Listening: Mysteries of the Macabre

People say we monkey around, but we’re too busy singing to put anybody down.

For what is music if not releasing the pressure valve to let out the joy?

And in the end, the love you take et cetera et cetera et cetera.

There’s a point to be made here, but I’m too busy singing.

The other day I blundered across a Facebook forum about the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and found myself wondering why I, a lover of weird music, never explored the likes of György Ligeti in more depth.

Ligeti’s “Atmospheres,” the Kyrie from “Requiem,” and “Lux Aeterna” play key roles in the 2001 soundtrack, and they are wonderfully weird. Ligeti appeals to the same gene in me that loves “Revolution 9,” or Joni Mitchell’s “The Jungle Line,” or Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman.”

One of the forum denizens posted a link to this performance of a Ligeti piece called “Mysteries of the Macabre,” and I became a fan of mezzo soprano Barbara Hannigan. People will say it’s monkeying around, but the last three minutes of this video is a thunderous ovation, so I’m not alone in thinking it genius.

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