Reviews: Books


The Soundscapes of Australia: Music, Place and Spirituality PDF Print E-mail

Edited by Fiona Richards

Ashgate Publishing Ltd

ISBN 978-0-7546-4072-1

Reviewed by Tony Mitchell

This book has had remarkably little publicity here, although it came out in 2007. This is possibly because it is a UK-generated project, and the publisher, Ashgate, which specialises in books on more obscure sources of music around the world, issues only expensive hard cover editions which are beyond the price range of the average reader. The listed price of this book on dstore.com.au is $218.35, although it seems to have crept into a number of university and conservatorium libraries around the country, which is where one of my research assistants managed to track it down. It should also not be confused with a series of eight rather dubious tourism DVDs with the same title which are advertised on the ABC bookshop’s website as a “sublime musical journey through the magnificent Australian environment”. These feature photographs of rural Australia by John Henshall, for which “relaxational instrumental music has been specially composed to compliment [sic] each particular track” by one Greg Andrew, who describes himself on his website as “a professional piano vocalist entertainer performing in many of the premier resorts, hotels and casinos throughout Australia”. Enough said!

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Intercultural Music: Creation and Interpretation PDF Print E-mail

Intercultural Music: Creation and Interpretation

Edited by Sally Macarthur, Bruce Crossman and Ronaldo Morelos

Australian Music Centre 2006

ISBN 9780909168605

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

People talking about people talking about people talking about (repeat ad lib) music – too often an apt description of musical analysis and musicology. Inviting composers to dig into their own works and spade up the origins and motivations behind the choice of B flat or a microtone between A and A sharp can open a can of verbal worms. We should not expect individuals gifted with a high level of ability in organizing sounds (thank you, John Cage) to be equally articulate with words.

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NZ Rock 1987-2007 PDF Print E-mail

NZ Rock 1987-2007

By Gareth Shute

Random House New Zealand, 2008

ISBN 978-1-86979-000-4

45 South in Concert

By Neil McKelvie

Southland Musicians Club, Invercargill, New Zealand, 2006

Reviewed by Tony Mitchell

Books on New Zealand popular music seem to proliferate, a number of them covering similar territory. This volume, the third book by Gareth Shute, a music journalist whose Hip Hop Music in Aotearoa/New Zealand won the Montana NZ Award in 2005 – and which I reviewed at the time in Music Forum – is conceived as a follow-up to John Dix’s justly celebrated Stranded in Paradise: New Zealand Rock and Roll 1955 to 1988, a rather raggedly-updated version of which I reviewed in Music Forum Vol 12, No 3 in July 2006. Shute is himself a musician, having played in cult pop bands the Tokey Tones, the Brunettes and Ryan McPhun and the Ruby Suns, and his 2005 book Making Music in New Zealand, also published by Random House, is a supposedly self-help guide which compiles quotes from a wide range of local musicians who have achieved profiles in the local industry and internationally.

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Listen to your Hands! PDF Print E-mail

William Coyle

Tasmania: William Coyle Piano Teaching 2007

ISBN 9780646478500 40 pp

www.listentoyourhands.com.au

Reviewed by Rachel Hocking

Back in the day when I sat for piano exams part of the requirements involved playing a chord progression of I, IV, V in the keys of the scales that I had prepared to assist with understanding of basic functional harmony. As time is even more limited these days, exercises such as these sometimes are not part of regular studio lessons or exams. Enter William Coyle’s small but sophisticated-looking volume.

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An Introduction to the Cor Anglais and Oboe PDF Print E-mail

Rachel Tolmie

Wollongong: Wirripang 2006

ISBN 9781876829124 100pp with CD

Reviewed by Eve Newsome

Rachel Tolmie’s An Introduction to the Cor Anglais and Oboe contains much valuable information for the beginner, professional and teacher alike. The first four chapters are dedicated to the beginner oboist, teachers, or those wishing to revise basic principles such as embouchure formation, posture, breathing and healthy approaches to playing. To assist with the very first lesson, a compendium of ideas is presented. This is followed by practical advice concerning practice techniques and approaches to joining and performing in ensembles. Much of this contains concise and detailed information and includes a recommended ‘playing in’ and oiling process for new instruments. Essential oboe reed making technique is covered in a well-presented connection between photos and information. A short chapter on contemporary techniques then directs readers to more extensive sources of reference if required.

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Catalogue de la collection Musicale Hanson-Dyer PDF Print E-mail

Melbourne: The University of Melbourne 2007

Denis Herlin

ISBN 0734036469 170pp

Reviewed by Helen Rusak

This publication is a treasury of information for any lover of early music and is the key to the exceptionally significant ‘Hanson-Dyer Music Collection’ held by the University of Melbourne.

