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Kagel: Music for Renaissance Instruments Import

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding 7 Oct. 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
If you don't know the music of Mauricio Kagel, then you're in for a shock. If you know it, you still won't have heard anything quite like this before (which of course is precisely what you'd expect with Kagel anyway). The recordings are reissues from the 60s and 70s, and Kagel's 1898 was commissioned by Deutsche Gramophone to celebrate the company's 75th anniversary. The idea behind the work is rather typical Kagel - an attempt to recreate the intensity, tinny noise and wiriness of what recordings from 1898 sounds like, but also the musical culture of the time, a culture in which one, according to the composer, `inhaled tonally and exhaled atonally', all set in a very amateur workshop-like framework with room for improvisation with respect to actual pitches and textures - and using a bunch of musically untrained kids from a nearby school to sing (mostly gleefully off-key), laugh and make various sounds. To further boost the surreal textures, Kagel adds four string instruments of his own device.

Does it sound silly? In fact, the end result is a marvelous and utterly compelling work of music (or at least artwork), intense and full of surreally wonderful and multifaceted textures. The first entry of the kids, for instance, is stunningly effective, but the whole 50 minute work has no problem sustaining interest (even if it is taxing enough that a break between the sections might be recommended). I am willing to name it one of the most impressive modern works I have heard in a long time. Some people would surely claim that I am being fooled, and perhaps I am (actually not unlikely, given that this is Kagel), but that doesn't affect my impression of this work. Astounding.

Music for Renaissance Instruments is a raucous, grinding work for a large ensemble of various renaissance instruments treated with little reverence and for maximum effect. Or rather, this happy mauling of instruments and forms is indeed pervaded with the `breath of the past', in Kagel's own words, but in a manner that sounds like it actively attempts to engage with the dust of the museum. Despite the gorgeous, joyful and intermittently ... hmmm ... minacious, perhaps, kaleidoscopic tapestry of sound, it isn't quite as profoundly impressive as 1898, but it is still an effective artwork. Again the playing is, apparently, committed, and both works come with good notes and appropriate sound quality. Really, while this issue might in the end not quite be a disc for everyone, I really urge you to try it.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One New Kagel, One Old Kagel... 9 Nov. 2000
By John Atwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD 5 months ago, listened to it a couple of times and put it away for a while. I loved the Old Kagel, but the New Kagel (embracing frank tonality, and not necessarily tongue-in-cheek) is perplexing sometimes, boring other times.
First the Old Kagel. The second piece, Music for Renaissance Instruments, is the original recording from 1967 that was released on vinyl by DGG in 1969. This is the experimental period that Kagel is well known for, the hallmark of which is relentless exposure of unique, thrilling timbres and registers. The tempo is not so fast that you miss the gorgeous sound pallette, but not so slow that you lose interest. It's good to have this recording finally available on CD.
The newer piece is called "1898". It was written in 1973 as a commission for DGG's 75 anniversary. Actually the work is not that new, chronologically, but it represents a different direction for Kagel, which is why I use the term New Kagel. It quotes music that was popular in 1898, but to no real music purpose that I can hear. The children's chorus doesn't sing - instead, the children mumble and giggle, on cue, throughout the length of the two movements. The effect is actually liberating - for a while. But it soon becomes cloying and tiresome.
I think Music for Renaissance Instruments itself is worth the price of the CD, as they say. And maybe you'll derive more satisfaction out of "1898" than I did.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds equisite 22 Jun. 2004
By Luke birkla - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The sounds of a rennaisance ensemble in Music for.... is absolutely divine. I have never heard such a suprising, intriguing, alarming yet convincing musical tapestry, woven together by the sheer exuberance of Kagel's uncompromising musical language.
This was my first cd of Kagel...Ihope it will be yours!
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars something very interesting 15 Oct. 2003
By stephen jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This was the first time i heard Kagel music (wow). To my ears this never gets boring.
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