For a variety of reasons I’ve been thinking recently about, in need of ‘clever-er’ words, “newness” and “oldness”. Last night I travelled to London to hear two of the concerts in the latest series of the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s inspired and inspiring Total Immersion days. It was in celebration of the former enfant terrible of classical music, Pierre Boulez, and his 90th Birthday.
The San Francisco Symphony has a series called Soundbox aimed at attracting a younger audience with a ‘cooler vibe’ than we’re told classical concerts have. Great. It sounds, and looks interesting. It is elegantly made, and executed, with intelligent, compelling musical programming. Sure it’s dressed up with nice lights, a gig ambience and the hope of drawing in people conscious of the cool, but why wouldn’t those be good things? They’re doing good work and even extending everyone’s musical horizons on the way. It served to highlight my uncomfortableness with a similar project closer to home.
“Darkness, where I find my sight,” intones the soprano, hardly daring to move from her opening note. So begins Margaret Sutherland’s Six Songs to the poems of Judith Wright. This apparent ‘paradox of opposites’ is a recurrent image for Wright and her problematic if profound landscapes are expertly inhabited by Sutherland’s music. As the poem returns to meditate on this opening line, “Darkness where I find my sight,” with new context and insight, Sutherland returns to the opening musical material in her song, now calmed by its new significance. The piano – restless, searching, throughout – finally begins to repeat its figuration and eventually resolve the otherwise terse harmonies. The female voice is no longer shackled by doubling in the piano, but singing on its own. Continue reading “Some Notes about ‘Women of Note’ (book by Rosalind Appleby, Fremantle Press, 2012)”
I was invited to contribute some thoughts about landscape while working on the Landscape Too exhibition (AirSpace Projects, Marrickville, Sydney), in collaboration with visual artists Hayley Megan French and Kate Beckingham
Landscape is a paradox for me. The word ‘landscape’ always betrays more than it defines. I don’t think we consider, and therefore do not talk of something as ‘landscape’ until it has already become more than just landscape. It is not, until it is more than it is. The act of naming becomes part of an act of exaltation. Landscape, is landscape already once transformed; transformed by human imaginative interrogation, or emotional investment, and so any discussion is at once a discussion of the thing before the word, (the physical?) and everything which makes the word inadequate (the metaphysical?). Continue reading “Analogue Landscapes and Digital Ecologies”
I’ve been keeping this secret for a while now, but am thrilled to announce that I am to be the inaugural Creative Arts Fellow at the National Library of Australia.
Watch this space.
I recently saw an article attempting to find a list of 9 Great Symphonies each by a different American Composer. Ever noticed how symphonies are always ‘great’… and never make double digits? This article was a spin-off from another article in-turn spun-off from a Facebook game so I guess that makes this commentary on commentary on commentary ‘ad inceptionitum’. I immediately began to wonder what this game might look like for Australian Symphonies. Continue reading “The Australian Symphony – In search of Australia’s 9 ‘Greats’”
It’s ironic that my first ever blog post for this new venture was written out by hand – in my terrible scrawl – with pen and paper but I’m also secretly pleased it happened that way.
In a week where my computer gave up entirely and so I was forced to confront how practically (and emotionally) invested I am in that very different kind of ‘notebook’, I used the inability to e-mail as an excuse to write out some thoughts about music. I will try and keep this up, as and when it occurs to me, and post anything that catches my mind, or my mind’s-ear.