Kagel: Finale; …den 24.xii.1931

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COMPOSERS: Kagel
LABELS: Disques Montaigne
WORKS: Finale; …den 24.xii.1931
PERFORMER: Roland Hermann (baritone); Ensemble Modern/Mauricio Kagel
CATALOGUE NO: CD 782009 DDD
Born in Argentina, Mauricio Kagel has lived in Germany since 1957 and from being the youngest of the post-war avant-garde (the generation of Berio, Boulez, Ligeti, Nono, Stockhausen and Xenakis) he has evolved as the establishment’s joker, sanctioned subversive and a figure of eminence whose work has included film, theatre and radio plays. Mauricio Kagel 3 (1931) is the third disc of his music issued by the exciting Paris-based company Disques Montaigne, which specialises in present-day music.

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Finale, written for Kagel’s own 50th birthday, is a 20-minute piece for chamber orchestra which stages the composer’s collapse, comically interrupting a performance he conducts. …den 24.xii.1931 is a cycle of settings for baritone and small instrumental group which documents world events at the time of Kagel’s birth. His apparently bitty, casually surreal style of composition is often taken for flippancy, but it is really the diversionary tactic of a brilliant and original imagination, informed by a wide and solid culture.

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Neither work achieves a monolithic sense of form, but that’s intentional. Despite their sense of impermanence, they linger in the memory. Adrian Jack