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John Cage / Sigune von Osten "MusiCircus"

The liberation of notes

Impressions of John Cages "MusiCircus" at the opening of the Ludwigshafen festival ? realised by Sigune von Osten
... Sigune von Osten liberates sounds from neglibility with the project "MusiCircus" by John Cage. For five hours noises and sounds are the essential thing in the city, on the theatre square and in the 'Pfalzbau' itself.
.... Part of the show are manipulated car honks, vehicles of the fire brigade and the police with various sirens, roaring wind-producing machines, spraying hoses, ringing trams, calling church bells and a quartet of droning tractors together with the buzzing and Diesel-sweating Lanz-Bulldog from 1940. And, of course, people. Musicians as much as the audience.

... Around seven o'clock the whole event is shifted to the theater building... Everywhere there are instruments and people making sounds. Rhythms and melodies of diverse cultures, musicians, dancers and sound artists of all ages intermingle and work together.... Highly sensitive microphones are attached to cactuses as high as men. Five young women stroke the stings gently and, thereby, elicit chortling, cracking and popping sounds from them. Then, around eight o'clock the gates to auditorium are opened...... Little by little the orchestra, ensembles and the music groups awaken on stage, on the tiers, in the middle of the audience. Choirs begin, they sing scraps of a melody. Three Chinese in coloured, silken robes play something on historical stringed and wind instruments that sounds like Far Eastern music, but somehow also like rock music.

It sounds like swing, jazz, klezmer. Everywhere. On all the tiers. There is a trombone in the middle of row 19. Here is a trumpet. A bunch of xylophones and carillons take over in the front... There is also a modified piano... On the balcony, to the right, a man is blowing through a hose into a funnel. These singing household appliances sound like wolves, signal-horns of ships and loneliness. There is a rock band, too. And a girls' choir is trying to fight the wall of sound with their voices. The first bits and pieces reach the ear: " We are the children", they sing.. .. And this all but kitschy...... The ear is often astonished, stunned, curious but it can deal with it. And the audience senses this. The listeners trust Sigune von Osten's guidance and follow her through her choreography of sounds..... Standing ovations. A lady of more than 60 whistles on two fingers. Tonight tones and ears were liberated.

Die Rheinpfalz / Die Reportage

 Musicians ? ready for action ? remain silent the year 2005 at the Pfalzbau in Ludwigshafen the grand "MusiCircus" fades away with whispers and coughs lasting several minutes. The rock band "DUNE" on the second tier, the orchestra of zithers and mandolins on stage, the children's choir on the stairs, the brass quintet "BRASSerie" on the first tier ? everyone is ready, set to play their instruments, yet they remain silent.Somebody claps somewhere, and immediately halts again because he realises that the people sitting next to him want to prolong this moment full of suspense a bit longer.
John Cage died in 1992, however, the singer Sigune von Osten opened the first festival of Ludwigshafen as it might have been intended by him.

Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz / Feuilleton

If we hear the world all at one, there is the sound of nothing
The first festival of Ludwigshafen opened with a sensational bang called MusiCircus by John Cage.

... an avalanche of sounds from the US, UK, Bali, Germany, China, Palatinate and Switzerland, from the land of rock and pop and jazz, folklore and classical music and other music of art. Everything sounds but we hear nothing, i.e.: we do not perceive the singular anylonger. We seemingly hear the whole world at the same time. All countries of this earth. All the planets. All the ethnicities. There's a clashing, a side-by-side, and a togetherness beyond compare. There are moments, in which the famous white noise is audibly close, that is when all the sinus frequences sound simultaneously and we seem to hear a never-ending, voiceless ?sh?. Is it possible that this ?sh? is the NOTHING?....

Mannheimer Morgen

Music like chess and mushrooms
Sigune von Osten is the name of the artist who took up John Cage's idea to put a show into practice for the opening of the Ludwigshafen festival.
... Who dared to go into the interior of the theatre between 7 and 10 p.m. experienced the real magic: the audience entered the lower foyer by walking through a maze of solidified latex costumes, which were pinned to construction grids and thereby turned into walls. Skaters slid almost agravically over the smooth marble floor, gently gliding through the crowd that was passing various instruments, musicians and objects while taking a stroll. New Music, played on a child-sized toy piano or old Chinese music on historical instruments. Neon letters of a news ticker bandy John Cage's quotes soundlessly... Who managed to advance to the upper foyers passed sound installations such as the cactuses, which Cage himself had turned into instruments, dancers, singers, familiar and unfamiliar music.
When the gates to the theater hall open at 8 p.m., the actual meaning of New Music is noticeable. Here nothing is left to chance, nothing happens at random, although innumerable solo artists and ensembles play music together on stage, in the middle of the audience, or on the tiers. The light lifts the musicians out of a semidarkness, while they are playing, just to plunge them afterwards into darkness again. Music styles and instruments are combined, many sounds are new, unexpected or even funny..... At some points people clap tenderly, and it is surprising, how this clapping differs from the rhythmic swaying to folk music in beer tents. The spectators whisper quietly, to communicate their amazement or admiration to their seat mates.
It is surely due to the protagonists, whose interplay is focused and full of relish, and the sensitive artistic guidance of Sigune von Osten that the evening, despite all the liveliness in the audience, never gets out of hand and the curiosity for the unfamiliar sounds pervades every moment of the performance. The impressive artist has demonstrated in Ludwigshafen that New Music is delightful and no coincidence.

Die Rheinpfalz, Kulturseite

alle Fotos: Walter Lhotzky