The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (214): Put the clocks back

György Ligeti’s Poème symphonique for 100 metronomes – once seen, never erased from memory.


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  • I don’t think it is an interpretation that does justice to the work, since the metronomes have to be started simultaneously:

    “Once they are all fully wound, there is a silence of two to six minutes, at the discretion of the conductor; then, at the conductor’s signal, all of the metronomes are started as simultaneously as possible.”

  • I believe that Ligeti Poème Symphonique was inspired by Haydn ‘Farewell’ Symphony.
    I hope he won’t be accused of plagiarism … as it is quite different, melodically, harmonically and rhythmically…
    PS : Is there any metronome marking
    in the score ?

    • “Is there any metronome marking
      in the score?”
      Good one, CYM!
      (BTW, I’ve always enjoyed listening to this work.)

  • This is not music, this is a high school physics class demonstration on oscillation synchronization.

    Or a party trick to entertain after a lively dinner.

  • The YouTube description makes it even more weird (note the date):

    Video documentation of György Ligeti’s “Poème symphonique for 100 metronomes,” presented by the 21st Century Consort on December 22, 2020 in Washington, D.C. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill.”

    Should not the initial winding-up of the metronomes have been included? The orchestral tuning-up can be the best part of a concert.

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