György Ligeti, the Quartets

As a child, György Ligeti drew maps of an imaginary world in a notebook. He hid in the attic to read fairytales, the tick-tock of an old clock marking the time, spider webs forming pretty, mortal labyrinths.

He practiced on the old paternal piano, discovered Beethoven’s symphonies, and on the road to the conservatory, heard gypsy music wafting from taverns. He liked these two types of music, one highbrow, the other popular, which did not conflict, answering each other harmoniously or comically in his mind. Little György dreamt. Later on, he was a young composer. The political regime of his country tightened; culture was placed under supervision, and musical inventions or brainwaves were proscribed; novelty was the enemy of the eople. Bartók, the master so admired, fled and later died in exile. Ligeti was forced to write music in an official style, which most often came down to arranging folk tunes for diverse nsembles. In secret, he wrote new, more ambitious works. In 1956, after having been subjected to the yokes of Nazism and then Communism, Ligeti fled at the risk of his life. From he other side of the Wall, he was finally able to write as he saw fit. He discovered a vast world of music – extra-European, electronic, rock, free-jazz – heretofore heard only on the crambled waves of clandestine radios… Progressively, the musical influences were again reconciled in his heart and soul, and from the depths of his memory suddenly appeared his ear imaginary world. He often sought refuge in it, and it is not rare to hear in his works a gypsy violinist who apparently initiated him in the music of the Aka Pygmies, a spring- ounted liquid waltz, or a fanfare of klaxons lost in a Gothic fable.

Ligeti died in 2006, leaving us an essential oeuvre and the image of a free man, attentive to the movements of the world. Q. Béla

Translated by John Tyler Tuttle

«The Quatuor Béla has this grace, this «je ne sais quoi» which speaks Jankélévitch, this irreducible thing, we can not capture or imitate in sound distinction, the hairline of the performance, the clarity of the subject. Of course, there is the technical virtuosity, which is no longer rare. The young French musicians today have often breathtaking technical level. There, before, there is musicality. These people do not flirt, they love.»
Jean-Marc Warszawski,, May 2009

«Elliptisme, biting, contained fervor: Béla are at the heart of the music, the emotion is expressed fully, never forced. 2nd Quartet Ligeti: (…) Totally dominated, precision mechanics that are the five chained sections of this contrasted partition, opens the door to a real sound and poetic adventure: pure happiness to let it lead by an ensemble which deals with the music as clearly amazed ».
Alain Cochard,, August 2013

«Aeon’s audio is excellent. In fact, in engineering terms it arguably beats all competition. (…). In purely musical terms, the Quatuor Béla’s Ligeti ranks with the best – and perhaps even higher.»
Music Web International, January 2014

« The Quatuor Béla’s members look over the moon, while that tough music they have been working since their beginning, looks obvious. (…) Anyway they prevail over it, thanks to their bow’s vigorous allegiance »
Gilles Macassar, ffff Télérama, January 2014


György LIGETI, « Métamorphoses Nocturnes », String quartet no. 1
György LIGETI, String quartet no. 2
György LIGETI, Sonata for cello solo


May 29, 2009, L’Atelier du Plateau


November 2013, AEON/OUTHERE


Press cuts (PDF)


Ce concert s’est joué à L’Atelier du Plateau, Paris, la Comédie de Clermont Ferrand, l’Agence Culturelle de Dordogne Périgord, L’Espace Malraux – Scène Nationale de Chambéry,  le Théâtre de la Croix Rousse …

  • Friday 11 May 2018, Le Triton, Les Lilas (93)
  • Tuesday 27 March 2018, 20:00, Les Détours de Babel, Hexagone de Meylan
  • Sunday 26 February 2017, Colombie, Bogotá: Sala de Conciertos Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango
  • Friday 24 February 2017, Colombie, Leticia: Sala Múltiple del Banco de la República
  • Tuesday 11 October 2016, 20:00, Maison de la Culture de Bourges - Auditorium
  • Saturday 24 September 2016, 15:30, Festival Quatuors en Pays de Fayence, Eglise de Tourettes
  • Saturday 3 October 2015, 23:55, Proquartet, Musée de l'Orangerie à Paris
  • Tuesday 3 March 2015, 20:30, Le Parvis, Tarbes
  • Sunday 1 February 2015, 18:00, Proquartet, le Château d'Angers