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for large orchestra
large orchestra
Edition: Performance material

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During the four and a half decades since its composition, Lontano has become a standard repertoire piece. György Ligeti comments on its compositional technique: ‘The “harmonic crystallisation” within the area of sonority leads to an intervallic-harmonic thought process which is thereby radically different from traditional and also atonal harmony. [...] Technically speaking, this is achieved with the aid of polyphonic methods: the fictive harmonies emerge from the complex vocal woven texture and the gradual opacity and new crystallisation are the result of discrete alterations in the individual parts. The polyphony in itself is almost imperceptible but its harmonic effect represents the intrinsic musical action: what is on the page is polyphony, but what is heard is harmony.’

Lontano has not only established itself in the concert repertoire, but has also found its way as film music into Hollywood blockbusters. This is no surprise as the work is ideal for the generation of an almost unbearable tension as Stanley Kubrik realised during the production of "The Shining" in 1980. Now Martin Scorsese is also exploiting Ligeti’s ‘harmonic crystallisation’: in his new film "Shutter Island" (2010), Leonardo DiCaprio stalks through Block C of the psychiatric hospital to the strains of Lontano.

Orchestral Cast

4 (2. u. 3. auch Picc., 4. auch Altfl. in G) · 4 (4. auch Engl. Hr.) · Klar. in A · 3 Klar. in B (2. auch Bassklar., 3. auch Kb.-Klar. ad lib.) · 3 · Kfg. - 4 · 3 Trp. in C (auch 3 Trp. in D ad lib.) · 2 Tenorpos. · Tenor-Basspos. · 1 - Str. (mind.: 12 · 10 · 10 · 8 · 6)

More Information

for large orchestra
Performance material
Schott Music
Year of composition:
11 ′
World Premiere:
October 22, 1967 · Donaueschingen (D)
Donaueschinger Musiktage 1967
Conductor: Ernest Bour · Sinfonieorchester des Südwestfunks

Commissioned work :
Auftragswerk des SWF Baden-Baden

Technical Details

Product number:
LS 4517-01

Preview/Media Contents



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  • Lontano
    Conductor: Ingo Metzmacher
    Orchestra: SWR Symphonieorchester
    February 21, 2025 | Mannheim (Germany) , Rosengarten
  • Lontano
    Conductor: Ingo Metzmacher
    Orchestra: SWR Symphonieorchester
    February 20, 2025 | Freiburg (Germany) , Konzerthaus
  • Lontano
    Conductor: Ingo Metzmacher
    Orchestra: SWR Symphonieorchester
    February 14, 2025 | Stuttgart (Germany) , Liederhalle
  • Lontano
    Conductor: Ingo Metzmacher
    Orchestra: SWR Symphonieorchester
    February 13, 2025 | Stuttgart (Germany) , Liederhalle
  • Lontano
    Conductor: Torodd Wigum; Johannes Witt ‍
    Orchestra: Landes Jugend Orchester Hamburg; Norsk Ungdomssymfoniorkester
    October 5, 2024 | Hamburg (Germany) , Elbphilharmonie, Großer Saal
  • Set Ascending Direction

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