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Mauricio Kagel 2 Zwei Akte; Rrrrrr…: 5 Jazz Pieces; Blue's blue Mauricio Kagel (voice & glass trumpet) Michael Reissler (clarinets and saxophones) Brigitte Sylvestre (harp).Geoffry Wharton (violin) Theodor Ross (guitar).Kristi Becker (piano) Disques Montaigne CD 782003
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Born in Buenos Aires and living in Europe since 1957, Mauricio Kagel became Professor of New Music Theatre in Cologne in 1974 and has often brought his music theatre works to UK (Huddersfield and Almeida Festivals, South Bank Centre). Zwei Akte (1989) [q.v. Seen & Heard, Richard Whitehouse's review of a July 1999 performance in London] has the saxophone and harp (both employing extended techniques) exploring the changing roles assumed by the male and female protagonists on stage; brimming with imagination, sustained for half an hour. The 6 short jazz pieces come from a collection of 41 pieces all beginning with the letter R, together comprising a Radiophantasie 'Rrrrrrr…'. John Blue was a jazz singer whose recordings captivated Kagel in boyhood and led him into playing jazz. In Kagel's musico-ethnological reconstruction he sits with his colleagues listening to an ancient, scratched record of John singing All is blue on Blue's lips and they indulge in imitative improvisation "like a self-replenishing pantry at the open grave of acoustic archaeology", which I found strangely absorbing and moving.

A companion CD Kagel 1 (Auvidis Montaigne MO789004 purchase) is recommended by Richard Whitehouse in his concert review; besides the 3 String Quartets (Arditti Quartet) it includes a unique quintet, Pan for piccolo and string quartet. The performances, presentation and production of both these CDs are superb.


Peter Grahame Woolf

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