JAVS Summer 2023

I paired “ Hora lungă” with the “Prelude” (without the fugue) of J.S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 5. This was an easy aesthetic choice. The Ligeti and Bach movements share a growly, meditative quality and serve the same introductory function within the context of their larger works. They have a nice harmonic symmetry as well: Bach begins in C minor and cadences in G; Ligeti begins in F and ends in C. This creates a tonal realm of keys closely related to C minor, with both pieces beginning on the low C string of the instrument.

Originally, I spent time looking for a gigue or a courante to pair with “ Loop.” The asymmetry of the rhythm as well as the tempo marking ( molto vivace, ritmico - with swing ) makes this movement one of the most lively and sunny of the sonata. I eventually decided to pair it with the “ Furlana” from Tartini’s Sonata no. 16 for Violin . Tartini’s movement is in a compound meter, which parallels the rhythmic elements of “ Loop .” It also has a great deal of rhythmic variety, many double stops, and large register leaps that echo Ligeti’s writing.

Example 2: The opening line of “Hora lungă.” 2

Example 3: The opening line of J.S. Bach Suite No. 5 in C minor. 3

Ligeti’s second movement “ Loop” is a bouncy, akimbo romp in asymmetrical and changing meters. It is structured around a pattern of 45 double stops. This pattern repeats nine times, with a four-note introduction and the first three notes of a 10th repetition that ends, as Ligeti notates in the score, “as if torn off”, with rests notated for the rest of the cycle. 4 Each repetition of the note pattern gets faster using a process of rhythmic diminution rather than tempo changes. Ligeti’s compositional technique for this movement is similar to the Talea (rhythmic pattern) and Color (melodic pattern) of an isorhythmic motet. 5

“Facsar” is the emotional heart of Ligeti’s Sonata for Viola Solo . It is the longest movement and is a passacaglia based on a 10-bar melody. Ligeti repeats this melody exactly four times before beginning to take some liberties with it. There is a climactic middle section which breaks from the phrase structure, and the end returns to the 10-bar scaffolding and contour without the exact pitches of the original melody.

Example 4: The repeating pattern of double stops from “Loop.” 6

Journal of the American Viola Society / Vol. 39, Summer 2023 Online Issue


Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter creator