I would like to thank to Mr Peter Ličko for his time as well as for conversation that he provided me, because without them this work couldn´t be realized. I also thank him for furnishing me with groundwork for approximate list of compositions, which was written for this work for the first time
This essay is dedicated to composer Peter Ličko – man, who in spite of his huge musical gift, which was demonstrative from his childhood by his study on prestige music academy and last but not least by respectable quantity of compositions that has been composed, he still remain undiscovered and unknown in general public.
Main goal of my fork is to adumbrate and document roughly Ličko´s life (depicted mostly with lens of musical progress) and his work. My study involves basic biographic data, describes influences, that participated on forming of Ličko´s musical personality, interprets particular periods of composer´s´life as well as his musician´s tendencies, problems at his creation, (as technical as other) and analyzes his work from two aspects: styles of music and formal point of view.
By reason of absence of sources with regard to specific topic author proceed by reportorial way that means this essay was created on the basis of talks, which author hold with Ličko from March to May 2009. These interviews were rewritten and acquired pieces of information were worded into presented document. All citations included in this work come from interviews with Ličko, which were arranged just minimally by grammatical aspect, as Ličko doesn´t master Slovak language as right as his mother tongue – Hungarian language.
“Last time I have a feeling that my present situation, I hope what I do is quality, I don´t know, where I arrived at that I could never get to there if there weren´t many factors before my birth and during my life, seemingly negative influences, presently what I feel that they ate negative influences, but in the long term it resulted in this that what I do I do by my present way, I can mention oriental philosophy as well as Christian philosophy, which affirms that a man doesn´t have to despair of his current situation, or envy other man, because maybe 20 years later he will find that what was negative for him now, will be rewarding for his then.
“Consequently recently I live out little bit these things...“
With these words Peter Ličko began on one of our sessions. This sixty three years old music composer, working as the piano teacher and composition at Primary Art School in Hnúšťa experiences in past few years exceptional compositional boom. Presently he uses all his free time to compose, what considerably whittles away time to engage in not only pragmatic but also in practical problems. He is not able to make him visible by himself, what arise from his busyness on one side and from his nature on the other side. He has never been excellent in self-assertiveness, on the contrary his main features are naivety, absent-mindedness in everyday life and lack of assertiveness. All his attempts to show himself to the world ended badly. But he isn´t feeling blue, he says he is quite contempt, because pleasure in composing repays him everything. In connection with this feeling he talks about states of „ecstasy“ that he experiences during composing. Similar impressions were helpful for him in last years, when he was at the edge of material need. Ličko in spite of all rational arguments lives in his parental house. Although he cannot afford too much from his teacher´s salary, he says in last few months his situation is getting better.
Ličko´s grand father from his mother side came from Carpathian Hungarian family, in which have been several generations of reformed ministers of religion. He on his own was a doctor of laws and judge, but he was born in poor family at difficult conditions – even during his studies he had to tutor children from richer families to earn money for study. Whole family took a very conservative and nationalistic pro-Hungarian world-view. Grand mother from mother side came from southern Morava from mixed Hungarian family, her father came from central Hungary, where he held higher social position. In advance of the First World War his grandmother finished her studies at Lyceum in Bratislava, she worked as a teacher, but only for a short time, because she married.
His father Loránd Ličko came from Spiš, also from mixed family, in which predominate Hungarian family branch, but there were also German and Polish genes. He doesn´t mention grant parents from his father side, and as a occupation of his grand father he declares railway technician. Name Ličko probably come from Slovenia or from southern Europe, where it occurs largely, for example in Croatia there are several villages, which include name Ličko in its own names.
Loránd Ličko finished a low studies, but initially he wanted to become a music conductor. He had a good voice and his love for classical music he realized on his son. For predominant part of his live he was avowed communist, what cause him rather problems, because he did not agree with former regime, therefore he often switched his jobs. He worked as a lawyer, later as a teacher and head teacher at several schools. He did sports actively, competed at competitions on regional level and he engaged also in literature – he wrote novellas, tales and poems. In 1945 he married Ms Petrova, prospective mother Magdaléna, closely before end of the war.
