At this moment I regret not to have collected reviews about
my work - good or bad, the latter probably being now the more interesting
|For the rest there are
of course some composition-prizes
around, but they are so few and so poorly equipped in this blessed country (certainly when compared to the umpteen big business litterary prizes every week - yes I'm jealous, but the pride and dignity of my profession compels me to be; and I'm mad with a fat, rich country that in four hundred years never produced a composer that the rest of the world could remember!) that all composers in Holland worth their mettle get most of the available prizes before they reach their second jezus-life, and I'm no exeption.
So I got the Gaudeamus Prize 1957 for my Septet (125 guilders, nearly 60 euro now); the national Matthijs Vermeulen Prize 1973 for To You (3500 euro); the DDR Von Weber Prize (1100 euro); the Frysian Fortuyn Prize (3200 euro), both in 1980 for Aap, and the German Vondel Prize 1989 (10.000 euro) for my litterary work. All in all some 18.000 euros in half a century - nearly one euro a day, which equals a third world income.
But already as a boy I knew that Schubert probably had no more than three hot meals in his whole life, so I never dared to complain. Besides, since the nineteen eighties I get a yearly grant from our dear national Composers Fund (Fonds voor de scheppende toonkunst), so I can manage these days. New notes (in Dutch: nuts), just like eggs, are now subsidized in this country - after we started to open our big mouth in the fifties. And as a result we have now some very interesting and productive composers like William Jeths and Rob Zuidam around.
Far more important to me than reviews, prizes or grants are the reactions of musicians and audiences, that listen to my music with open minds and open ears - when they get a chance. Their reactions are often positive, sometimes very moving. (The others, of course, don't come to me, post concert.) Some truly generous colleages sometimes also tell me honestly what they think, as I myself always try to do in reaction to their work.
But none of them ever reacted like the leading New Zealand
composer and theoretician Jenny McLeod. She went through the exacting
process of learning Dutch, to be able to translate my main texts in our
In 1990 she wrote her first essay on the tone clock, explaining its mechanism (rather than its ideology, since there is hardly any.)
After demonstrating the twelve triads (see Clockwise
), she continues:
Writing about my music McLeod concludes her essay with the following remarks:
"When listening to Schat's
more recent compositions'
'you may pay close attention to his pure
tone-clock melodies and harmonies. If you do, I feel sure that their very
distinctive character and their rich diversity will strike you as they
did me, when I first heard them. They have a profoundly riveting quality.
I seemed to 'recognise' them somehow, as one sometimes recognises a perfect
stranger, as though one had always known them. The colours, the progressions,
the atmospheres are peculiarly evocative. The notes have a 'rightness'
somehow, they feel right. Even knowing nothing of the clock one can sense
that this is the new tonality, that the music is permeated by some unknown
but supreme logic and constancy: the harmonies have real substance, they
move as a living tissue, worlds away from diatonic tonality, yet possessing
On 3 november 2001 an article by Anton C. Zijderveld appeared in Het Financieele Dagblad that opened with the following paragraph:
"For the true music lover there is not a more delightful experience than the musical discovery. One hears a musical piece by a composer one didn't know until then and one is immediately 'lost'. You want to hear the piece again, but it is, because it's so new, not yet available on cd, and it won't be performed in a concert hall soon again. So you start searching for other pieces of this composer and that opens a whole world of fascination and hearing delight."
Zijderveld then gives an adequate description of my orbit, some of my main works and my musical theories. He concludes that this music
"is of great professional stature, sounding truly contemporary in its modern tonality, and yet immediately appealing (-) an oeuvre of international standing(-) we're waiting for a cd-cassette of the complete works."
For the true music maker there is not a more delightful experience than to be rediscovered at the beginning of your third Jesus-life!
As a consequence of Zijdervelds article a small working-group has been
formed to realize this lofty goal in connection with this consummate website.