AAP (Monkey), a 'cartoon-opera'
for five singers and twelve instruments. (1980)
The National Touring Opera, conducted by Vincent de Kort. CV73

The booklet contains the complete libretto, the essay The Awakened , information about the history of the work, and the more than one hundred classical Chinese drawings on which I wrote the libretto.

see five o'clock - Buddha



The 63 minutes opera was extremely well received, both as a theater piece and as a compact disc:

'… a cd that cannot be missed in any collection of music from the Netherlands…' (Luister)

'… if there is one opera of Hollands most productive composer in this genre that can be labeled with eternal life, it is Monkey…' (Mens en Melodie)

'… rarely has a cd been accompanied by such a desirable booklet…' (NRC Handelsblad)


DE HEMEL (The Heavens). Twelve symphonic variations. (1990)
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
conducted by Riccardo Chailly.
NMC 92033

This 45 minutes orchestral work could be described as 'variations in search of a theme', the theme being the sun - Aton. It is my most succesful work and was performed (often more than once) by the five main Dutch symphony orchestra's, and by orchestra's in Germany, Poland, Australia, America and Japan. Musicians and audiences alike apparently enjoyed the new harmonic language of the tone clock, of 'chromatic tonality', on which also this work ticks.

see eight o'clock - Clockwise

De Hemel - gaudi

This cd is a registration of the first time the Concertgebouw Orchestra played the piece, in 1992. (Since then I've slightly but significantly ended the last bar.) The booklet contains articles by the critics and musicologists Erik Voermans and Michael van Eekeren.

The latter describes the piece as 'a cathedral of harmonies',

and furthermore writes:

"Next to the nature and quality of his work, Schat's steady stream of both verbal and written critical and theoretical polemics have held him firmly in the centre of public interest. As the art of the polemic falls into disuse in the present day, Schat at times resembles a voice in the wilderness, but his talent for paradoxical goading, his humoristic immodesty and reactionairy disinterest in fashion, all result in his ideas on music being emphatically familiar in the Dutch musical world. It is almost impossible to ignore this fifty-eight-year-old "enfant terrible'. (1993)

'…a splendid orchestral work…one of the most important compositions in recent years…fortunately it was released so soon on cd, it cannot be heard often enough…' (NRC Handelsblad.)

'… a pinnacle in Schat's oeuvre…' (Luister)

'…in all aspects a magisterial work…' (Het Financieele Dagblad)

Programme Notes



ETUDES for piano and orchestra, (1992) and
SECOND SYMPHONY for orchestra (1983).
Het Gelders Orkest, conducted by Richard Dufallo
Martyn van den Hoek, piano
CV 76

I love virtuosity in music, consider it a virtue, and I want to write active music, difficult to perform - because: 'easy come easy goes'. Etudes are indispensible in the daily training of a virtuoso.
Besides I wanted to test the tone clock on its possibilities for pianistic virtuosity and I had the good fortune to work with the master pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. All this resulted in 1992 in these Etudes for piano and orchestra. The musicologist Prof. Emile Wennekes describes them in the booklet as

'…a string of expressively contrasting pearls: lyrical passages follow vehement and angular outbursts; earthly rhythms lead into elegantly gliding flight, fugal imitation is arrested by homophobic chorales. There are few etudes one would sooner wish on a pianist then Peter Schat's Etudes for piano and orchestra.'


Waiting for the libretto of the opera Symposion I wrote the four movements of this symphony as 'scenes without words'. The first scene as the traumatic experience of Tchaikovsky's death; the second as the razzmatazz of conflicting interests ('themes') at the Court of the tsaar; the third as Agathon's Love Song from Plato's Symposion; and the fourth as Aristophanes Vision about the origin of love. Nevertheless, you don't need to know this: you can enjoy the symphony as abstract as a symphony can be - as many people did since its first performance in l983.


Five Orchestral Pieces (1958-1968) .
The Netherlands Ballet Orchestra
conducted by Thierry Fischer
CV 83

All five pieces were written between 1958 and 1968 - the period of the battle for 'serialism'. I participated in the Darmstadt-experience and was for two years (l960/61) a student at Boulez's masterclass of composition in Basel.



love bug

MOSAICS for orchestra was written in 1958 when I was still a pupil of Kees van Baaren who introduced serialism in the Netherlands.

