This lecture-recital explores a new world of guitar sonorities through novel arrangements; Chopin: Berceuse Op. 57, Saariaho: Nocturne and Kurtág: Ligatura Y performed on a new instrument prototype, the ‘Ligeti Guitar’.
In collaboration with the Altamira Guitar Foundation, Hanson Yao and Oren Myers, the ‘Ligeti guitar’ was developed in 2021. The new prototype integrates an adjustable magnet capo system into a transformed fretboard. Koltai designed the magnet capo system originally as a new set of partial capos (2018-2020), also presented in an article in Soundboard Scholar. She demonstrated how Bartokian clusters and Ligeti’s pitch sets were translated into radical open-string sets by deploying the adjustable capos. These innovative transcriptions led to further innovation, extending the magnet capo system into a transformed guitar fretboard. The ‘Ligeti guitar’ radically opens the instrument’s idiomatic borders, hereby demonstrated in three arrangements:
Frédéric Chopin’s Berceuse (1844) is an improvisatory flow of variations on an ostinato ground bass. In this guitar arrangement, the ground bass is translated into an open string set. Therefore the variations are independent in the left hand, resulting in romantic and virtuoso passages in wide registers.
The third part of this talk explores Katalin Koltai’s very recent collaboration with György Kurtág. The collaboration started in August 2021, when Katalin had the opportunity to work on her arrangements with Kurtág. The composer originally composed the Ligatura Y for piano and later rearranged it for string trio. Koltai’s transcription has been in a fluid transformation throughout the collaboration with the composer, to be demonstrated here.
The last piece of this lecture-recital is written especially for the Ligeti Guitar by Gráinne Mulvey. Katalin commissioned Mulvey in 2020 and premiered her work at the London Guitar Festival in 2021. Soft morning city is a microtonal, partly improvisation based piece, inspired by James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. In the piece the atmospheric transformation of the early morning rainy Dublin is reflected in the transformation of the guitar’s sonic landscape.