Tomorrow marks the last of the ‘Three Horizons’ concerts (see here, here and here for background). In preparation I thought I’d collate some trivia about Margaret Sutherland, Miriam Hyde, and Raymond Hanson, some of the featured Australian Composers, for a bit of background reading.
- Boosey & Hawkes were interested in publishing Sutherland’s ‘Concerto for Strings’ until they discovered that ‘M.Sutherland’ was a woman.
- Her aunty, Jane, was a highly regarded painter associated with the Heidelberg School.
- Both Margaret, and her aunty Jane ended up suffering strokes that ultimately stopped their artistic practices.
“To pluck music from the air, and fashion it according to one’s own whim… That was what made my heart beat faster” – Margaret Sutherland
“The world at large thinks a woman can’t be creative. A woman can contribute in a special way… their contribution is no less important.” – Margaret Sutherland
“Her strength of character, keen intellectual grasp and compassionate humanity have set a standard which humbles those who know her” – James Murdoch
- Hyde was named woman of the year in 2004 by the American Biographical Institute.
- Allans Publishing encouraged her to change her name to Hydekovsky when they expressed interest in publishing her music.
- Allans wanted to publish her first work (Opus 1) as her ‘Opus 12′ instead, explaining that “they thought it amateurish, especially from a female without a foreign name” to publish Opus 1.
- A letter from the parent of an A.M.E.B. student (Australian Music Examinations Board) complained “can we not have men… as in former years? Brilliant and temperamental women like miss Hyde should be excluded from the Examination Board.”
- Ray’s birthday was November 23, one day after Benjamin Britten’s, and St.Cecilia’s Day.
- James Murdoch notes that Hanson could trace ancestry back to free settlers on the first fleet… though Murdoch says that was in 1972, which doesn’t seem right to me, and I don’t know how many (if any?) free settlers there were on the first fleet…
- Hanson would play recitals for the Railway Union or Waterside Workers, and wanted to establish an Australian Trade Union Orchestra, believing music should be ‘for everyone’. In a Menzies-era Australia, terrified by ‘reds under the bed’, this was a more challenging stance than it might now seem, and Hanson probably suffered for his outspoken political views.
On the topic of his birthday being so close to Britten’s: it’s “as close as I’ve ever been to greatness”.
Hope to see you at the concert!