Mauricio Kagel – Phantasiestück (1987)

Schumann became a potent inspiration for Kagel, in terms of the highly speculative Romanticism embodied in his musical language as well as his distinctive approach to matters of form. Hence Phantasiestück, composed during 1987–88 and which exists in versions for flute and piano or as accompanied by an instrumental ensemble. The ‘solo’ version sets off with a capering manner with flute and piano breezily exchanging rhythmic gestures. There follows a slower section in which the dialogue is more plaintive, followed by a martial passage with the flute blowing into and the pianist tapping on the outside of their respective instruments. Next comes a more conventional yet highly appealing dialogue where the composer’s trademark wit can be heard at its keenest, gradually thinning out to leave quietly syncopated gestures on piano to which the flute responds with a reticence that, in its turn, makes way for an increasingly hectic interplay that breaks off to leave the reticent gestures much as before. A brief passage of virtual breathing from the flute leads into the final section, in which the two instruments equably pursue each other in a melody such as could almost have a folk or traditional source, the music gradually taking on an expressive poise that sees the work conclude in a mood of barely ruffled calm. [Source]


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