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Metamorphosis in MusicThe Compositions of György Ligeti in the 1950s and 1960s$
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Benjamin R. Levy

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199381999

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199381999.001.0001

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Fluxus and the Absurd (1961–62)

Fluxus and the Absurd (1961–62)

(p.128) Chapter 4 Fluxus and the Absurd (1961–62)
Metamorphosis in Music

Benjamin R. Levy

Oxford University Press

After John Cage’s 1958 Darmstadt lectures, many European composers developed an interest in absurdity and artistic provocation. Although Ligeti’s fascination with Cage and his association with the Fluxus group was brief, the impact it had on his composition was palpable and lasting. A set of conceptual works, The Future of Music, Trois Bagatelles, and Poème symphonique for one hundred metronomes, fall clearly into the Fluxus model, even as the last has taken on a second life as a serious work. This spirit, however, can also be seen in the self-satire of Fragment and the drama and irony of Volumina, Aventures, and Nouvelles Aventures. The sketches for Aventures not only show the composer channeling this humor into a major work but also prove to be a fascinating repository of ideas that Ligeti would reuse in the years to come.

Keywords:   John Cage, Dieter Schnebel, Fluxus, The Future of Music, Trois Bagatelles, Poème symphonique, Volumina, Fragment, Aventures, Nouvelles Aventures

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