chapter
17 Pages

2 Beginnings in Cologne: Serialism, Aleatory Technique and Electronics

Mauricio Kagel's combinations of serial technique with chance and indeterminacy are hardly exceptional at the time, although he may have felt less bound to a European tradition, and therefore freer to embrace Cage's ideas than most of his peers. Thus, instead of using serial technique in order to create coherence and self-similarity, as is implicit in most integral serialist aesthetics, notably those of Stockhausen and early Boulez, Kagel's techniques and procedures seem designed to produce multiplicity, heterogeneity and chaos. On the whole, then, there is little to suggest that Kagel was at odds with the principles of integral serialism adumbrated by the Cologne and Darmstadt avant-garde. With its bold and idiosyncratic combination of serialism, graphic notation, aleatory technique, open form, live electronics, Cagean piano preparation, cluster composition a la Cowell and theatrical action, the piece appears to be summing up all developments and then surpassing them by adding even more novelty.