György Ligeti was born on this day, 28 May, in 1923. To coincide with what would have been his 92nd birthday, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and the Ruhr Piano Festival have launched the first installment of a new online initiative dedicated to the late Hungarian composer’s piano music described by France’s Diapason as a website “unprecedented in its scale."
“Explore the Score” – the new interactive website created/developed by Ruhr Piano Festival – aims to bring Ligeti’s music to a wider international audience and to encourage pianists to engage intensively with it. The site - which is available for free in both German and English - offers musicians and music-lovers across the world unique access to the composer’s thoughts on performance and interpretation. Central to this innovative venture is the creation of an interactive component which enables users to explore its inner workings of the music, allowing the viewer to follow the score as Pierre-Laurent Aimard plays key pieces from Ligeti’s collection of Études and Musica Ricercata.
It is well known how demanding György Ligeti was, not only of himself but also of his interpreters. His intensive collaboration with Aimard began in the mid-1980s and lasted until the composer’s death in 2006, leaving Aimard with a unique insight into the composer’s wishes and extraordinary stories behind the music. Ligeti also acknowledged that the virtuoso French pianist inspired some of his most complex Études and he dedicated two of them expressly to Aimard.
Heralding the launch of the new website the UK’s Independent on Sunday wrote: "Where to begin with Pierre-Laurent Aimard? No other pianist comes near this mercurial 58-year-old Frenchman, either in terms of musical versatility or sheer, scattergun productivity … Aimard provides illuminating commentaries on the pieces, including an account of how the “Devil’s Staircase” was conceived as Ligeti found himself pedaling uphill during a violent storm. “The wish of Ligeti was to feel this immense effort, to feel the useless effort, the effort in vain. And he really wants the interpreter to share with the listener his own fight in trying to play it. Ligeti was extreme, his compositions are extreme, and we have to be extreme."
The first installment of Explore the Score is launched this week and will be followed during the course of the year with additional scores and new content.