36 Pages

6 Apocrypha and Simulacra

Mauricio Kagel's compositional development in the last two decades has taken a comparatively smooth and continuous path with few of the sudden stylistic breaks associated with earlier parts of his career or any dramatically new artistic concerns: one could speak of evolution instead of revolution. According to Baudrillard – the same thinker who has coined the concept of posthistoire – ours is a 'hyperreal' world of simulacra and simulation where the distinction between reality and make-believe has become meaningless. Relating Kagel's term of the apocryphal to Baudrillard's simulacrum raises the question of whether Kagel at least implicitly shares Baudrillard's analysis, and what, more generally, the aesthetic justification for 'composing apocrypha' might be. While the incursion into the realm of absolute music in the String Quartet was still relatively unusual in Kagel's work, his next composition, the 'Ballet d'action' Tantz-Schul takes us right back into the heart of Kagel country.