeti wrote exactly one concerto in those eleven years—the Piano Concerto. THAT’S ALL—one concerto, not a series of concerti. He started the Violin Concerto in 1989, but didn’t finish it until 1993. His Hamburg Concerto, for horn, was written in 1999 and subsequently revised in 2002.

On the other end of the spectrum (before 1982), Ligeti wrote:

1. Romanian Concerto, for orchestra (1951)
2. Cello Concerto (1966)
3. Chamber Concerto (1970)
4. Double Concerto, for flute and oboe (1972)

Oh, and in those five years of silence: Scenes and Interludes from Le Grande Macabre (for four soloists, chorus and orchestra), Hungarian Rock (harpsichord), Passacaglia ungherese (harpsichord), and Hommage a Hilding Rosenberg (violin and cello).


Other than that, the review is pretty alright.

(A link to the Detritus Hall, where one can find Ligeti's Hamburg Concerto)


Sator Arepo said...

Good work, detective. You get a promotion!

Anonymous said...

The five year "silence" refers to a period [1977-1982] in Ligeti's career in which he refused to speak to performers in English.

Empiricus said...

Ugh. I hope that's a joke. I just spent 45 minutes trying to find something about a "silence." If it is a joke, you got me. Ha, ha.

But, if it's not a joke, cite your source.

Anonymous said...

Funny, eh? Sounded good off the cuff!

Seriously though, very good work on this write up... I enjoyed your thorough work E., and I figure if anyone was going to catch historical errors on Ligeti, it would have been you! I would just like to know where Lawrence source is. Talk about "ugh."