The chaos and joy of John Cage’s Musicircus

Hannah Nepil writes:  Taking part in Musicircus at Aldeburgh was a bewildering musical experience. They never told me that music journalism could be like this: that one day I'd be playing the violin at the Aldeburgh festival, at the mercy of the elements and the judgement of professional, bona-fide musicians who, on another occasion, I might be reviewing.

Call it karmic retribution. But I should have seen it coming when I signed up my string quartet for the Aldeburgh Musicircus, the latest take on John Cage’s 1967 concept involving a cacophony of mixed-genre, mixed ability musicians. Actually, I needn't have worried. Walking down the rammed sea front last Sunday I heard ukuleles, trumpeters, bagpipers, barrel organs, seagulls, and I saw stilt-walkers, puppets, flags, and a mystifying sign inviting us to cook our eggs ‘to perfection to the silence of John Cage's 4' 33''.’ But in a line-up of roughly 800 musicians it was hard to make out individual performances – hardly a high-pressure scenario.

Nevertheless, soon after arriving at ..........