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Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano (Ligeti)

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Title: Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano (Ligeti)  
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Subject: Chamber music, György Ligeti, Piano trio, List of compositions for horn, Violin Concerto (Ligeti), Piano trio repertoire, Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano
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Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano (Ligeti)

The Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano by György Ligeti was completed in 1982. It is marked as an Homage to Johannes Brahms who wrote one of the few other examples of this genre.


The Trio was a turning point in Ligeti’s career. It is considered to be the watershed moment that opened up his "third way," a style that Ligeti claimed to be neither modern nor postmodern.[1] Though the piece is marked as an homage to Brahms, Ligeti said, “the only thing reminiscent of Brahms is perhaps a certain smilingly conservative comportment – with a distinctly ironic distance.”[this quote needs a citation]


The Trio is in four movements:

  1. Andante con tenerezza
  2. Vivacissimo molto ritmico
  3. Alla marcia
  4. Lamento. Adagio

A performance of the piece lasts about 21 minutes.

The composition explores the use of major and minor harmonies without the syntax of common practice tonality. In addition, it explores the out of tune upper partials available on the horn, asymmetric Bulgarian rhythms in the second movement,[2] and the Ligeti lamento motif in the fourth movement.[3] The first three movements are each in a ternary form – a notable look back towards traditional forms. The final movement is an example of a passacaglia using as its ground bass a similar theme as that of the opening movement. It has been pointed out that the opening theme of the first movement is reminiscent of the opening theme of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 26, "Les Adieux".[4]


Further reading

  • Bae, Jae-hyi (배재희). 2009. "리게티의 후기음악에서의 리듬구조 연구" [Rhythmic Structure in the Late Music of György Ligeti]. Ihwa eum'ag nonjib/Ewha Music Journal 13, no. 2:113–37.
  • Delaplace, Joseph. 2004. "Le jeu de la mémoire et de l'invention dans le Trio pour cor, violon et piano de György Ligeti". Musurgia: Analyse et pratique musicales' 11, no. 3 (Musique et pouvoir): 73–99.
  • Dibelius, Ulrich. 1984. "Ligetis Horntrio". Melos 46, no. 1:44–61.
  • Diederichs-Lafite, Marion (ed.). 1993. "Tag des Musikgesprächs". Österreichische Musikzeitschrift 48, no. 12 (December): 621–39.
  • Josel, Seth F. 2006. "Vertikaler und horizontaler Raum: Tonhöhen- und Intervallbeziehungen im dritten Satz Alla marcia von György Ligetis Horntrio". MusikTexte: Zeitschrift für Neue Musik, no. 111:61–63.
  • Taylor, Stephen A. 2004. "Passacaglia and Lament in Ligeti's Recent Music". Tijdschrift voor muziektheorie 9, no. 1 (February): 1–11.
  • Thelander, Kristin. 1999. "György Ligeti's Trio". The Horn Call: Journal of the International Horn Society 30, no. 1 (November): 43–46.

External links


  • Luna Nova New Music Ensemble
  • Luna Nova New Music Ensemble
  • Luna Nova New Music Ensemble
  • Luna Nova New Music Ensemble
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