“In Sevilla on a street corner I noticed the multiplicity of simultaneous visual and audible events all going together in one’s experience and producing enjoyment. It was the beginning for me of theatre and circus… A few years ago… we performed Musicircus… Simply, we let as many things as possible happen at the same time… We did not have any esthetic prejudice… One should let all things originate from their own center, whether it is music or dance… not thinking that one thing “abuses” the other. In this way, they will wonderfully fit together (as what happens with birds, airplanes, trucks, radios).”
Cage, An Autobiographical Statement (1989)
Cage was a leader in the development of the postwar modern art, and today, his name represents a synonym for avant-garde practices. His provocative views on music, life and nature, his written texts/papers are the sources on which we have built our concept.
The Music Circus of John Cage – A House Full of Music is a multi-media performance inspired by Cage’s music as much as by his approach to composing, theater, views on art and attitude towards life. It represents a creative assembly of chosen segments from his entire work as a composer, philosopher, poet, humanist, and visual artist.
For Cage, sounds and objects from everyday life, to which we either pay attention or not, become peer agents in a creative process. Their importance is equaled with a sound, that is – musical instruments. There is no hierarchy. “Imagine that the music you write is not music, but a social relation, and ask yourself whether you would want to live in a society in which that kind of music exists…” The absence of hierarchy is an essential feature of the idea of Cage’s music circus as “principle of having many things going at once.”
The impulse for creating A House Full of Music is a proof that Cage still exists in our minds and the fact that our public has not had enough opportunities to get acquainted with the work of this extraordinarily creative spirit. Cage left the door open behind him, and it is hard to resist entering through it.
A choice of music, textual and visual material is an offspring of personal affinity of the creators, as well as of an intention to create an interesting, vivid and intriguing material, in which a viewer/listener will be an active participant. A meaning/purport must/must not be revealed through an inner activity of each participant individually.
Our concept is Cageian. We use elements of music circus, which Cage sees as circumstance in which one listens to a sound and which is not controlled in a final result.
The composition of John Cage will be performed in whole or in part, while some of them serve as an inspiration for the performance. The following compositions will be performed: Musicircus, A House Full of Music, Double Music, Amores, Nowh upon Nacht, A Flower, ear for EAR, Story, Ryoanji, Totem Ancestor, A Room, Our Spring Will Come, 4`33“, But what about the noise of crumpling paper which he used to do in order to paint the series of “Papiers froisses” or tearing up paper to make “Papiers dechires?” Arp was stimulated by water (sea, lake, and flowing waters like rivers), forests, Inlets, Suite for toy piano, Radio Music, In a Landscape, A Room.
These works were written for: the prepared piano, piano, toy piano, various percussions, one voice, voices, cello, trombone, radio receptionists, electronic and other sound sources.
The program also includes Katarina Miljkovic’s compositions Nothing, you say and Gliding, and Miroslav Misa Savic’s work EuroCage.
Cages’s writings – Lecture on Nothing, Empty Words …, will be also used as a part of the performance.
During the performance, compositions, texts, video projections, graphics and movement will be present separately or simultaneously.
The project will be an issue of active work, as long as there is an interest for it.
The creators of the project are:
Nada Kolundžija – music direction, performer – pianist, preparation of music ensembles
Scott Fielding – direction, scenography, light design, preparation of actor’s ensembles
The realization of the project was enabled by the 19th Review of Composers, BITEF Theater, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia, municipality of Stari Grad and the Center of Fine Arts Guarnerius.
* Very special thanks to Filip Filipović, the translator of Cage’s texts, and Velja Gerasimović for his collection of transistors.
Text compiled by Nada Kolundžija