Eve Essex and Cornelius Cardew

Scratch Orchestra Reenactment at the Berwick

Continuing the tenuous thread I’ve begun to weave, today’s post concerns Eve Essex, an artist I’ve been interested in since she was a resident with the Berwick Research Institute in Boston, MA. One of her recent projects is a reenactment of British composer Cornelius Cardew’s Scratch Orchestra. Cardew formed the Orchestra in the 1960s, bringing together professional musicians and amateurs to play non-traditional, group-created scores as a form of social activism. Eve’s reenactments of the original Scratch Orchestra rehearsals ask participants to operate in the present and past at the same time, realizing a forty-year-old utopian vision. Is this an antidote for political apathy or a caricature of earnestness? Eve calls it “theater” — does that make it more or less genuine (or neither)? I’m interested to know if anyone else sees a relationship between this project and Stuart Sherman’s inscrutable performances, detailed in my first post.

First Scratch Orchestra Reenactment

An Original Scratch Orchestra Score

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