Magdaléna studied Latin and French language in Budapest, but she couldn´t finish her studies because of the war. She left his first fiancée in Hungary after the border changed, because she couln´t come back to him. After wedding she finished her studies at conservatory and began to teach at school of music since 1949 meantime without competence. His mother played the piano Hungarian folk songs and czardases , his father led Peter to classical music. Apropos Ličko until know talks impassively about “magyar halgató” – czardas that played his grand father cheerily – because he considers them as too monotonous and uninteresting ones. He describes character of his mothers as temperament, extrovert, even gently silly. She liked meetings with girlfriends from the town with which he held some kind of gossipy sessions, on the other hand, she was in contact with upper classes. She could associate with society, often and with pleasure she took place at parties, balls and other social events.
Peter Ličko was born on 22-th of January 1946 in well-off Hungarian family. His father evidently wanted to raise him up in musical spirit, it is possible that it was inner compensation of his no materialized dream to become a music conductor. From his early childhood his father overplayed him from short play records the giants of classical music as – Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, and alongside it he explained his son what happens at each composition (for example 6-th symphony of Beethoven etc.). When young Peter was four years old, at swimming pool his parents noticed that their son sings some dozen different melodies, which he listened to records – beginning of Beethoven piano concert c-moll, parts of Beethoven 9th Symphony, beginning of 5-th symphony and piano concert F dur, Schubert Symphony C dur “The Great” – allegedly all of them sing in original tonality, in addition he remembered their names. After this manifestation, few years later, he was enrolled as a six and half year old to school of music in Rimavská Sobota. He was not standing at the beginning, but his results got better at some time at the second and third grade of studies. As ten years old he was listening to music from the morning to the evening and as Christmas present he asked exclusively (wholly) for books and records. In the year 1957 his parents registered him at school lap (level) of processual competition of musical schools, where he won the first prize. Curiously enough he won also a competition at district level (lap), regional level as well as at national level. Next year he won this competition again, but after that these competitions perished.
Beside of his practice at playing the piano by playing compositions, which are common at schools of music, he started compose his first compositions as a ten and half years old. He doesn´t call them compositions, because they weren´t scored, he had big problems with this and at his age nobody was there to help him. These improvisations kept in mind and played almost on the note exactly reflexed a music, that he listened to at that time and tried to imitate it. In those days arose compositions mostly in classicistic-romantic style, for example composition imitated Tchajkovskij in 1812, which was written in 1956 about heroic combat of Hungarians against Russians. Some of these piano improvisations were preserved until now on magnetic tapes.
From of view of personality Peter Ličko had always problems to integrate himself into team. As a childe he could hardly find some friends – they were mostly girls. It can be explained partly thereby that as only child he was at home only in contact with adults. He says it was his grand mother who practically raised him, as his parents were at work. For example grand father from childhood explained him scenes from the Old testament (what influenced his fantasy indelibly and it appeared in his compositions) and his father basics of physics and music. Mother dressed him very outdatedly, what did not help to his integration. He missed ability to live among his contemporaries, they considered him to be an odd fellow and mainly at primary school he was victim of derision and bullying. It finished during his studies in Prague, but reputation of crank or fool accompanies him to this day.
In the year 1960 in Ličko´s life occurred, as he says, grand break, which he perceived until recently very negatively. On recommendation of family friend Mr Juraj Szántó - who traced Peter from his youth – to enrol Peter to Conservatory in Prague, parents visited a head teacher of conservatory. He said if Peter decides go to Prague, he takes him certainly. Head teacher spoke about Peter as about exceptional talent. In this year Peter had to start studies of piano and composition, but by decision of ministerial act department of composition was cancelled and it began to operate again only 10 years later. At conservatory was open in 1962 facultative study group of composition. Ličko attended this club, but it apparently did not have neither adequate importance to force him to compose more seriously nor power to show him method of writing, therefore during his studies Ličko has not been composing. He talks about years he spent at conservatory as about period of lounging around. He was not delighted neither with majority of teachers, whose he rated poorly nor with students, who went to drink beer instead of attending classes. In spite of it he had a problems concerning to playing the piano, even twice he was threatened by exclusion from conservatory. Problems with playing practice were most likely psychosomatic ones. He knew very good that he did not have eligibility to become piano virtuoso – it eventually wasn´t his goal, because he always wanted to be a composer.
