'Mystery System' -
'... the playing, by the Amadinda Percussion Group, is dazzling.'
'Mystery System' presents five chamber works by a composer whose name is more famous than he is -- so far, anyway: this Ligeti is the son of the Ligeti whose Atmospheres featured in Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey'. Lukas Ligeti trained in Vienna and New York and has particular interests in percussion, African music and electronics, all of which appear in his compositions.
Pattern Transformation, for four players on two marimbas, is a wonderful opener. Fast-moving themes intersect and pass through each other. It's not very long but its impact is considerable; the playing, by the Amadinda Percussion Group, is dazzling
[listen -- track 1, 2:42-4:12].
Amadinda is a Hungarian ensemble but shares with the composer a strong interest in the African Baganda musical tradition. Without that common background, the composer says, the piece would have been virtually unperformable.
Moving Houses, commissioned by Kronos Quartet but played here by a string quartet simply, if oddly, called 'Ethel', transforms a more conventionally orchestrated theme
[listen -- track 2, 13:03-13:59].
The piece suffers a little from the common problem of variation-based compositions, a tendency to change rather than grow, but is attractive and inventive.
Copyright © 1 June 2005
Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia