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Mauricio KAGEL (b.1931)
Rrrrrrr... (1981/2)a
Metapièce [Mimetics] (1961)b
A deux mains (1995)b
Episoden, Figuren (1993)a
MM51 (1970)b
Passé composé (1992/3)b
Teodoro Anzellotti (accordion)a; Luk Vaes (piano)b
Recorded: Hans-Rosbaud-Studio, Baden-Baden, January 1997a and March 1997b
WINTER & WINTER 910 035-2 [67:43]


Some time ago, I reviewed another disc with music by Kagel (Æon AECD 0311) which also included some of the pieces from the radiophonic fantasy Rrrrrrr.... This cycle of forty-one pieces (all titles begin with the letter ‘R’) includes six pieces for organ which have been transcribed for piano (two and four hands) heard in the Æon disc and four of which have been transcribed for accordion by Anzellotti. This is Kagel at his most humorous and his most accessible. There is a good deal of wry humour and irony in these entertaining parodies. Episoden, Figuren for accordion is a much more serious, ambitious and, - I must admit - very successful piece, quite idiomatically written for the instrument and well worth having in Anzellotti’s superb reading.

The present release also includes several piano pieces of which the quite early Metapièce [Mimetics] of 1961 still clearly bears the imprint of the musical avant-garde of the early 1960s. It allows for some considerable freedom in that the notated material only gives some graphic proportions to which the player must nevertheless adhere strictly. It may also be played simultaneously with one or more compositions by Kagel or any other living composers. (In this case; the title of the piece becomes Mimetics [Metapièce], a typical touch of Kagel’s humour.)

MM51 was also included in the Æon disc. The piece, for piano and metronome (ticking at MM51), subtitled Ein Stück Filmmusik, is some sort of Schönberg’s Begleitungsmusik in a nutshell, so to say, ending with the pianist’s last breath. The various episodes suggesting clichés of film music are set against the implacable ticking of the metronome, which at times creates considerable rhythmical riot. Lightweight stuff, but could be entertaining in its own way.

Passé composé of 1992/3 is by far the most ambitious and substantial piano piece by Kagel. The composer describes it as "a piece of musical reflection on the rhapsodic labyrinth of memory". It certainly alludes to earlier piano music without really quoting any (at least, I did not notice any such quotes) and it seems conspicuously devoid of any theatrical element often found in Kagel’s music. The only "gimmick" asked for is that at the very end of the piece, the player switches a small, simple cassette player playing a soft section of the piece, as in a dream. The composer insists that sophisticated cassette player should be banned, but rather calls for some rough, imperfect sound reproduction. Yes, with Kagel, you never really know where you stand...

The most recent piece A deux mains, written as a test piece for the Secondo Concorso Pianistico ‘Umberto Micheli’, is Kagel’s first – and possibly sole – genuine morceau de concours. It comes as a real surprise, for this is a marvellous piece of fluid piano writing of great refinement and subtlety, a real gem indeed.

Impressive and dedicated performances by musicians who obviously enjoy Kagel’s often whimsical music. Teodoro Anzellotti’s playing is remarkably free from any vulgar touch that may sometimes be associated with accordion. His is reall classical accordion playing of the highest order. The Belgian pianist Luk Vaes has a long association with Kagel’s music. He actually commissioned Passé composé which he premiered in 1994. This beautifully produced disc provides for some interesting insight into Kagel’s protean music making.

Hubert Culot

This beautifully produced disc provides for some interesting insight into Kagel’s protean music making. … see Full Review


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