Volume 6 of Australasian Music Research could be described as an invitation to a celebration - of events and experiences ranging from the national to the personal and with centenaries as a significant focus. Thérèse Radic documents the musical events that accompanied the birth of the Australian Commonwealth in 1901: their participants, repertoire and reception. Noting that a federated Australia was not yet an independent Australia, she demonstrates how the agenda governing the choice of music was at once pragmatic and political, while it drew on fifty years of local experience in organising vast musical forces for the great trade exhibitions. The year 2001 was not only the centenary of Federation, but was also the centenary year of the first annual national brass band contest, held at the South Street Eisteddfod in Ballarat in 1901. John Whiteoak explores the rise and decline of the Australian brass band movement, its links with militarism and popular music, and the consequences for women musicians of its strong tradition of gender exclusiveness. Echoes of the past glories of band contesting, like the rotundas in our parks, remind us of a time when the sound of band music in the open air gave the listeners a joyous 'hurrah' of the imagination.
Linda Phillips celebrated her one-hundredth birthday in June 1999, with a wonderful concert of her music organised by Joel Crotty in the Iwaki Auditorium. Adrian Thomas documents the career of this influential woman who, in her various roles as performer, composer, critic and adjudicator, made her mark on Melbourne's musical life over five or more decades. Highly effective in some areas of her career, deeply disappointed in others, Phillips's long creative life obliged her to accommodate and adapt to many changes.
As we step conceptually into the last decade of the twentieth century, Linda Kouvaras compares two works - a film and an opera - in which the aetiology of eating disorders (that all-pervasive contemporary human experience) is explored through the medium of music. Disturbing, amusing and in the end triumphant as each heroine finds a kind of redemption, in her different way, the works provide an opportunity for the author's feminist examination of received social, psychoanalytical and musical ideas - and, for one character, the creative possibilities of 'death by overindulgence.'
Skilfully led by Malcolm Gillies, Doreen Bridges reflects on the history of music and music education in Australia in the mid-twentieth century in a new section of the journal, Interviews. Initiated in response to a suggestion by Jamie Kassler, the Interview will allow distinguished Australian musicians to speak about their passions in their own voices. Doreen Bridges's passionate involvement with music education, its history, its conservatism, and its potential has driven and shaped a remarkable career. The relative merits of the AMEB and the Kodály method are discussed, and the value of music education in the classroom finds an articulate advocate.
Keith Dunstan's 1970s series of volumes pithily entitled Ratbags, Knockers, Sports and Wowsers, established what might be an agenda for the selection of a distinctively Australian gallery of National Treasures. One of Dunstan's ratbags was Jack De Garis, a man of exuberant personality who, according to Claude Kingston, experienced 'blinding mental flashes which he mistook for inspiration.' Under the influence of such flashes, De Garis created - and, one might say, eventually scuttled - his FFF, a pioneering all-Australian music comedy. Drawing on his larger history of the Tivoli circuit in Australia, Frank Van Straten chronicles the history of FFF and its maker. Recapturing the vitality of our theatrical history through the personalities that made it has become the trademark of this author's own unique contribution to Melbourne's cultural life.
The link between performer, creator and repertoire is further developed in Christopher Wainwright's study of Australian harpsichord music, a neglected area of Australian compositional repertoire. Accompanied by an inventory that identifies composers, titles and manuscript sources of fifty works, this useful article draw together previously scattered information as it clarifies and corrects mistakes and misinformation.
Finally, Joel Crotty brings the journal's ongoing review of publications in the field of Australian music forward to the end of 2001.
I am grateful to the Chair and Management Committee of the Centre for Studies in Autralian Music for giving me the opportunity to edit this volume of Australasian Music Research. I have enjoyed my contact with the authors and thank them for their attention to the various stages of writing and revising. My gratitude goes to those who have acted as referees, busy people who have contributed their time and expertise. I wish to thank those members of the journal's advisory board who have been forthcoming with advice and support for this volume, particularly Thérèse Radic and Jamie Kassler. Thanks also to Joel Crotty of Monash University's School of Music-Conservatorium for support and advice and to the production team at CSAM: Jennifer Hill (for editorial assistance) and Peter Campbell (for typesetting and layout).
Kay Dreyfus, Melbourne
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