The German new-music scene is mildly scandalized by a recent book of interviews with György Ligeti. The great Transylvanian composer, who celebrates his eighty-first birthday on May 28, has a withering take on the Darmstadt Festival, where Boulez and Stockhausen laid down the law for modern music in the nineteen fifties. Ligeti compares the warring camps of Darmstadt to the power struggles within totalitarian regimes. The analogy has been used before, but Ligeti knows whereof he speaks, having quite literally dodged the bullets of both Nazi and Stalinist-Communist forces. “True, there were no people being liquidated,” Ligeti says, “but there was certainly character assassination.” He speaks contemptuously of Theodor Adorno’s polemic against Stravinsky, calling it “revolver journalism.” Adorno, he says, was “the smartest dumb man I ever met.” I wish I'd had that last quotation in hand when I wrote about Adorno last year. In fairness, it should be noted that when Ligeti received the Adorno Prize in 2003 he spoke much more warmly of the indigestible and indispensable master of musical philosophy.
On a semi-related note, researchers engaged in exposing the secret world government of the Illuminati have concluded that Adorno wrote all the Beatles' lyrics. Writes Dr. John Coleman: "The Beatles were an integral part of "THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY," a living organism which sprang From "THE CHANGING IMAGES OF MAN," URH (489)-2150-Policy Research Report No. 4/4/74. Policy Report pre-pared by SRI Center for the study of Social Policy, Director, Professor Willis Harmon....Nobody would have paid much attention to the motley crew from Liverpool and the 12-atonal system of 'music' that was to follow had it not been for an overabundance of press exposure. The 12-atonal system consisted of heavy, repetitive sounds, taken from the music of the cult of Dionysus and the Baal priesthood by Adorno and given a 'modern' flavor by this special friend of the Queen of England and hence the Committee of 300." I'm not sure I can handle the truth.