Ličko´s study at conservatory probably couldn´t turn out very good if teacher Kvapil didn´t raise him on high level in last years of study. He recommended young student to prolong his study by one year longer to prepare him responsibly for his university study, and finally he succeed in getting there. Kvapil wanted to get Ličko into Liszt Musical Academy in Budapest within students exchange programme among former socialist countries, but before it he had to be accepted by university in Czechoslovakia. In 1967 he was admitted to JAMU in Brno. After time he took intake examination – this time at Liszt Musical Academy. He wanted to get to the class of excellent professor Kadosa, but it didn´t seem good, because Kadosa accepted student only one time a two years and it was said that he already chose one schoolgirl. There were six students who took exam to Kadosa´s class and all of them were on very high level, among them also two schoolgirls from France and one student from Brazil. After exam Ličko was certain that he returns to Brno, he was packing his baggage, when Pál Kadosa came to him and said he was accepted by him to his class. It was huge surprise for Ličko and he hardly believed it for a moment.
2.4. Liszt Academy of Music
In the year when Ličko was admitted to academy in Budapest, there was open department of composition, but he was very disappointed, because he couldn´t study at it, since he had scholarship only for five years. He couldn´t choose not even study of musicology for the same reason. Finally he decided for teaching profession of playing the piano. Ličko again missed a teaching in the area of composition - what he perceived as the positive just later – it could be name as „favourable fate“ – concerning to his further musical compositional activity. He almost didn´t compose at conservatory and if yes it were always only beginnings of the compositions, literally several bars, for example five bars of orchestral composition. He finished only one and half compositions from three ones as well as only two bars of sonata for viola and piano. There were two reasons of his compositional absence: missing leading personality and awakening that his childhood style of composing is out-of-date. He was disoriented, because he didn´t know what contemporary tendencies in music were like and what music was at that time actual. Sometimes between primary school and his conservatory study there happened maybe ten to fifteen years long period, when he by world struggled to catch up music. In Rimavská Sobota, from where he comes from “there was hyper modern Debussy; Bartók, what was totally extreme and ordinary people couldn´t listen to a tall, but they didn´t know anything about Schőnberg, that he exists…“Ličko was progressively catching up music through Bartók, about whom he thought a while he was contemporary composer, later through Schőnberg, and finally through the fifties – from Stockhausen and Boulez until then present.
At Liszt Musical Academy Ličko permanently stayed in contact with composers – they had his best friends, because he shared one room with students of composition. He attended lectures at department of composition - they were available for everybody, certain period there gave a lecture also György Ligeti, whose lectures Ličko was written down dutifully. Under mentioned influence Ličko started to compose by himself, he finished one and half from five initially intended piano compositions, in 1969 he showed them to at the time unknown assistant of professor Kadosa, nowadays worldwide respected composer – Györg Kurtág: „Kurtág, had had eyes as…literally X-ray eyes. But he very correctly said what was right and was wrong. Altogether he didn´t mentioned too much that it is wrong, but he was right. If Kurtág didn´t say me it that time I could become a modest composer of avant-garde music of breakthrough of the sixties and the seventies, what was in Hungary. When I started to compose at the beginning of the seventies I could become an official composer of Husák´s age. All this totally paralyzed me for ten years. [...] But it was very good that it paralyzed me or that department of composition didn´t arise, that I was placed at the mercy of unknowness (strangeness), that nobody led me, what influenced me positively two times. Positive influence was that I didn´t become some official composer, that I didn´t compose and I started to compose only in the eighties, because all my feeling is oriented to these styles“.
