Jakub Józef Orliński

Jakub Józef Orliński
Jakub Józef Orliński, countertenor. Photo by M. Sharkey

Friday, March 11, 2016

Alexandre Tharaud plays Mauricio Kagel (Audio video)

Kagel's music is unlike anything else in 20th Century music, and defies any attempt at easy classification. It often revisits older music or various musical forms and styles in an overtly iconoclastic manner with some devastating black humour. It also has some theatrical gesturing. For Kagel, things are never taken for granted, even in works such as "Ludwig van", subtitled "Homage to Beethoven", conceived as a sincere homage to this composer. It includes a number of quotations from Beethoven's works and revisits them in a contemporary perspective, as if questioning them as to their actual present significance. The most obvious example of this is, I think, the eighth movement in which the final "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is hammered out by baritone and piano, as if asking whether Schiller's and Beethoven's generous, if utopian vision of universal brotherhood is still valid in our times. This score was originally written to accompany a film on Beethoven made during Beethoven year in 1970 and reworked as the present piece for small ensemble, baritone and small chorus.

"Rrrrrrr..." is a radiophonic piece (the composer calls it a Radio-Phantasie) made of forty-one autonomous pieces, all with titles beginning with the letter R as found in a musical encyclopaedia (e.g. ragtime, râga) and scored for various forces. Some of them, originally composed for organ, have been transcribed for piano (two or four hands), and are the ones recorded here. One of them (Rossignols enrhumés) is the most striking in that it has been transcribed for prepared piano, thus conjuring a mysterious sound world. The whole set is highly entertaining and not without a pinch of tongue-in-cheek humour.

"Der Eid des Hippokrates" ("Hippocrates' Oath") for piano (three hands) is yet another curious short work of black humour. One hand keeps softly drumming on the piano as if spelling the first words of Hippocrates' Oath. The very title of "Unguis incarnatus est" is another revealing example of Kagel's sense of humour (echoes of Satie here) in that unguis incarnatus is a medical term whereas the phrase incarnatus est, of course, originates from the Mass's Credo. It is written for piano and... (i.e. any bass sustaining instrument, in this case a double bass). It also includes theatrical gestures, especially at the very end, when the exhausted patient gives out his last breath. "MM 51" is for piano and metronome (set at Maelzel 51, of course). This short score is, so to say, a skeleton of Schoenberg's "Begleitungsmusik zu einer Lichtspielszene" although totally unrelated to it, musically speaking. The various musical episodes roughly follow some hidden scenario similar to that devised by Schoenberg and allude to some movie clichés of yesteryear. They unfold over the imperturbably ticking metronome (which sometimes cause rhythms to run riot) until the poor victim is brutally strangled at the end.

As already mentioned, Kagel's music is decidedly idiosyncratic, and its impact greatly depends on how one is likely to react to his emotional and musical content. It may amuse or irritate, it may fascinate or be frankly boring; but it never leave you indifferent.

Alexandre Tharaud and his colleagues put all their heart into this often whimsical music, and get deep under the surface of these often ambiguous works. Above all, and most importantly, they perform these pieces with utter earnestness. Aeon's production and recording are again excellent. Kagel devotees will need no further recommendation; others might have to sample this disc before eventually deciding whether this music is for them or not.

Source: Hubert Culot (musicweb-international.com)

Με χειρουργική ακρίβεια, αλλά και συχνά βέβηλο χιούμορ, ο Μαουρίτσιο Κάγκελ ανατέμνει τον μικρόκοσμο της μουσικής και αναδεικνύει την ανθρώπινη διάστασή του. Πρόκειται για τον μεγάλο μετρ της ανατροπής ως δημιουργικής πράξης και της ειρωνείας. Η μεθοδολογία του είναι απλή, όσο και συστηματική. Αναλύει τη μουσική πράξη στα συνθετικά συστατικά της και εργάζεται με κάθε ένα από τα στοιχεία αυτά ξεχωριστά. Οδηγώντας με μαθηματική ακρίβεια το «τι θα συνέβαινε εάν...» στις έσχατες συνέπειές του, σε μία εις άτοπον απαγωγή, δημιουργεί – με τον εκ νέου συνδυασμό τους – έναν κόσμο παράξενο όσο και οικείο, παράδοξο αν και ορθολογικό, μία τέχνη του παραλόγου, ισοδύναμη με αυτήν των Μπέκετ, Ιονέσκο και Αραμπάλ.

Ο Γάλλος πιανίστας Αλεξάντρ Ταρό, ένας από τους μεγαλύτερους πιανίστες της γενιάς του, ερμηνεύει (με τη συμμετοχή σπουδαίων μουσικών) έργα του Μαουρίτσιο Κάγκελ. Η ηχογράφηση έγινε στο Ινστιτούτο IRCAM, στο Κέντρο Ζωρζ Πομπιντού στο Παρίσι, τον Δεκέμβριο του 2002 και κυκλοφόρησε σε ψηφιακό δίσκο την επόμενη χρονιά από την ανεξάρτητη δισκογραφική εταιρεία Aeon.

