NAC Canadian Orchestral Composers: Landscape and Soundscape

© Fred Cattroll.

Introduction

Landscape and Soundscape explores how the land and sounds of Canada have influenced Canadian orchestral composition. In the words of Canadian composer Norman Symonds, it explores how the immense, often empty, landscape, keeps us “forever conscious of [our] smallness”.

Landscape is connected directly to the soundscape, a term first used by composer R. Murray Schafer. In the 70’s Schafer led international research exploring how sounds of specific locations affect the inhabitants. This work culminated in his book The Tuning of the World.

The composers featured here have been inspired by Canada’s land and sounds both figuratively and literally. Champagne’s Symphonie Gaspésienne, Somers’ North Country, Symonds’ Three Atmospheres, Bell’s Spirit Trail, and Forsyth’s Atayoskewin include mosquito strings, triumphant mountain fanfares, seagulls diving down scales, and the sonic descriptions of the poetry of sunrise and sunset.

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