Kurtág praised Ličko´s compositions from emotional point of view, tension, harmony, but he found faults absence of stable analyzable structure – he set him as an example Bartók, Schőnberg and Webern – however he added, this problem had beside of him also many composers of ninety and twenty century, speak nothing of beginners. During further week Ličko wrote two short compositions, which he wanted to show to Kurtág, but finally he didn´t, he was afraid because he considered him a major authority and personality with deep vision into musical field, as evidenced by fact that Kurtág´s criticism paralyzed Ličko as composer for at lest ten years.
2.5. Intermezzo I
After finishing Liszt Musical Academy in the year 1972, Peter Ličko has possibility to choose between teaching at conservatory in Bratislava or at Teachers' College in Nitra. He decided to go to college to Nitra, where he hot to musical isolation and ideologically problematic period of the seventies - normalization, joining a communists party and consequences issued from it that didn´t avoid him. Disappointment with low level of education and unfriendly attitude of faculty management he hold up by his work on modifications of folk songs for needs of students as well as by writing of theoretical work dedicated to different forms and levels of musical perception. He investigates also relations between cultural development and harmonic systems. In this period his interest in musical theory predominated above his effort to compose music. He deeply plunged into these problems, collected large amount of materials and he wrote several chapters, but his work still remains not completed, obviously for author´s return, respectively new beginning in the field of composition, which happened at the end of the twentieth seventies.
2.6. Comeback to composition
His com back partly related to political and personal pressures made on Ličko´s entity in Nitra. His former colleagues and head of department Ladislav Burlas, who worked at several schools at that time, recommended him to publish some work to alleviate this strain. „ ...he said something, some publication could be useful - I said I had some modifications of folk songs as well as children songs, but I wanted them in different styles. For example folk song á la Schőnberg, á la Ligeti, which he was interested in, therefore I started my work to issue them when I realized my modifications exceeded framework of folk songs as they became separate compositions...” Ličko didn´t manage to issue a collection of these modifications as early as he left a college. He used them at teaching at his further position – at conservatory in Žilina, where he stayed from 1980 until 1982. He taught here cadence and playing the piano, but mostly he worked as accompanist. At that time his first short instructional piano compositions emerged still for need of teaching. Compositions of short range, various piano parts and sketches, many of them completed only several years later.
Other factor of Ličko´s persisting at composition was change of paradigm in music that meant abandoning of purism of previous period. He fully realized it in 1983: „ ...I had always such ideal, not to stick with purism, with purity widespread in the twentieth fifties and sixties, you know, in this avant-garde not only in music, but also outside of music, in painting and so on, but little bit to mix it and just then this mixture started in second half of the twentieth seventies. [...] But I didn´t know about this change, it is interesting, I didn´t have any idea about postmodernism and some neo-trends. When I visited exposition from New York´s Museum in Budapest in 1983, I realized that what I did it went from my inside and it corresponded more or less with that period.....” It is not necessary to add that Ličko found himself in this turnabout. In the year 1982 he arrived to teach on Basic Art School to Hnúšťa, what meant for him come back to his country of birth. It was more than symbolic, that just here his compositional fervour bursted, which was from year to year more intensive.
