The movement begins with a seven-note ostinato in the left hand that Ligeti indicates should be rhythmically and dynamically independent from the right hand. The right hand carries a folk-like melody that is first heard alone in single notes before it gets juxtaposed in a loose canon with various transformed versions of itself, producing a lively counterpoint with rich harmonies and a sense of rhythmic freedom. Eventually, both hands move up an octave, significantly lightening the texture. The piece concludes with the right hand taking over the ostinato at a yet higher octave; the ostinato progressively loses notes until it is only a trill on F and G which proceeds to fade away to silence.
These six pieces were originally part of a collection of 12 bagatelles composed for piano between 1951 and 1953. In 1953, Ligeti transcribed six of the bagatelles for a wind quintet made up of flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon. With the exception of the second and fifth bagatelles, these are quick, spirited little pieces. They reflect Ligeti's economical approach to composition, as a minimum number of notes are used to maximum effect. The bagatelles are often texturally sparse, with most of the notes either played staccato or strongly accented to create cool but insistent music. The dynamics change frequently, sometimes several times in each bar, and the instruments are often called on to play muted, adding different colors to each piece. Ligeti's bagatelles employ some harsh dissonances and complex ideas; however, they are also very moving and accessible little chamber pieces that explore both the expressive and the purely musical potential of a limited amount of material.
These six character pieces come from Ligeti's famous piano cycle 'Musica ricercata'. Now wild, now cheerful, now contemplative, now excited - each of these miniatures is an unmistakable gem.The minimalist bagatelles already exist in popular arrangements for wind quintet, wind ensemble and accordion. Their new arrangement for saxophone quartet by Fabio Oehrli sounds very convincing, as if the composition has almost been made for this instrumentation. 153554b96e