Mauricio Kagel – Rrrrrrr … (1981-82) five jazz pieces
Carl Rosman, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone
Hannah Weirich, violin
Ulrich Löffler, piano
Janet Sinica, video
Hendrik Manook, sound design
Kagel’s Rrrrrrr… cycle consists not only of these five pieces but a total of 41, in six cycles for various instrumentations (organ; choir and piano; percussion duo; winds, double basses and percussion; voice and piano; and this trio, designated as a “jazz ensemble”) conceived in 1982 as a ‘radio fantasy’ for the WDR, in which Kagel imagines a radio listener tuning in to one station after another. Over the course of the entire cycle, the pieces have nothing much in common beyond their similar length (or rather: brevity) and the opening letter of their titles:
As I started to think about this piece, I imagined d’Alembert engaged in the tedious work on his Encyclopaedia, often nodding off over the pages of his manuscript, all of whose entries began with the letter R. In his half-sleep, the precise meanings of the definitions would overlap, very unscientifically, with the possibility of combining them by instinctive association, or in a way that blurs their sense.
Apart from the opening Rackett (whose title comes from the Renaissance wind instrument, although Kagel in his programme note also mentions the organ stop of the same name), the titles of these five pieces all have some sort of jazz connection, whether direct or tenuous.
Carl Rosman, November 2020