11 Jun 2020

Music in “The Soundscape”

A Hidden Playlist in Schafer’s Book

11 Jun 2020

Throughout R. Murray Schafer’s The Soundscape (1977, repr. 1994), many references to Western music appear alongside literary, poetic, and scientific citations. Even if to draft a complete bibliography of the sources whom Schafer turned to is not always an easy task, the Notes (pp. 277-293) at the end of the book allow the reader to identify most of what he cites. On the contrary, a list of the various musical works which frequently come up in the narration is less likely to be tracked. Nevertheless, it reveals a sort of hidden playlist which – if followed – will surely enrich the reading, equally showing the subtlety and wideness of Schafer’s musical interests.

Musical works listed below are arranged following the order of the pages where they appear. Implicit musical references are accompanied by the beginning of the related passage of the text. An asterisk marks the examples we suggested independently.


2. Orchestration Is a Musician’s Business

p. 5
John Cage, 4’33” (1952)

3. Dionysian Versus Apollonian Concepts of Music

p.6: “Bach’s Passions”
Johann Sebastian Bach, Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 (1727), Johannes-Passion BWV 245 (1724), Markus-Passion BWV 247 (1731)

4. Music, the Soundscape and Social Welfare

p.7: “the grace and balance of Mozart’s music”
*Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Klarinettkonzert KV 622 (1971), II. Adagio

Ibid.: the sentimental vagaries of Richard Strauss”
*Richard Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier (1911), Act 3, «Marie Theres!… Hab’ mir’s gelobt»

Ibid.: “In Gustav Mahler we find”
*Gustav Mahler, Fifth Symphony, I. Trauermarsch


1.3 Voices of the Wind

p. 23: “his [Carl Maria von Weber’s] opera Der Freischütz
*Carl Maria von Weber, Der Freischütz Op. 77 J. 277 (1817-21), Ouverture and Entre-acte (from Act 3).

2.1 Bird-Songs

p. 29: “from Clément Janequin to Olivier Messiaen”
*Clément Janequin, Le chant des oiseaux, Le chant de l’alouette, and Le chant du rossignol.
*Olivier Messiaen, Le merle noir (1951), Réveil des oiseaux (1953), Oiseaux exotiques (1955-56), Catalogue d’oiseaux (1956-58), and Chronochromie (1959-60).

3.2 Sounds of the Pasture

p. 44
Hector Berlioz, Symphonie fantastique Op. 14 (1830), III. Scène aux champs (Adagio).

4.5 The Sounds of Night and Day

p. 61
Richard Dering, The City Cries (1599).

p. 64: “Street cries attracted”
Clément Janequin, Le cris de Paris.
Thomas Weelkes, The Cries of London.
Orlando Gibbons, The Cries of London.
Richard Dering, The City Cries (1599), and particularly this episode (p. 65).

5.1 The Lo-Fi Soundscapes of the Industrial Revolution

p. 73
Georg Friedrich Händel, Messiah HWV 56 (1741).


7.1 The Concert Hall as a Substitute for Outdoor Life

p. 104: “composers such as Vivaldi”
*Antonio Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (1716-17): “Spring” Op. 8 Nr. 1 RV 269, “Summer” Op. 8 Nr. 2 RV 315, “Autumn” Op. 8 Nr. 3 RV 293, “Winter” Op. 8 Nr. 3 RV 297.

Franz Joseph Haydn, Die Jahreszeiten Hob. XXI:3 (1798-1801), II. Summer, «The Gloomy Clouds Now Part Aside».

Georg Friedrich Händel, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato HWV 55 (1740), II Part, «Populous cities».

Franz Schubert, Die Winterreise D. 911 (1828), V. Der Lindenbaum.

Robert Schumann, Dichterliebe Op. 48 (1840).

7.2 Music, Bird-Song and Battlefields

p. 106
Nicolas Gombert, Le chant des oyseaux.
For Janequin’s works, see above.

Ibid.: “it [the bird-song] enters in opposition to the malignant forces in Wagner’s Ring
Richard Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen, Siegfried (1857), Act 2, Scene 2.
For Messiaen’s works, see above.

Clément Janequin, La guerre.

Ludwig van Beethoven, Wellingtons Sieg oder die Schlacht bei Vittoria Op. 91 (1813).

7.3 The Hunting Horn Explodes the Walls of the Concert Hall to Reintroduce the Countryside

p. 196
Franz Joseph Haydn, Symphony No. 73 in D major Hob I:73 (1782), IV. [“La Chasse”.] Presto.

p. 107
Franz Joseph Haydn, Die Jahreszeiten Hob. XXI:3 (1798-1801), III. Autumn, «Hark! The Clamorous Noise».

Carl Maria von Weber, Der Freischütz Op. 77 J. 277 (1817-21), Act 3, «Was gleicht wohl auf Erden dem Jägervergnügen?».

Carl Maria von Weber, Oberon, oder der Schwur des Elfenkönigs, Op. 77 J. 306 (1824-26), Ouverture.

Franz Schubert, Die Winterreise D. 911 (1828), XIII. Die Post.

Gustav Mahler, First Symphony (1888), I. Langsam. Schleppend. Wie ein Naturlaut – Im Anfang sehr gemächlich

7.4 The Orchestra and the Factory

p. 109
Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata in B flat major No. 29 Op. 106 “Hammerklavier” (1817-19), I. Allegro.

7.5 The Meeting of Music and Environment

p. 110
Arthur Honegger, Pacific 231 (Mouvement Symphonique) H. 53 (1923).
George Antheil, Ballet mécanique (1924, rev. 1953).
Sergei Prokofiev, Le pas d’acier Op. 41 (1925-26).
Alexander Mosolov, Iron Foundry Op. 19 (1926-27).
Carlos Chavez, Caballos de vapor (1926-32), [IV. Dance of men and machines].

Ibid.: “Satie’s deadpan musique d’ameublement
Erik Satie, Musique d’ameublement (1920), I. 1er Entr’acte (Chez un bistrot); II. 2d Entr’acte (Un salon).

7.6 Reactions

p. 111: “Bartok’s music steams and rustles”
*Béla Bartók, Fourth String Quartet in C major Sz. 91, BB 95 (1928), III. Non troppo lento.

Ibid.: “As a skilled recordist of folk songs”
*Béla Bartók, Fifth String Quartet Sz. 102, BB 110 (1934), III. Scherzo: alla bulgarese.

Ibid.: “Note his song on the phonograph and the railroad”
Charles Ives, The New River (1911).
Charles Ives, …

Ibid.: “His song about the Indians”
Charles Ives, The Indians (1921).

Charles Ives / Larry Austin, Universe Symphony (1912-28, 1994).

Olivier Messiaen, Turangalîla-Symphonie (1946-48).
Richard Strauss, Ein Heldenleben op. 40 (1898).
Ottorino Respighi, Pini di Roma P 141 (1924), and particularly III. I pini del Gianicolo.

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