György Ligeti is considered as one of the most important representatives of the postwar avant garde, next to Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luciana Berio and Iannis Xenakis. While the science fiction classic 2001: A Space Oddyssey created publicity for Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra in particular, most of the impressive music comes from Ligeti's Atmosphères and his Requiem. Ligeti's somber sounds could also be applied to happier things: in his obscene and death-defying opera Le Grand Macabre he would mock the horroreffects of experimental music in a hilarious manner.
Ligeti's maniac experiments often exceeded the human measure (think of his virtuoso Etudes for piano). Perhaps his most consequent work is the purely mechanic Poème Symphonique for 100 ticking metronomes. Legend goes that its première was recorded only to be archived with the note: never to be broadcasted again!