Wednesday, February 05, 2003


Sad news that Peter Schat, one of the eminences of post-60s Dutch new music, has died – shortly after the loss of American musical giant Lou Harrison. From Harrison’s obituary in the 'New York Times', courtesy of composer Jeff Harrington:

His .. music ranged with a giddy indifference to musical polemics, from Serialism to folkish tonality in the manner of Aaron Copland to Ivesian collage to percussion, along with the many pieces for non-Western instruments. He prized just intonation, meaning pure intervals uncompromised by the Western tempered scale. He sought universal peace .. writing or titling several of his works in Esperanto. Above all, he revealed in melodic sensuality and timbral extravagance, born from the pitch-purity of his tunings and the enormous variety of instruments and combinations that he employed.

Here is Harrison in conversation a few years ago with John Luther Adams. An extensive Lou Harrison archive and on-line resource is being developed by close associate Charles Hensen at San Jose State University.

Peter Schat's 'Composing - My Life' site is worth a visit. A few weeks ago NFE featured his tone clock in jazz and improvised music. There is a biography here.

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