Requiem for György Ligeti

Requiem for György Ligeti is a giant music box created in memory of composer Gyorgy Ligeti, who died in June 2006. It was inspired by Ligeti’s Poem Symphonique, which involved 100 wind-up metronomes being set off at once. The Requiem was originally a part of Pandoras Box, a group installation that opened at the CalArts Main Gallery in March, 2007.

Listen to Requiem for György Ligeti
“Requiem for Györgi Ligeti” by Daniel Corral

Requiem for György Ligeti is a 30″x30″x8″ walnut box with 100 music box movements inside it. All 100 of the music box movements began as one of 10 familiar tunes, such as Yesterday, A Whole New World, or Wagner’s Wedding March, but the mechanisms have been altered so that each individual movement is playing something unique and unrecognizable.

There are several ways to interact with the Requiem. The casual passerby can merely turn some of the silver knobs on the top of the box, each of which is attached to a different music box movement. If you are feeling more diligent, you can then push in the gold knob on the front of the box. This stops all of the movements from playing, so that you can wind up all 100. Once you have wound them all up, then pull the gold knob back out and they all start playing at once to create a micropolyphonic texture.