In the twentieth eighties the first orchestral compositions emerged in sketches that were completed mostly at the end of decade. Afterward there were the piano parts, to which another musical instruments were supplied later. Whole process was obviously time-consuming, as Ličko missed composing and writing skills of instrumental parts at compositions for more then one instruments, even for orchestra. Despite it just at that time he started his work on longer cyclic series (it was again protracted several years lasting realization). One of main pieces of work of this period, as he declared, was long segmented composition named Universal World Symphony(further only UWS). At writing it he was inspired by composers as Charles Ives, Alexander Skrjabin and Edgard Varése: „Both of them struggled to create such world symphony or something similar… world oratory, but neither Skrjabin nor Ives didn´t finished it, supposedly just some sketches were left, allegedly Charles Ives nearly completed them, but nobody knows where the sketches are and Edgard Varése completed them only partially....” Ives´ Universe symphony, a title of which Ličko modified had to be musical story of creation of endless Universe, Skrjabin intended his Magnum opus Mysterium as one week lasting multi-medial collage that takes place at foothill of Himalaya. In UWS Ličko issues from fantastic visualizations of his childhood memories that relate to various places mostly from territory of Rimavská Sobota and its surrounding. He gains from the same source also at next large composition of early period, that has identical 70% of musical source –Twelve open areas in New Gemer. While UWS is conceived as one coherent chain, „open spaces“ create complex of twelve of each other separated symphonic poems. (There is an inspiration by Ives again – Three places in New England...) Compositions Voyage by drank ship and Terezin´s Requiem also belong to longer compositions of the twentieth eighties. First of them initially had to be only tutorial of composition in style of Boulez, finally it turned out to be a longer composition, what is typical for Ličko (likewise were created UWS and Terezin´s Requiem mentioned before). Above introduced compositions together with his composition Springtime (look at list of compositions) create main pillars of Ličko´s output of the twentieth eighties. He worked on them predominant part of decade and they were completed definitively about 1990 - 1992. Beside of them at that period he created number of short chamber, choral, and orchestral compositions. Creation of similar music (compositions of short range) preponderated at his work until half of the twentieth nineties, when he for the first time had opportunity to compose on PC.
2.8. Computers and pop
In 1996 he acquaints himself with work on personal computer of Michal Kňažek, at whom hre created salutary for town Hnúšťa. He coudn´t afford to buy meantime his own computer because of inadequate difference between salary of a teacher and high price of former almost technological miracle. Therefore from the beginning he found a refuge at several friends or pupils. At cooperation with Mr Berky (Ličko taught his children to play the piano) a longer ballet sequence on theme of fairy tale was created, which was ordered by Jaroslav Piliarik, director of MsKS in Hnúšťa. He but also another people from surrounding of author persuaded him to start to compose pop music. About an attitude to this genre Ličko says: „My father deliberately didn´t lead me to pop music, you know, everybody dips to this pop music, in which he grown up as a child or as a youngster in adolescence, and fact that he didn´t guide me to this [...]consequently I didn´t fall to any of these lines, but to the contrary I fell out from everything and now I feel myself e as I stand on the hill and pop music flows in front of me, therefore I am open to new and new influences [...] I do not say that I like it, that I, appreciate it, but I am open-minded, much more tolerant...” In further period, from half to three-quarters of a year a Ličko was exclusively dedicated to creating of pop music. He composed about fifteen compositions, from simple songs to techno compositions. Among them there arose interesting techno composition of more integrated trait, almost symphonic one, in which beside of techno basics, symphonic instruments are used. Influence of pop music from this moment emerges and mixes also into Ličko´s compositions from category of so-called art music.
In summer of 1997 Ličko bought his first PC, it is necessary to say that very unfavourably, because he had always problems with his simple-minded and non-assertive character. As he says, it must be very honest man, who do not outmanoeuvre him, because who wants to do it he succeed in it easily. With computer that was at that time not only overpriced, but also out-of-date he worked at his next compositions and progressively wrote down older compositions. With old non-professional software he has in further years never-ending problems – he cannot print complete score, but only limited number of instruments, to export quantity of written compositions to other software and so on. In spite of all mentioned negatives, computer becomes very important tool for Ličko – in his situation, when he is absolutely unknown and doesn´t have too much chance to demonstrate his compositions by professional musical ensemble, MIDI interface, in which he compose, enables him at least approximate imagination how could be his compositions sound live. Step by step he improves in technique of composition, he discovers and refines dynamic nuances as well as specific instrumental combinations issued directly from facility of MIDI device and sound. Influence of this virtual composition is notable also at his plan to make some of his operas with assistance of computer graphics – to add a visual component, artificial vocalizing etc. These plans spring from the fact that he simply doesn´t have other opportunity.
