Rmurray schafer threnody front


Schafer, R. Murray - Threnody: Youth Music

Format: LP
Label: Melbourne SMLP 4017
Year: 1970
Origin: Sarnia, Ontario
Genre: electronic, concrete, classical
Keyword:  atomic bomb, Nagasaki, nuclear
Value of Original Title: $75.00
Make Inquiry/purchase: email ryder@robertwilliston.com
Release Type: Albums
Websites:  No
Playlist: Ontario, 1970's, Experimental & Electronic


Side 1

Track Name

Side 2

Track Name
Epitaph For Moonlight
Statement In Blue
The New Soundscape


Rmurray schafer threnody back

RMurray Schafer-Threnody BACK

Rmurray schafer threnody front

Threnody: Youth Music


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The texts, spoken by the young narrators in Threnody, are eye-witness accounts by children of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The orchestra and choruses illustrate this terrifying scene. I had received a commission to write a piece for the Vancouver Junior Symphony Orchestra shortly after arriving to teach at Simon Fraser University.

I wanted to write a piece for those young performers that would make them think about social issues. The Cold War was in high gear in 1967 and the stockpiles of nuclear weapons were rapidly growing. I knew that these extremely graphic accounts of suffering and death would affect both the performers and their parents, forcing them to consider seriously the consequences of nuclear war. Since there were numerous passages where the performers were required to create their own music to the accompaniment of particular texts, they had a more serious role to play than if they had just inherited a ready-made expression from the composer. There were tears after the performance.

But I also remember one man coming up to me defiantly and saying, 'We’d drop it again!' It bothered me for months that a work devoted to the cause of peace should have provoked such angry sentiments. But thank God, no atomic bombs have been dropped since. R. Murray Schafer


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