'Bjorn Heile provides a wide-ranging and persuasive portrait of one of contemporary music's most prominent yet provocative senior figures. Kagel isn't easy to pin down, but this book manages it by demonstrating close familiarity with all the works discussed, and it conveys their essence, both visual and aural, clearly and engagingly. Touching on the wider musical and critical context as well, Dr Heile's book is the first to make plain Kagel's significance for an English-language readership, and it should leave its readers more eager than ever to explore this rewarding repertory.' Arnold Whittall, King's College, London. 'Astonishingly, this excellent book is the first in English about one of the most fascinating and paradoxical of living composers. Bjorn Heile's impressive survey reveals the extraordinary range of Kagel's work, from his anarchic inventions of the 1960s and '70s - embracing music, film, theatre, dance and radiophonic art - to an ironic yet sophisticated treatment of post-modern culture, culminating in concert music of lasting imagination and power. Despite Kagel's centrality to the European avant-garde, Heile finds enduring Argentinian characteristics: most audibly its dance music, more enigmatically a Borgesian surrealism in which fantasy replaces reality. Underlying Kagel's achievement, as Heile observes, "the wondrous and the absurd go hand in hand"' Richard Steinitz 'For the first time the whole Kagel, from the Argentinian beginnings to 2004... very readable book... In his own words, Kagel is trying to write music "which encourages thinking and has to complemented by thinking". Heile's monograph completely fulfils this demand. It is as useful for looking up factual information as for reflection - on a composer who, like no other, brings ideas to sensory perception. That is the best that can be said about a Kagel book.' Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik 'Kagel is a major cultural figure with a wonderfully rich output of work that shows little sign of abating as he enters his sixty-sixth year. Heile has done us a great service in opening up discussion of his work and aesthetic to an English-speaking, artistic and musical community, as befits its range and complexity.' The Art Book 'The book is comprehensive - as far as I can see he discusses every single piece Kagel has produced [...] and Heile's accounts of each work offer tantalising glimpses of musical riches to be explored... In just 174 pages Bjorn Heile has something to say about everything Kagel has produced between 1950 and 2006... Kagel may remain a minority taste but it will not be the fault of this admirable English primer.' The Musical Times '... the mediation between criticism and more traditionally oriented musicology proves highly successful. Heile's concise charcterizations of Kagel's works bespeak detailed knowledge of the composer's oeuvre (including sketch and manuscript materials) and its multiple contexts, and are clearly founded on a wealth of analytical and interpretive effort and critical reflection.' Studies in Musical Theatre '... an impressive tome, exhibiting a deep familiarity with Kagel's music along with its compositional and historical background... The Music of Mauricio Kagel is a commendable work, deserving a place in the personal libraries of musicians interested in contemporary art music written after 1950.' Notes '... easy to read...' IRASM '... the first book-length study of Mauricio Kagel to appear in English, and it does not disappoint. ...The comprehensive coverage offered in this volume enables the reader quickly to find reliable information about any score that Kagel composed before 2005, and to relate it to major strands within the oeuvre. It also consolidates the composer's reputation for sustained engagement with many of the central cultural issues of the late twentieth century. This is a fine book; Kagel is fortunate to have caught the attention of such a sympathetic and capable scholar.' Music and Letters 'a skillful monograph...[it] provides [an] insightful treatment of the main aesthetic currents that shaped the composer's career...deftly written...The Music of Mauricio Kagel deserves recognition as an extremely well-crafted and stimulating book.' Latin American Music Review
About the Author
Bjorn Heile is Lecturer in Music at the University of Sussex, UK.