The Expert at the Card Table may have been published privately by the author in 1902 and distributed primarily in the United States but its reach is truly global. And, as a musical work, A Man in a Room, Gambling, by Gavin Bryars and Juan Muñoz, illustrates it has inspired artists throughout the world.
Gavin Bryars is, of course, the composer of such celebrated works as The Sinking of the Titantic and Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet. He has collaborated with such artists as Mercer Cunningham, William Forsyth and Christian Boltanski. In 1992, however, he collaborated with his friend, the renowned Spanish sculptor and poet, Juan Muñoz, to create ten pieces for string quartet with accompanying narration inspired by The Expert at the Card Table. The work was commissioned originally by ArtAngel for the BBC, and was broadcast on that network. ArtAngel of London asked Bryars and Muñoz to present the work again as a live theatrical presentation, and they did so in London in 1997.
– DAVID BEN