Clive Douglas and the search for the Australian symphony

McNeill, Rhoderick J. (2009) Clive Douglas and the search for the Australian symphony. In: Legacies, Feb 2009, Toowoomba, Australia.

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Clive Douglas (1903-1977) was one of Australia's most 'high-profile' composers active during the period 1945-1965. Through his conducting appointments by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in first Hobart, then Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, Douglas had more opportunities than most composers of his generation to have his music heard. Since his death in 1977 his contribution to Australian music is remembered more for the controversies associated with his appropriation of Aboriginal titles and melodies in his search for an unmistakeable Australian idiom than for the strength of his music. He has been branded by some as a musical 'Jindyworobak'. Sadly, none of his music survives in commercial recordings available today.

In this paper, Douglas’s three large-scale symphonic works of the 1950s, Symphony No.1 ‘Jubilee’ (1951), the symphonic suite Wongadilla (1954) and Symphony No.2 ‘Namatjira’ (1956) will be surveyed, and evaluated as to how they succeed as examples of Australian nationalist music. Douglas’s descriptions of the intent behind these works will be shown to be symptomatic of the then current views of what it meant to be Australian. These pieces will also be placed within their context within Australian symphonies of the period and the larger European/American trends within symphonic composition.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This paper still requires complete bibliographic apparatus and is intended as material to be incorporated in a book chapter on Douglas's symphonies in my forthcoming book on Australian Symphonies in the 1950s.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Music
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2013 01:25
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2014 00:32
Uncontrolled Keywords: Clive Douglas; symphonies; Australia; musical nationalism
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

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