News Ligeti's sonata for solo cello on the new album of Tamás Zétényi

In May 2023, BMC Records celebrates György Ligeti, born 100 years ago, with a new contemporary classical release: the first solo CD by cellist Tamás Zétényi features two solo sonatas by the world-famous Hungarian composer.

An intense and highly sought-after cellist on the Hungarian classical, contemporary, and improvisation scenes, for his first solo disc Tamás Zétényi has selected some of the most important solo string instrument pieces of the twentieth century: this album features solo sonatas by Kodály and Ligeti. In three works by two Hungarian composers, we can trace how the solo string genre, founded by Bach, was suddenly revived in the twentieth century. Kodály’s grandiose cello sonata intones with the intimacy of a soliloquy, deploying folk-music inspiration and the new harmonic world of Impressionism alongside the Bachian prototypes. Kodály was undoubtedly an influence on Ligeti, who however in his own cello sonata followed leaner structural principles and Bartókian models. Ligeti’s late work, the viola sonata, which summarizes his oeuvre and forges an alloy of new tonality and folk melodies of the Carpathian Basin, is here heard in Tamás Zétényi’s own transcription, released here with the consent and approval of Vera Ligeti, the composer’s widow and heir.

Each year Tamás Zétényi plays in several dozen chamber music and ensemble programmes, primarily as cellist with Classicus Quartet and Classicus Ensemble, and Trio Passacaglia.  Since 2020 he has regularly performed with jazz guitarist Gábor Gadó, and his CD recorded as a member of the Gábor Gadó –  Veronika Harcsa Sextet is released this year on the BMC Records label. Tamás Zétényi also regularly gives solo concerts in Europe and the USA. As a committed performer of contemporary music he maintains an active working relationship with countless composers, and gives dozens of world premieres each year. His transcriptions of classical works are published by Editio Musica Budapest. His new album is available on Spotify and other streaming platforms from 26 May, and can be ordered in CD format from the website of BMC Records.