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St. Paul composer retreats to Afton for nature's soundtrack

St. Paul composer retreats to Afton for nature's soundtrack

June 27, 2016

"St. Paul composer Steve Heitzeg was walking toward the Metcalf marsh at the Belwin Conservancy in Afton last week when he heard a sound that stopped him in his tracks.

"Shhh. Do you hear that?" Heitzeg said, holding up his hand and cocking his head. "That's a sandhill crane. Look, there are two of them! Right there!"

The pair's deep, chesty squawks echoed across the marsh, joining a chorus of croaking green frogs, whistling red-winged blackbirds and buzzing insects.

"You've got the red-winged blackbirds there," he said. "That's a wren. They're very faithful. They always come back to the same spot. You've got the textures. You've got the solo. It's a great symphony. (Canadian composer) R. Murray Schafer considers nature to be the first concert."

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Heitzeg is spending the summer listening to and recording sounds at Belwin as one of the organization's first artists-in-residence. The Emmy Award-winning composer may use the sandhill cranes' squawks in an upcoming composition..."


Related Composers: R. Murray Schafer