When the Hungarian composer GyArgy Ligeti passed away in June 2006, he was widely feted as being one of the greatest composers of our time. His complete published works were recorded during his lifetime and his music continues to inspire a steady stream of performances and scholarship. Ligeti's Laments provides a critical analysis of the composer's works, considering both the compositions themselves and the larger cultural implications of their reception. Bauer both synthesizes and challenges the prevailing narratives surrounding the composer's long career and uses the theme of lament to inform a discussion of specific musical topics, including descending melodic motives, passacaglia and the influence of folk music. But Ligeti 'laments' in a larger sense; his music fuses rigour and sensuality, tradition and the new and influences from disparate high and low cultures, with a certain critical and ironic distance, reflected in his spoken commentary as well as in the substance of his music. The notions of nostalgia, exoticism and the absolute are used to relate works of different eras and genres, along with associated concepts of allegory, melancholy, contemporary subjectivity and the voice.