2.9. Intermezzo II
Between 1998 and 1999 Ličko again comes back to art music, which he makes now on computer. He composes many short orchestral and chamber compositions (also for solo instruments, oratorio compositions, creates signature tunes for towns as well as music for theatrical performances) and works at transition of longer compositions (UWS, 12 open spaces..., Voyage by drank ship...) of the twentieth eighties into musical software. In consideration of vast quantity of his works he has until now in computer only one third of his scored compositions.
If we have to evaluate what e new medium brought to him, and what direction goes his music in last few years, we can notice considerable inclination to scenic music, ballet, opera and musical. Maybe he was kicked off by his first musical written on theme of Harry Potter, nevertheless it's also a matter of culmination his train of thought, that ran for years and they materialized in series of operas, where Ličko´s philosophical attitudes and world-view are presented. He calls his philosophy as synthetic one, because it is synthesis of different, often antagonistic orientations, some kind of alternative New Age, that should create an arch between antagonistic worlds of materialistic/scientific and religious opinion.
Sometime around 2002 he receives impulses from his environment to do something, to elaborate a theme that could arose at least a little stir. Everyone believed it could help break a shell of musical isolation and get Ličko do awareness of (musical) public.: „At that time it was big boom that Harry Potter and later The Lord of the Rings, I said I will not do not do it.. prostitute, unless if it appeal me. So I red that first book of Harry Potter, afterwards The Lord of the Rings – I consider it as excellent literature until now, but that Harry Potter, it is very faint except of theme, which is interesting there in the first book that Harry Potter doesn´t know about himself, what wizard he is, therefore I said to myself I will try it – so I made such fantastic musical – opera, later on The Lord of the Rings, what already was an art music...“
Attempt to make visible himself wasn´t successful, although Ličko sent transcripts of musical Harry Potter to several places (mostly without response), event to England to company of J. K Rowlig, from where he received disapproving letter with enumeration of articles preserved copyright law. With regard to musical aspect in this musical are mixed neo-classicist and neo-romantic fragments with pop music. (more about Ličko´s style heterogeneity you can find below in section „Victor von Gesichtenstein“). Music written on theme of the book of J.R.R Tolkien with the same title - The Lord of the Rings originated at the same time as Harry Potter. It is symphonic ballet music on basics of styles of 20-th century, where neo-romantic even pop elements are mixed together again. At musicalization of the book Ličko came out from book, intentionally he didn´t want to watch movie do not to be influenced by it. He didn´t manage to read whole book template in time (he wanted to finish his work until end of July 2002) therefore he composed music always only for particular sections. For his own surprise composition was as a result compact. In 2007 he composed other version of Lord of the Rings as he watched a film, and he didn´t satisfied with his music that could be made in his opinion much more better. Initially he wanted to make a new version in style of original soundtrack, but result was again different from his intent. New version grows out from neo-romantic and neo-baroque roots.
In the year 2002 arose at intensive composing enthusiasm also opera Julia’s Poltergeist about posthumous wander of little girl who died on 9.11: „at that time I was composing for the first time extremely intensively... I could never believe it, I started to write Harry Potter in January and I completed it sometime at the end of February, at the same time I started Julia‘s Poltergeist – which was finished sometime in April, but in March I began Lord of the Rings...“ One year later arose ballet music on motive of the book of Imre Kertész – Fatelessness, prized by Nobel Prize. Piece of work is built up on progressive degradation of musical substance and its transition into minimalist areas what corresponds with state of mind of main character imprisoned in concentration camp. This ballet composition was for some time his last scenic music, in the years 2005-6 he composes again works of short range, however in respectable quantity (approximately 40 compositions a year!).
