Composer goes on trial for shooting 32 crows

Composer goes on trial for shooting 32 crows


norman lebrecht

February 09, 2021

The trial begins next week in Linz of an Austrian composer who is accused of shooting 32 crows and magpies from his balcony over a period of five years.

The man’s name has not been disclosed. He is 61 years old and is alleged to have an obsession with birds. The maximum penalty is two years in jail.

Anyone remember the incident in Liverpool when a German conductor had some birds shot because they were disturbing his concert?


  • Alexander says:

    He committed a crime against live creatures. Murderer

  • Melisande says:

    Possibly seen too many times Hitchcock’s film The Birds and being frustrated by the musical sounds they produce. An ‘art’ he wasn’t capable of !

  • John Borstlap says:

    It could be suspected what kind of music this composer writes.

    Maybe he got anxious by the overwhelming influence of Messiaen, and attempted to symbolically find his own voice.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    Or when Paul Lewis (also in Liverpool I think) got attacked and injured by birds ?

  • Gustavo says:

    I thought Linzian composers were ornithophilic.

    „… in der Gesangsperiode ist das Thema: der Gesang der Kohlmeise Zizibee.“

    Anton Bruckner 1890
    (on a motif in Symphony No. 4, first movement)

    But obviously medieval prejudice against corvids prevails.

    “Aus finstrer Dornenhecken
    die Eule rauscht hervor,
    tät rings mit Kreischen wecken
    der Raben heis’ren Chor:
    in nächt’gem Heer zu Hauf’,
    wie krächzen all’ da auf,
    mit ihren Stimmen, den hohlen,
    die Elstern, Krähen und Dohlen!

    Auf da steigt
    mit goldnem Flügelpaar
    ein Vogel wunderbar;
    sein strahlend hell Gefieder
    licht in den Lüften blinkt;
    schwebt selig hin und wieder,
    zu Flug und Flucht mir winkt.”

    Walther von Stolzing

  • Herr Doktor says:

    Did you ever consider he was trying to “hear” and “capture” certain sounds that he planned to orchestra in his next composition?

  • M McAlpine says:

    Bully for him. These birds are a menace!

  • Heckle and Jekyll says:

    Over time that amounted to a murder of crows.

  • Curvy Honk Glove says:

    He’s got a long way to go to catch up to Colonel Sanders’ avian death toll. Maybe the NES classic “Duck Hunt” incited him to this violence. A tragic mystery to be sure.

  • The Happy Farmer says:

    If he is a farmer as well and the crows are attacking your crops you can shoot crows at any time no limit.

  • Kenneth Griffin says:

    Yet another covid story …

  • Patricia says:

    Crows are not an endangered species. They are dirty, loud and scare off the other birds. Good for him.

  • JussiB says:

    That’s not a crime. That’s just him composing and revising using birds as notes and power lines and music paper.

  • Graham says:

    Gives a new perspective to Prince Andrew’s “straightforward shooting weekend.”

  • Paul Carlile says:

    He should have known how to shoo-birds away ….(Schubert’s way…?). Die Krähe….(die, crow…? shurely sir, shome mishtake…???). Especially sung by Hermann Prey…(pray, sir, what mean you?). A craven act in any case. Should be double Billed (geddit?) with Die Vögel (Braunfels).

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    I thought that, as a possible lefty, eating crow is what he should really be doing!!!:-)

  • Genius Repairman says:

    Why couldn’t he have done a Dvorak and included the bird sounds in his quartet and called it “the Austrian”?

  • David Hill says:

    The 1979 incident in the church was in Lincolnshire, where it was the vicar (named Robin), who, with an airgun, shot a sparrow in the rafters that was irritating the Austrian guitarist and lutenist Konrad Ragossnig during a recital.

  • Glenn Winters says:

    This composer would not have enjoyed the Aspen Festival, where magpies routinely form a strident chorus during performances in the big concert tent. I once saw Vladimir Feltsman turn his head to glare with mock outrage at the cacophony while playing a Mozart concerto.

  • Ashu says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned that at least one summer Mahler paid one or two guys to scare the crows away from the trees near his composition hut. I’m sure I’m remembering that right.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Mozart kept a canary in a cage while writing his music, to lighten his mood. That is the difference between him and Mahler.