Alexandre Tharaud plays Mauricio Kagel

Mauricio Kagel (1931-2008)

1. Rrrrrrr... (1980-1981), transcription for two and four hands
i. Ragtime-Waltz
ii. Rondeña (piano four hands)*
iii. Rosalie
iv. Rossignols Enrhumés (prepared piano)
v. Râga
2. Ludwig van (1969), for small ensemble, baritone and small chorus
3. Der Eid des Hippokrates (1984), for piano three hands*
4. Unguis incarnatus est (1972), for double bass and piano
5. MM 51 (1976), for metronome and piano

Alexandre Tharaud, piano

Philippe Bernold, flute
Hervé Joulain, horn
Eric Le Sage, piano*
Marc Marder, double bass
Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello
Ronald van Spaendonck, clarinet
François Le Roux, baritone
Choeur Rémusat

Recorded at IRCAM, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, December 2002

Aeon / Rewind 2003

(HD 1080p – Audio video)

First publication: March 3, 2016 – Last update: June 25, 2018

Mauricio Kagel (Photo by Guy Vivien)

"No one believes in God any more, but everyone believes in Bach."
— Mauricio Kagel

An artist's originality depends less on ingenious invention than a strongly personal point of view. Mauricio Kagel (December 24, 1931 - September 18, 2008) held a unique position in music of the last half century.

While widely celebrated elsewhere, in Britain he remained perhaps the least well known of the great post-second world war avant garde composers. Only Luigi Nono was comparably under-exposed; Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, György Ligeti and Iannis Xenakis all, to some extent, reached a wider public.

Kagel's originality reflects his status as an outsider. Born in Buenos Aires, he came from an Argentine-Jewish family of leftist political views. He did not study music at university or conservatory, but privately with several teachers – none for composition, incidentally – and he studied philosophy and literature at the University of Buenos Aires, where the poet and short-story-writer Jorge Luis Borges was one of his lecturers. Kagel became a repetiteur at the famous Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and music adviser at the university, as well as being editor of cinema and photography for the journal Nueva Visión.

Film remained a practical interest after Kagel moved to Cologne in 1957 on a West German government scholarship. He lived there for the rest of his life, with frequent trips abroad as a guest professor or artist-in-residence.

By the mid-1950s Cologne was one of the great centres of avant garde musical experiment, where Stockhausen was king, but Kagel came to succeed, or replace, him as a magnet for aspiring composers at the Hochschule, and instituted a new course in music theatre.

Although Kagel had no formal education in composition, he acquired a mastery of new vocal and instrumental techniques with surprising speed. Anagrama, a large-scale piece for solo singers, speaking chorus and instrumental ensemble, was written only one year after Kagel's arrival in Cologne and remains one of the most striking and inventive pieces of its time; it may even have had an influence on Stockhausen's Momente and Berio's Laborintus II.

Mauricio Kagel (Photo by Guy Vivien)
In spite of its innovative vocal sounds, Anagrama is "pure" music, and Kagel continued to compose – with increasing frequency – pure music throughout his life. But his whole output, which includes film as well as various forms of "music theatre" (a combination of scenic action and music) or "instrumental theatre" (where musicians take on the role of actors as they play), is, in essence, concerned with comic reflections on the decay of tradition. Irony and cinematic techniques in music had been used by Satie and Debussy long before Kagel was born, but despite the example of Dada, no composer has so systematically explored the absurd aspects, not just of classical music, but of the whole culture industry.

There is hardly an aspect of contemporary culture that Kagel has not playfully pulled to bits and reassembled like a Heath-Robinson contraption: "early music" was desiccated in Musik für Renaissance-Instrumente (1966), opera and ballet turned inside-out in Staathstheater (1970), Country Music and Nostalgia affectionately travestied in Kantrimiusik (1975), colonialism (characteristically reversed as non-Europeans invading the Mediterranean) lampooned in Mare Nostrum (1975; revised in 1997), the circus celebrated in Variété (1977) and totalitarianism caricatured in Der Tribun (1979) – a harangue which is perhaps too much like the real thing. More recently, The Pieces of the Compass Rose (1988-94) reflect the paradoxes of "world music" with amiable nonchalance.

There have also been tributes-with-a-difference to other composers: the film Ludwig Van celebrated the bicentenary of Beethoven's birth in 1970 with a burlesque representation of the kitsch cultural tourist industry in which, effectively, Beethoven became a mere consumer product. In Variationen ohne Fuge (1972), Brahms and Handel once more join battle, as they had, very differently, in Brahms's Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Handel. Stravinsky is grist to Kagel's mill in Fürst Igor (1982), and Debussy in Interview Avec D (1994), in both of which Kagel re-creates, in ghostly form, music of the past, bearing a relation to it much like Miss Havisham to her wedding day.

