That is the second clip that comes up in YouTube, searching for R. Murray Schafer: total views 1273. He has written a fair-sized piece for guitar called Le Cri de Merlin:
Total views of that clip: 2889. I mention this because on YouTube even a clip of someone's daughter's piano recital can get that many views. This one has 1795 views, for example:
So, plainly R. Murray Schafer is not much beloved of the masses. So who does like his music? Well, the Globe and Mail obviously, the voice of educated people from Toronto. And the Canada Council, who have been awarding him grants for decades.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't think there is much wrong with Schafer's music. I just find it rather dull. And all the phoney baloney mysticism tends to leave me cold as well. R. Murray Schafer is remarkably a lot like Karlheinz Stockhausen with the naughty, annoying bits taken out. Sort of a genteel Torontonian's take on the avant-garde.
But I wasn't going to say anything critical about R. Murray Schafer, my intention was to complain about the dreariness of the Globe and Mail article. Oh well, two snarks for the price of one! You see, the problem with the article is that, in polite Canadian fashion, it just regurgitates the standard company line on Schafer. For example:
Is there anyone out there who would agree with that? Anyone? Yes, I have heard that Schafer does stuff with soundscapes, but I'm a Canadian professional musician, so that's not too surprising. And I'm sure that Schafer did hope to change the way sound is perceived in the world. But it just didn't happen, did it? My readers come from thirty or forty different countries and are quite interested in music. Anyone perceiving sound differently because of R. Murray? No? I didn't think so. In fact, this paragraph is pretty much just a re-worded press release. Yes, he did invent the term soundscape which led to the discipline of acoustic ecology.
What I miss in the article is the kind of detail that would reveal some of the individual character of Schafer's music. But that is a forlorn hope with the mass media these days. All that the people who read the Globe and Mail really need is to know that Schafer is what one expects a Canadian composer to be. The article ends with more mind-numbing puffery:
That last sentence is surely eligible for some kind of prize?