2.11. Gospel according to Ličko
Composition Temptation of Mrs Rowling is the first of series of fantastic operas, into which Peter Ličko implements his opinions. This tendency of inserting his opinions, considerations we can notice already at Julia’s Poltergeist, plot of which is mostly based on author´s conspiracies about September eleven. Also composition „1956 Nov. 4“ comes from beginning of the year 2006 and adapts a theme on which is author especially sensitive: „I wrote oratorio on theme of November fourth, where I practically blame the West for it –... it could be non sense to intervene with the use of military, it could be possible or maybe no, but politically they had to do something different, in other way to react on Hungary ...“ Temptation of Rowling is a piece of work, in which facts are mixed – first act is about Rowling´s live, period before her popularity etc. – and Ličko´s fantastic visualizations – second act about materialization of demon/devil who offer Rowling world supremacy and threatens to destroy all novel characters as well as readers, return to the past, to Liško´s childhood and resolution of plot. Immediately after finishing it Ličko starts his work on opera that he describes as philosophically-mystically-theological sci-fi. Its title Ramzes Pilátus Rébus comes from assumption that Bible contains various encrypted secrets and brain teasers. Couple of young researchers search for them and step by step they are discovering increasingly deep relations in conflict between chronically, documentarily written style of The New Testament and absence of historical evidences of Jesus existence at most renowned historians of that age. At conclusion they find out what happened at story of gospels, in version as author presents it – maybe it could be called Gospel according to Ličko. This opera has two instalments, first arose in 2008, one year after its creation. First episode with subtitle „Gospel of Maria Magdalena“ talks about bond between Maria and Jesus, from which arise children with miraculous abilities – they are Holly grail. They must overpower fallen demon, who wants return to past and make impossible up rise of Christianity. Second instalment with subtitle „Gospel of Jesus´children “ talks about Messiah´s children as they are defenders of Christianity, standing in background and help it at hard times, for example to widespread Christianity from small Roma province to whole empire.
Music of instalments Ličko composed in recordly short time of two months, what he compare to productivity of Mozart or Bach. Contrary of his ponderous and slow beginnings it is even hard to believe for himself. Pieces of work mentioned above are apparently important for him and he is able to speak long time about his hypotheses based partly on science facts, partly on his own conspiracies and considerations. As he says he has meditated about them already for 30-40 years and from the beginning of new century he more and more has returned to idea of his synthetic philosophy, basics of which he formulated at the end of the nineteenth sixties. Ličko´s thinking, influenced by „high“ culture - in literature or in music as well as by TV series and sci-fi movies, reflexes well his ideal of mixed music, where appear procedures rising from music of 20-th century, neo-romanticism or neoclassicism. Melodies for children as well as pop and techno – they are areas, in which Ličko goes till schmaltz.
2.12. Victor von Gesichtchenstein
Peter Ličko has, as was indicated on foregoing sections, quite large range of styles. Purism, monstrousness was always strange for him, he permanently inclined to musical mixture, fusion of different composition schools, more in dynamic than static music. Therefore hi found himself in post-modern music of the nineteenth eighties, that markedly confirmed his decision to compose again. His beginnings were obviously difficult, hi didn´t know from what end to start writing, but he felt that could be good to start with something what he new well: „ Accordingly I decided to start compose in classical style or like that... the nearest to me was Mozart, Schubert, therefore I wanted to start in such Mozart´s or Schubert´s style. So I started do some things, for piano also for orchestra, but after time I found out, that it was not stylish compositions in some style, because some things as if I could express more frankly in other style... in music of 20-th century and at that time I learned that they are so-called neo-trends... I says – but it is not neo-trend, because I am not a composer who gets rid of everything because of vogue – until then I composed á la Stockhausen and now I have to compose á la Schumann? Simply I didn´t agree with that. […] So I invented, but well later, I invented such virtual composer, whose I named Victor von Gesichtenstein...“
Victor von Gesichtenstein (further only VvG) is the first of Ličko´s compositian personalities. In surname we can find built in a name of Ličko, because Gesicht in German language means cheek, and Stain as a rock = Peter. He consistently made further destinies of his virtual composer up. Exploration of VvG life is continuously widespread, currently we know that he was born something in 1775. In first period of his life he composed in classicism. For a long time it was thought that he died, in 1838 was found out that he was treated approximately two years at medical institution for mental patients in Döbling next to Vienna. When he recovered, he started compose. He was extremely influenced by later paintings of J.M.W.Turner. His last compositions of nineteenth fifties on the base of romanticism by using of new elements evoke early Schőnberg and he basically prefigures music of twentieth century.
