Peter Schat

Peter Schat (1935-2003) studied piano with Jaap Callenbach and theory and composition with Kees van Baaren at the Conservatory of Utrecht. He continued his study with Mátyás Seiber and Pierre Boulez. In the sixties he took part with the 'Notenkrakersactie' with the goal to get the avant-garde music of that time into the official music scene. He taught composition at the Conservatory in The Hague.

Schat has always given his own kind of interpretation to serialism and developed in the course of time his own harmonic system, the 'Tone Clock'. Besides in music he also expressed his views on musical and societal terrain in writings.

Schat wrote Collages in 1962, on request of Prof. Fokker, for the Stichting Nauwluisterendheid. An elaborate correspondence started between both gentlemen, which gradually got however more and more the character of an argument. The letters went about another form of notation, about the lack of discussion, and finally about dilettantism.
In the mean time the discussion had moved to the newspaper Algemeen Handelsblad. Prof. Fokker views the 31-tone system as the way out of a dilemma: "The die-hard serialists have virtually no appreciation for harmonic concords. The octave is taboo to them. They don't care whether a triad is consonant or dissonant. Dissonant rather, otherwise one could be suspected of clinging to the old. [...] But the weakened and abandoned tonality is healing. What in the sixteenth century was for the craftsmen too difficult, has now been realised: a 31-tone organ has been built. [...] There is a consolation in the hopeful expectation that the unsightly caterpillar of today, which as a dragon prowls around the concert halls, shall pupate..."

The answer of Peter Schat: "Dilettantism! Of course I know well that Henkemans (who published an article against the newest music) and Fokker both in their own fields are respected professionals. From their opinions about new music I have to conclude however that they are on this special terrain indulging in a hobby. [...]"

The composition Collages is on the CD "50 jaar Stichting Huygens-Fokker".

Biography at Donemus