Mauricio Kagel (Photo by Guy Vivien)
For the tercentenary of JS Bach's birth in 1985, Kagel composed his Sankt-Bach Passion – a perfectly respectful re-enactment of Bach's own life in the manner of one of Bach's Gospel settings. Kagel characteristically quipped, "No one believes in God any more, but everyone believes in Bach", a half-truth, as he would surely have admitted.

If this suggests something like "postmodernism", the term had not been invented until long after Kagel had established his particular brand of cultural criticism. But with 1978, which he wrote for the 75th anniversary of the leading German recording company, Deutsche Grammophon, Kagel's music took a new turning in which he seemed to kick over the traces of the postwar avant-garde. The music had regular (ish) rhythms and a certain sense of key centre, or tonality (of a sort). The deliberately gruff and dirty sound, the chug-chug rhythms suggesting ailing machinery, have remained characteristic of his music ever since. Oliver Knussen, who has conducted a fair amount of Kagel's music both with the London Sinfonietta and abroad, comments that his scores are extremely precise – and certainly, if Kagel's music moves with all the grace of an ugly duckling, it is none the less minutely calculated. Nor is it easy to imitate, though his influence as a teacher has been absorbed on deeper levels by several of his pupils – Gerald Barry, Chris Newman and David Sawer among them.

In Germany, the Netherlands and France, his music was repeatedly featured in major festivals. This did not make him any more attractive to the BBC, even though he was one of the leading creators of the Hörspiel – a term indicating not so much a radio play as the sort of indefinable radiogenic creation featured in Radio 3's series, Between the Ears. As far as recordings go, Deutsche Grammophon and later the Paris-based company Disques Montaigne released discs of Kagel's music almost as a matter of course, often in collaboration with West German Radio.

In 2001 the Royal Academy of Music in London courageously mounted a big overview of the composer's work, with student performers. Before that, in the 1990s, the Almeida Festival in north London promoted some of the big concert pieces, as well as Variété (with circus artists from Hoxton) and Eine Brise (with 111 cyclists). This last work resurfaced on the Suffolk coast when Thomas Adès made Kagel a featured composer in the 2003 Aldeburgh festival. But there are many pieces in which musicians have to act and do all sorts of things they were never trained to do. These demand a certain kind of intensity and deadly earnestness to make them effective; something perhaps more often found in Germany.

The very specific requirements of the early theatre pieces may well pose an archaeological musicology puzzle in the future, but there is a large enough corpus of precisely and traditionally notated music with strong poetic resonance to ensure Kagel a highly honoured place in any pantheon.

Kagel is survived by his wife Ursula and daughters Pamela and Debora.

Source: Adrian Jack, September 2008 (theguardian.com)

Mauricio Kagel

«Κανείς δεν πιστεύει στο Θεό πια, αλλά όλοι πιστεύουν στον Μπαχ.»
— Μαουρίτσιο Κάγκελ

Ο Μαουρίτσιο Κάγκελ υπήρξε ο συνθέτης που κατάφερε να πλάσει, σχεδόν εξαρχής, το είδος του μουσικού θεάτρου του 20ού αιώνα, ενώ δίδαξε τη «νέα μουσική» που ενσωματώνει στοιχεία σκηνοθεσίας, σκηνογραφίας και φωτισμών.

Ο Μαουρίτσιο Κάγκελ, εβραϊκής καταγωγής, γεννήθηκε την παραμονή των Χριστουγέννων του 1931 στο Μπουένος Άιρες. Στη γενέτειρά του σπούδασε μουσική, ιστορία της λογοτεχνίας και φιλοσοφία. Ένας από τους δασκάλους του ήταν ο Χόρχε Λουίς Μπόρχες. Στα 26 του, άφησε την Αργεντινή για να πάει στη Γερμανία μεταφέροντας εκεί το όραμά του για ένα συμπίλημα μουσικής και θεάτρου, με πολλά κοινά στοιχεία με το «σκοτεινό» και δηκτικό γερμανικό καμπαρέ του Μεσοπολέμου. Αυτή τη «νέα μουσική» υπηρέτησε σε όλη τη μουσική καριέρα του και αυτήν δίδαξε στο Μουσικό Κολέγιο της Κολωνίας όπου ίδρυσε το Kölner Ensemble für Neue Musik.

