Raymond Murray Schafer s/t LP

LP front cover
LP back cover
LP side 1

When this LP was released in 1973, Raymond Murray Schafer was busy with his World Soundscape Project, identifying and documenting the global soundscape with a group of students and volunteers from Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University. Yet, in the period where he was involved in the WSP (1972-82), Murray Schafer kept on composing for orchestra and voices, his other medium of choice. For an introduction to Murray Schafer’s sound world, please refer to Continuumix #7 – Hieroglyphs of Ontario, a mix published some weeks ago on this blog.

♫ Taking his inspiration from poetry, mythology and Nature, the compositions for orchestra and choir collected on this disc showcase Murray Schafer’s immense skill for orchestral evocations and original use of onomatopeia and wordless speech. The extraordinary East combines eerie notes from horn section, atonal string glissandi and oriental sounding gongs punctuating the syllabic declamation of the poem. The Vancouver Bach Choir is the hero of Psalm, an epic composition based on Psalm 148, where the choir’s vocal flexibility is used in alternating sequences of mythological grandeur, human frailty and ineffable holiness. Murray Schafer’s various obsessions coalesce in the exquisite Miniwanka for choir, with lyrics based on North American native tribes’ words for ‘water, rain, stream, river, fog and ocean’. The composition actually describes successive states of water, from serene river flow to rain drops, from running water to the vast sea. The small orchestral formation of Arcana contributes to the secret ceremony dimension of the lyrics, based on Egyptian hieroglyphs. The undecipherable poetry uttered by soprano Mary Morrison is reflected in the sparse, elusive instrumentation.

01 East (8:14)
02 Psalm (10:05)
03 Miniwanka (5:30)
04 Arcana (17:40)

National Arts Centre Orchestra
Vancouver Bach Choir
Various conductors

Total time 41:30
LP released by Radio Canada International, Canada, 1973


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Discography (tbc):
Kaleidoscope, multi-track tape
Threnody – Youth Music by R. M. S., LP, Melbourne Records, Canada
Okeanos, w/ Bruce Davis, unreleased 90-minute quadraphonic tape composition
Vancouver Soundscape, LP, Cambridge Street Records
Canadian Landscapes (w/ Thomas Baker, Derek Healey & Violet Archer), broadcast recording, Canada
East/Psalm/Miniwanka/Arcana, Transcription series LP, Radio Canada International
Soundscapes of Canada, radio broadcast series on CBC
The Vancouver Soundscape, 2xk7, Vancouver
European Sound Diary (unreleased)
Five Village Soundscapes, 5xk7, Vancouver
Loving, 2xLP, Melbourne Records, Canada
Sounds Unseen, flexidisc, Presentation House gallery, Vancouver
Ra – Selections, LP, Centredisques, Canada
Première, 2xLP (w/ André Prévost, Srul Irving Glick, Michael Conway Baker and Michel Longtin), Centredisques, Canada
A Garden of Bells, LP, Grouse Records

* *

9 Responses to “Raymond Murray Schafer s/t LP”

  1. 1 Ricard Casals August 16, 2010 at 1:12 pm


    I’ve just discovered your site and I would like to thank you: is a place full of treasures! I am constantly finding gems of sound.

    Regards from Barcelona (Catalonia)


  2. 2 continuo August 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you very much, Ricard. Very pleased to have you as a new reader. And happy gem digging on the blog!

  3. 3 danen August 17, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Very like these pictures.
    Thanks Continuo !!!


  4. 4 continuo August 17, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    You’re welcome. Though I suspect you refer to previous post, Cooking Vinyl.

  5. 5 danen August 18, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    I mean on music images (“pictures”) of this record, …and ofcourse from previous post.

  6. 6 Dalis Crespo August 20, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Hola! Un cordial saludo desde Venezuela. Primeramente agradecido por el esfuerzo en mantener el blog, es uno de los mejores (y pocos) portales de difucion de artes electroacusticas y experimentales en general.. Muy complacido con las ultimas publicaciones de M. Shafer; es un gran aporte de estudio para los seguidores y continuadores de su filosofia. Gracias!

    Dalis Crespo

  7. 7 continuo August 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Muchas gracias, Dalis!! Some nice sounds as well on your Ecous MySpace page.

  8. 8 Dalis Crespo August 20, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Gracias por la escucha! Aun estoy trabajando en el myspace. Luego le envio nuevo material! He nutrido gran parte de mi investigacion con sus publicaciones. Pronto le estare escribiendo!

    Dalis Crespo

  9. 9 continuo August 20, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    More Murray Schafer to appear on this blog in the following weeks. Stay tuned.

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