Robert L. Edwards, Conductor, Consultant, Photographer

Gyorgy Ligeti “Lux Aeterna”

Ligeti portrait
Gyorgy Ligeti was born in Hungary in 1923. He began his development as a composer using serial techniques. There are flavors of serialism, but at the most basic, the 12 tones are arranged in a “row” and each note is used in turn without repeating any note. This applies to melodies as well as the notes used in the accompanying harmony. By 1961, Ligeti began using textural (sound, sonority or color) techniques, often resulting in music which is completely divisi, i.e. one part for each performer. His most famous work in this style is “Atmospheres,” an orchestral composition written on 87 staves. It and this “Lux Aeterna” were used in Kubrick’s epochal film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”


Gyorgy Ligeti “Lux Aeterna”
 - Live Performance
- 16 members of Temple University Concert Choir
 Robert L. Edwards
- 1974

(If the performance excerpt does not begin to play automatically within 30 seconds, you can click this link.
 Ligeti Lux Aeterna )

Gyorgy Ligeti’s “Lux Aeterna” (1966) is a study in vocal clusters and choral color - an expansion of the techniques he first used in a much earlier work “Apparitions.” “Lux Aeterna” text is divided into four sections which correspond to the four thoughts comprising the traditional Latin Requiem text: 1) Light Eternal shine on them, Lord; 2) Together with your Saints in Eternity; 3) Grant them rest eternal, for you are holy, Lord; 4) Let light perpetual shine on them. It is scored for 16 part vocal ensemble (SSSSAAAATTTTBBBB) and is performed here with one singer per vocal line.

In order to provide permanent documentation of the important sociological and musical contributions of the Greater Hazleton Oratorio Society, Singers’ Guild of Scranton and Sinfonia da Camera to the lives of residents in Northeastern Pennsylvania, some of the 1977-1986 live performance analog recordings of these community groups were rescued, restored, and converted to a digital format. Those restorations and the performance excerpts that appear on this website are intended as historical documents not as an entertainment product. The copying or dissemination of these excerpts is strictly prohibited.

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