ENTELEGY I was the first piece I wrote as a student of Boulez (followed by Entelegy II and Signalement). It was my most radical breach with the history of melody and harmony as we knew it. At its climax a bass drum quasi-destroys the piece with a ferocious interruption, after which it exhausts itself (and its style) in its last serial of musical gestures.

DANCES FROM THE LABYRINTH was written in 1963 when I was back in Amsterdam, where the events of 1966 were already brooding under the tranquil surface of everyday life.
In the Dances - as a preparation for the opera - I threw the violins out of the symphonic orchestra (as being 'too romantic') and used a lot of aggressive percussion playing (to oust the Darmstadt/Boulez experience, pobably).
labyrint - boksers in orkest ON ESCALATION (1968) uses the six percussion players to break down in a revolutionary act (the piece was dedicated to Che Guevara) not only the form of the composition, but also the orchestra - the conductor included. The next thing to do was the dissolution of the composer, as we did in the opera Reconstruction - for five composers and two writers. Both works were the result of a rather misleading trip to Cuba with Harry Mulisch.


CLOCKWISE AND ANTI-CLOCKWISE (1968) can be seen as a reaction to these pugnacious years. The music comes to a complete standstill and meditates on the history of music in a procession of four horns. The title is a premonition of what more than a decade later became the theory of the tone clock.

The booklet of this cd contains the essay Skeletons - a musico-biological metaphor, comparing tonality with endoskeletons and serialism with exoskeletons. It also includes an interview with Erik Voermans: 'The end of savagery'.


ANATHEMA for piano (1969),
CANTO GENERAL for soprano, violin and piano (1974),
THEMA, for 0boe and ensemble (l970),
TO YOU, for soprano and ensemble (1972)
CV 19

This cd documents the transition of ensemble pieces with an unique scoring for every new composition (like On Escalation, Clockwise, Thema and To You) to more traditional ensembles like a trio (Canto General) or a solo-instrument (Anathema).

ANATHEMA was an attempt to solve the growing crises of serialism by robbing history and its richness of styles of any 'material' I could use. But I soon realized that this ecclecticism could never be the road to the future.

CANTO GENERAL, on a text by Pablo Neruda, was a more viable attempt, since it generated a musical language out of intervals, rather than the isolated notes of serialism. There is much more on this site about the piece.

THEMA for oboe-solo, wind instruments, guitars and keyboards, reflects (like To You does) my preoccupation with pop and repetitive music in those years.(1970)

TO YOU is the first piece I wrote on a poem by Adrian Mitchell (later followed by To Whom), who also wrote the libretto of our 'circus-opera' HOUDINI.
To You is scored for the most extravagant ensemble I ever used, including soprano, six keyboards (two organs and four piano's), nine guitars (including three bass guitars), a chorus and six huge humming tops - all electrified. (The chorus has never been used, until now.)
The premiere in 1972 was played in the same theatre where the opera's Labyrinth, Reconstruction and Houdini got their first performances: the celebrated theatre Carre in Amsterdam . After thirty years many people still remember that first performance of To You.


INSCRIPTIONS for piano (1959),
IMPROVISATIONS AND SYMPHONIES for windquintett (1960),
CHILD AND CROW for soprano and piano (1977),
POLONAISE '81, for piano (1981)
NMC 92027

Notwithstanding the fact that I published only three piano pieces to date, the piano has always remained the center of my musical imagination

In this cd the piano pieces INSCRIPTIONS and POLONAISE '81 are combined with the 40-minite song-cycle CHILD AND CROW on a text by Harry Mulisch. It is a monodrama, in which the piano, with all its talents for colour and theater plays the role of the orchestra in the pit. It is here combined with the wind quintet in two movements IMPROVISATIONS AND SYMPHONIES, that I wrote in 1959, living in London as a student of Matyas Seiber.

see seven o'clock - Curriculum

Although any music of large-scale works like the opera's Houdini (duration 125') and Symposion (195') or my first and third symphonies (another 38' and 24') and my Requiem (24') are missing on these six compact discs, together they may give you a reasonable insight into my development in the last four decades. (Houdini and Symposion are only available on video, the Requiem only on cassette.)

For the passionate collector it should be known that a few more works can be found on these labels:

ALARM for carillion Opera Mundi 001
ADEM (Breath) for choir : NMC 92025
SERENADE for strings Attacca/Babel 8844-2