A musical response to Buna, December 1942 - Horace Perkins' Elegiac symphony (1952)

McNeill, Rhoderick (2005) A musical response to Buna, December 1942 - Horace Perkins' Elegiac symphony (1952). In: War and Conflict (marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II), 12-13 Aug 2005, Toowoomba, Australia.

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Abstract

Horace Perkins (1901-1986) served the A.I.F as an intelligence sergeant in the Middle East and New Guinea from 1940 to 1944. The war was an interlude in his career as a secondary music teacher (1927-1940) and Supervisor of Music in South Australia for the ABC from 1945 to 1966. A composer of several large-scale works, including three symphonies, Perkins completed his 'Elegiac Symphony' during 1951, and the work was premiered in November the following year. In his program note he wrote: it was on the Buna airstrip on Christmas Day that the ideas came to the composer to write a tribute to those who had died on the battlefield, and to the homes from whence they came.
This is the only large-scale concert work by an Australian to present a musical response to either the First or Second World War. This is remarkable given the importance of the Anzac 'myth' in Australian cultural life. The work portrays vivid recollections of the combat, includes a portrait of the 'laconic' digger, an extensive funeral dirge section, quotations of military tattoos including 'Last Post' and 'Reveille' and popular tunes and finally, an apotheosis of the fallen. The tone of the final section has a similar sense of exaltation that one senses in the Chapel of Remembrance at the National War Memorial in Canberra. Perkins's tribute to his battalion has remained silent since its second performance at an ABC Adelaide Youth concert in 1958.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This material will provide some of a book chapter on Horace Perkin's symphonies that will form part of a forthcoming book on the Australian Symphony during the 1950s.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Music
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2013 01:19
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2015 02:10
Uncontrolled Keywords: Horace Perkins; elegiac symphony; Australia; Buna; World War II; songs of war
Fields of Research : 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190406 Music Composition
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190409 Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950101 Music
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/7949

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