Clive Douglas and the search for the Australian symphony

Presentation


McNeill, Rhoderick J.. 2009. "Clive Douglas and the search for the Australian symphony." Legacies 09 Conference. Toowoomba, Australia 13 - 14 Feb 2009
Paper/Presentation Title

Clive Douglas and the search for the Australian symphony

Presentation TypePresentation
Authors
AuthorMcNeill, Rhoderick J.
Number of Pages9
Year2009
Conference/EventLegacies 09 Conference
Event Details
Legacies 09 Conference
Event Date
13 to end of 14 Feb 2009
Event Location
Toowoomba, Australia
Abstract

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.

KeywordsClive Douglas; symphonies; Australia; musical nationalism
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360302. Music composition and improvisation
430302. Australian history
360306. Musicology and ethnomusicology
Public Notes

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.

Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Arts
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/9zx46/clive-douglas-and-the-search-for-the-australian-symphony

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