Second style line, which he signs by his own name, rises from the music of 20-th century, but from the beginning various styles are mixed in it (dodecaphony, punctualism, serialism, tember music, expressionism, etc.), there occur also neo-classicistic and neo-romantic components, in his latest compositions we can find also note: composed by Peter Ličko by using melodies from remains of VvG. He familiarized himself with music of last century through Hungarian Bartók radio, he was inspired by avant-garde film music. Range of used techniques correspond to quantity of styles in Ličko´s work pieces. He presents as a predominant one a technique of using big melodic leaps (high and deep around simple even repeated melody in the middle position. He uses also technique that he calls as super integrated super-symmetry, where he sets a specific tone as a centre and all fallowing tones above must be reflected in bass line. As a backing between two themes he usually uses quasi repetitive schematic procedures, he uses very often anagrams according to his own system, sometimes he composes whole composition from a short chain, as he says limitations have a beneficial effect on his creativity.
These trends implied above mingle in last few years more and more, what is well visible for example in Ličko´s drama music, in which appears also pop music, techno or various melodies for children. Beside pop he dedicates himself occasionally also to experimental and ambient music (he composed some 6 CDs).
Author of this text engages in his work in composer Peter Ličko, he begins with outline of his present situation, continues with information about his ancestors and childhood, when he gets to classical music under influence of his father. After descriptions of his first compositions/improvisations, musical successes, but also subsequent atrophy in composition this works is focused on Ličko´s sojourn at conservatory that he considered until recently as a negative in each meaning of this word. Stagnation at composition continued also at Liszt Musical Academy, where as a main impact Ličko indicates half an hour spent in Kurtág study room by analyzing his compositions. Further, from many viewing angles negative step was his leaving for college to Nitra, where annoyances about his join to communistic party start as well as pressures of employer. On the other hand there were created theoretical works about musical perception and Ličko started composer again. As the first arose modifications of folk songs for college. By writing of piano schools and compositional exercises, which occasionally expand to longer compositions, he slowly overcomes early difficulties. He composes in classical-romantic style as well as in styles of twentieth century. In the nineteenth fifties arise first large compositions and quantity of small ones. After attendance at exhibition of New York gallery in Budapest he finds out, that his style mixing is actual and he acquires self-confidence. In the nineteenth nineties he gains PC and begins to compose in MIDI interface. During this period composer compositionally acquaints himself with pop music. From the year 2000 he noticeably inclines to scenic work – to ballet, musical, and opera. In his effort to draw attention to himself he compose musical Harry Potter and ballet Lord of The Rings without success and reaction. Ličko apprizes too much his mystic-philosophic operas, in which he struggles to express his opinions of questions of extrasensory world, extra-terrestrials/ higher entities, the Saviour etc. They are influenced by scientific researches, world religions, men of letters and philosophers, as well as TV and sci-fi series, higher and lower cinematography.
In piece of work author beside of description of Ličko´s life connected with music engages also in main compositions of specific periods. However, at quantity of compositions (see list of compositions in supplement) obviously just slipped on surface of those most important. He tries to submit true image of main tendencies concerning a form as well as a style. Author considers that he succeeded in bringing near to reader personality of Peter Ličko in compositional respect and he believes in human respect also.
4. Citing sources
Author came in work from records of dialogues that he made with Peter Ličko from March to May 2009. All quotations of this work come from those conversations.
Martin Dúbravský, student of Masaryk Univerzity, Phylosophy faculty in Brno