Album: Nieuw ensemble, Ed Spanjaard, Mauricio Kagel: Kantrimiusik (Winter & Winter)

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The Independent Culture

Mauricio Kagel, who died last year, was perhaps the most irreverently playful of modern avant-garde composers.

Kantrimiusik is his commentary on country music and the ethnic/folkloric movement in classical, with rustic "found" sounds – birdsong, horses, crickets, church bell, tractor, thunderstorm and ridiculous animal impressions – incorporated into the sound mix. The Nieuw Ensemble – banjo and guitar alongside horns, clarinet, violin and piano – accommodates Kagel's intentions perfectly, whether performing a bucolic waltz in pouring rain, a scarified impression of "jazz", or a hi-yo-silver! celebration of westerns.

Pick of the album: Movement 5, Movement 6, Movement 8