Atmosphères  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Atmosphères is a piece for full orchestra by György Ligeti. As described by Keith Lockhart before his performance of the work with the Utah Symphony in 2006 (paraphrased): "Any music teacher can tell you of the four main bodies of music: melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre. Ligeti, in this work, has chosen to abandon all but the latter, giving the piece a thickness of texture that few have accomplished before. There are fifty-five string players on the stage here. Normally, their goal is to play the same notes at the same time. Here, however, no two string players ever play the same note. This effectively creates nine minutes of pure sound, with no discernible melody. You won't go away singing the tune to yourself."

Stanley Kubrick reportedly chose the piece to be in his 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey because of its evocativeness of deep space and timelessness. Ligeti himself said that he intended the listener to become lost in the depth of the texture and tone and become completely oblivious to the passage of time.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Atmosphères" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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