Ligeti’s Etude No. 5, “Arc-en-ciel,” Khatia Buniatishvili

György Ligeti composed a cycle of 18 solo piano études between 1985 and 2001. Étude No. 5 from Book 1 is titled Arc-en-ciel, or “rainbow.” Its lines rise and fall in glistening, ephemeral arches of color and light, and ultimately evaporate. Ligeti provides the additional marking, Andante con eleganza, with swing. Ligeti, who has acknowledged the influence of Thelonius Monk and Bill Evans once called Arc-en-ciel “almost a jazz piece.” The hazy, magical vocabulary of jazz is evident in the work’s harmonic structure.

This performance by Khatia Buniatishvili comes from her album, Labyrinth, released in October:

Without asking Ligeti’s permission, Stanley Kubrick used the atmospheric Lux Aeterna in his iconic 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. We explored this haunting example of micropolyphony in a previous post. More recently, we listened to another choral work by Ligeti, Clocks and CloudsThe Hungarian-born György Ligeti (1923-2006) created some of the twentieth century’s most haunting and ethereal music.


  • Ligeti: Études, Book 1: No. 5, Arc-en-ciel, Khatia Buniatishvili Amazon

Featured Image: A closeup shot of the Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, designed by Eero Saarinen

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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