Cirque consists of five named movements, Allegro in three parts, Andante, Scherzo, Galop, and Finale (Parade). The Allegro is the longest of the five and sets forth the musical materials for the whole piece: galloping hooves, laughter (kids and adults), crowd and circus sounds (other than laughing and hooves, things like cheering and cymbal crashes. Allegro also establishes the loop as the principal principle of presentation. The Andante opens with low, rumbling sound—through that emerges first the hoofbeats (softer, muted) and some dark judderings on the accordion (played by Jean-Louise Matigner). The Scherzo, as one might expect, consists largely of laugh loops. What one might not have expected is the honky-tonk-ish piano chords that make it seem as if the laughing people were in a bar not a circus. (A clever person would be able to make some witty comment about entertainment here.) And while the loops make some of the laughing sound sinister rather than jolly, I do think you’ll find yourself grinning from time to time. The shortest movement is the minute Galop, which is a minute and a half of gradually louder hoofbeats, fairly natural (only a little bit of added reverb) and then about ten seconds of quite stunningly altered hoof sound. The opening of the Finale sounds like the opening of the Scherzo from far far away. But only the opening. It is the grand summation (as the Allegro was the introduction) of the whole piece. It’s as if the piece is made up of various short versions of itself, a truly fascinating idea, and much fun to listen to. For clips of Cirque, go to

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