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Mauricio Kagel's 15-minute composition with stage sets, Die Himmelsmechanik (subtitle: Presentation of various natural events), was considered one of the strictest attempts at experimental instrumental theatre in 1965. Accompanied by barely concrete sounds, a playful, visionary setting is created, with the sun, moon and stars moving across the sky, the sound of the wind, the patter of the rain and the mist rising. Kagel depicts a broken natural world out of a test tube, “a propped-up sky”, as he put it.
“These days, music is only ever presented as a cosmic play of stars under a steady flood of sunlight, in the frame of a puppet theatre, in a naively fantastic manner,” wrote Karlheinz Roschitz, following the world première of the piece at the Venice Biennale in 1969.