Saturday 21 February 2009

Quote For About Two Thirds Of The Way Through February

Mauricio Kagel

Anagrama was a spectacular success when first performed at the ISCM Festival in Cologne on 11 June 1960, but since then passed into near-oblivion. To have it performed at all, Kagel had to lobby for a change in the ISCM's rules as pieces had to be proposed by the national organisations, and Kagel was considered 'stateless'. (In ensuring that individual composers could propose pieces, Kagel also made possible the inclusion of of Ligeti's Apparitions at the same festival; Toop 1999: 72; Steinitz 2003: 98.)
Anagrama was performed at the same concert as Stockhausen's Kontakte, and led to tensions between the two composers that according to Ligeti, disunited the whole European avant-garde. What happened was that at a post-concert reception at the home of the owner of the DuMont publishing house, Ernst Brücher, everybody was only talking about Anagrama, and nobody about Kontakte, which the touchy Stockhausen appears to have taken personally - even though Kagel was one of the few who did talk to him about his piece (Kurtz 1992: 203f.; Toop 1999: 72). The reversal of fortunes, whereby Kontakte is now almost universally hailed as one of the foremost masterpieces of the time, whereas Anagrama is all but forgotten, remains to be explained.
The Music of Mauricio Kagel; Björn Heile (pg21)

UPDATE: You can get a free recording of Anagrama plus other Kagel pieces from the Avant Garde Project archive, volumes 40 and 41. (Anagrama is in AGP40).

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