George Benjamin

George Benjamin conducts Benjamin and Ligeti


  • George Benjamin At First Light
  • György Ligeti Kammerkonzert
  • George Benjamin Into the Little Hill

English composer George Benjamin conducts the Ensemble Modern in an early work by György Ligeti, flanked by two of his own works.

Weave of thirteen soloists
George Benjamin was introduced to György Ligeti's music when, as a nine-year-old, he saw Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The micropolyphonic textures of Ligeti's Atmosphères, which sounded like glowing lava, made an unforgettable impression on him. Now he conducts the Kammerkonzert (1969/1970): a virtuosic work for thirteen soloists, in which the composer also employs the micropolyphonic technique. As the instrumentalists lay many melody lines right next to each other, unexpected complex harmonies emerge. In the Kammerkonzert, these consonances - clusters - are relatively thinned out, so the individual lines are still easy to follow.

Pied Piper and Morning Mist
George Benjamin's At First Light (1982) was inspired by a painting by J.M.W. Turner in which a ruined castle is visible as a vague silhouette in the morning mist, illuminated by the rising sun. Benjamin translates this image into fragile, melting sounds. To do so, he uses unusual instruments, such as a ping-pong ball and a tumbler. Into the Little Hill (2006), a chamber opera set to the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, has among its themes the improper use of music.

Saturday, September 16, 2023
2:15 pm
The Royal Concertgebouw

Large Hall


Ensemble Modern
George Benjamin
Keren Motseri
Helena Rasker

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