Στο μεταξύ, τα έργα του, το νέο μουσικό θέατρο που πρότεινε, πάντοτε με δυνατή θεατρική πλοκή, εντυπωσιακά στοιχεία και δυνατούς διαλόγους – στον αντίποδα των κάποτε αφελών ή απλοϊκών λιμπρέτων της όπερας – είχαν υιοθετηθεί από τα μεγαλύτερα λυρικά θέατρα του κόσμου. Έργα του, που ήταν συνήθως μικρής διάρκειας, ανέβασε και στην Ελλάδα η Εθνική Λυρική Σκηνή από τη δεκαετία του 1960, όταν το κύμα της «νέας μουσικής» είχε γίνει μόδα – και δη κυρίαρχη – στην Κεντρική Ευρώπη.

Πολυσχιδής και πολύπλευρη καλλιτεχνική προσωπικότητα ο πολυβραβευμένος Μαουρίτσιο Κάγκελ υπήρξε και σκηνοθέτης, λιμπρετίστας, μαέστρος και τα τελευταία χρόνια ένας από τους πλέον περιζήτητους μουσικοπαιδαγωγούς στην Ευρώπη. Επίσης, έγραψε μουσική για ταινίες, καθώς και για ραδιοφωνικά έργα.

Ο Μαουρίτσιο Κάγκελ πέθανε στην Κολωνία στις 18 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008.

Πηγές: tanea.gr, el.wikipedia.org

Mauricio Kagel (Photo by Guy Vivien)
Ο Μαουρίτσιο Κάγκελ είναι, ίσως, ο συνθέτης, που επινόησε και διαμόρφωσε καθοριστικά το νέο μουσικό θέατρο. Θεωρείται, επίσης, ο κατεξοχήν κοινωνιολόγος της μουσικής: δεν υπάρχει τομέας της μουσικής δραστηριότητας, από τη σύνθεση έως την εκτέλεση, τα ήθη τα έθιμα και τις παραδόσεις της ζωντανής μουσικής, που να μην έχει αποτελέσει υλικό και στόχο της μουσικής του.

Με χειρουργική ακρίβεια, αλλά και συχνά βέβηλο χιούμορ, ανατέμνει τον μικρόκοσμο της μουσικής και αναδεικνύει την ανθρώπινη διάστασή του. Πρόκειται για τον μεγάλο μετρ της ανατροπής ως δημιουργικής πράξης και της ειρωνείας. Η μεθοδολογία του είναι απλή, όσο και συστηματική. Αναλύει τη μουσική πράξη στα συνθετικά συστατικά της και εργάζεται με κάθε ένα από τα στοιχεία αυτά ξεχωριστά. Οδηγώντας με μαθηματική ακρίβεια το «τι θα συνέβαινε εάν...» στις έσχατες συνέπειές του, σε μία εις άτοπον απαγωγή, δημιουργεί – με τον εκ νέου συνδυασμό τους – έναν κόσμο παράξενο όσο και οικείο, παράδοξο αν και ορθολογικό, μία τέχνη του παραλόγου, ισοδύναμη με αυτήν των Μπέκετ, Ιονέσκο και Αραμπάλ.

Η εξαιρετική επιτυχία της εκτέλεσης του έργου του "Anagrama", το 1960, όπως και των "Apparitions" του επιστήθιου φίλου του Γκιόργκι Λίγκετι, στο Φεστιβάλ της Διεθνούς Εταιρείας Σύγχρονης Μουσικής (ISCM), σηματοδοτεί το τέλος της πρωτοκαθεδρίας των σειραϊστών στην ευρωπαϊκή σκηνή της σύγχρονης μουσικής. Σε πολλά από τα έργα του, ο Κάγκελ χρησιμοποιεί σπάνια, ασυνήθιστα ή και αυτοσχέδια μουσικά όργανα και ηχογόνα αντικείμενα. Το 1970, δημιουργεί το έργο "Ludwig Van" για τον εορτασμό των 200 χρόνων από τη γέννηση του Μπετόβεν. Σχολιάζοντας τη χρήση της μουσικής του στη σημερινή εποχή, δημιουργεί ένα κολάζ, όπου οι παρτιτούρες των έργων του χρησιμοποιούνται ως ταπετσαρία των τοίχων και των επίπλων.

Έχει σκηνοθετήσει περισσότερα από είκοσι φιλμ, τα περισσότερα βασισμένα σε έργα του και δεκαοκτώ έργα ειδικά για ραδιοφωνική μετάδοση. Πολλά από τα έργα του έχουν ως αφετηρία κάποια εγκυκλοπαιδικού τύπου γνώση. Έτσι, για παράδειγμα, για τη «Μουσική για αναγεννησιακά όργανα» (1966) συνθέτει ξεχωριστά μουσικά μέρη για κάθε ένα από τα όργανα που αναφέρονται και εικονογραφούνται στη σχετική πραγματεία του Μίχαελ Πρετόριους, "Syntagma Musicum".

Πηγή: naftemporiki.gr

Alexandre Tharaud

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Alexandre Tharaud – All the posts

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