Rijksmuseum Van Gough, Amsterdam

Performance of John Cage’s Scottish Circus. Recorded by National VPRO radio. Reviewed by Mary Miller in the Scotsman 2 December 1992:

“Sunday morning, the museum is packed… No-one, one suspects, knows quite what to expect… The silence warmed to rapt attention, for McGuire’s marvelous 1982 String Quartet [played by The Utrecht Quartet]: two outer movements of wriggling, vital fast moving pattern and exploration enclosing a vast, still Largo, where the high violin and creeping bass line seem to climb inexorably together. One listened, hypnotised by the sound.

And wide-eyed, ears straining, we remained, as more haunting phrases crept from all around – from the upper galleries, from distant rooms and hidden corners. John cage’s Scottish Circus, he devised for the Whistlebinkies, an improvisation of incredible beauty and delicacy. Upstairs, hanging in sombre splendour, Alexander Reid stares from his ornate frame, out over the work of his friend VanGough. There’s a Hornel on one wall, Van Gough’s peasants on another. None of this seems strange. It is, after all, art, and music, in context.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>