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Australian Arts. Where the Bloody Hell Are You? PDF Print E-mail

Australian Arts in an International Context

John Clark, Peter McCallum, Ian Maxwell, editors

Sydney: Sydney University Press 2007

ISBN 978-1-920898-14-4

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Mem Fox tells me she is just back from her 100th trip to the USA promoting Where the Giant Sleeps, her 32nd and latest book. All paid for by her publishers. No subsidy from the public purse. They do things differently in America.

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Willie's Bar and Grill PDF Print E-mail

Willie's Bar and Grill

Rob Hirst

Picador, Sydney, 2003

Reviewed by Julian Porter

Did you hear the one about the drummer who wrote a book? Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst will have copped his fair share of smart-arse remarks since he decided in late 2001 to begin documenting the band's travels for a potential piece of travel writing/rock and roll reminiscence.

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When the Writ HITS THE FAN! PDF Print E-mail

When the Writ HITS THE FAN!

Phil Dwyer with Phil Tripp

Sydney: 40Watt Marketing Pty Ltd July 2004, distributed by Immedia

Reviewed by Lindy Morrison

When the Writ HITS THE FAN! is a “30 year journey through Australia’s contemporary music industry by a lawyer who was there”.

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When Austral Sang. The Biography of Florence Austral PDF Print E-mail

When Austral Sang. The Biography of Florence Austral

Michael Elphinstone and Wayne Hancock

Hyde Park Press 2005

ISBN 0 646 44033 0 $60

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

In writing When Austral Sang, Adelaide-trained musicologists Michael Elphinstone and Wayne Hancock were determined above all to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about a woman who was somewhat cavalier with her own truths. No source has been left unexplored in their quest. They have scoured the archives of printed and spoken words from Munich to Middlesex to Melbourne, being especially assiduous in refuting dodgy claims by the great soprano herself and the spurious entries that have ensued in previous less penetrating publications.

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Timing is Everything PDF Print E-mail

Timing is Everything

Moffatt Oxenbould

ABC Books

ISBN 073331713 8

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

The life of Moffatt Oxenbould is inseparable from the several lives of Australia's professional national opera companies. He was irrevocably drawn into the worlds of music and drama at the age of eight, lying on the floor listening to recordings and reading scores of productions his compliant and cultured parents had taken him to. Why this should happen to one child and not to others he does not attempt to explain. It just did, and determined his career.

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The Time of Our Singing PDF Print E-mail

The Time of Our Singing

Richard Powers

London: Vintage, 2004

Reviewed briefly by Richard Letts

In the 60s, I sat in the basement studios of the music building at the University of California, Berkeley, trying to become a composer. Outside, the civil rights, free speech, and anti-Vietnam war movements raged successively, with rallies, marches, pamphleteering, “riots” as claimed by the media. It was very intense, and pretty difficult to persuade myself that a career in composing esoteric music for a miniscule audience of friends and converts had a greater claim on my time and energies than the issues of fundamental justice being fought in the streets of America.

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Stranded in Paradise PDF Print E-mail

Stranded in Paradise: New Zealand Rock and Roll 1955 to the Modern Era

John Dix

Auckland: Penguin Books 2005

ISBN 0 14 301953 8

Reviewed by Tony Mitchell

I still remember the shock of amazement when I first discovered John Dix’s massive, encyclopedic history of New Zealand rock and roll in the now late and lamented Rhino Records in Westwood, Los Angeles, in 1992. Published in A4 in an edition of 10,000 copies in 1988 by the one-off imprint Paradise Publications, weighing two kilos (in paperback – there was also a hardback version) it contained a continuous stream of  vivid historical photographs of a plethora of Kiwi bands and musicians from the ‘Maori cowboy’ Johnny Cooper in 1955 to Flying Nun’s international push in 1988. Also containing dense historical commentary and analyses of most of three decades’ worth of important gigs, hits and recordings, it was an extraordinary achievement, not just in musical history but in social history as well. No one has ever succeeded in producing anything remotely like its equivalent in Australia, and it has inevitably become a cult item across the Tasman, with second hand bookshops selling copies for over $200.

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Sounds from the Corner PDF Print E-mail

Sounds from the Corner: Australian Contemporary Jazz on CD

Roger Dean

Sydney: Australian Music Centre, July 2005

Reviewed by Jenny Game-Lopata

Sounds From the Corner is a snapshot of 250 Australian CD releases since 1973 aimed at encouraging international interest in Australian music. In the author’s words, the collection is seeking to represent the full stylistic range of Australian contemporary work, and to provide several levels of comment thereon. The selection criteria stipulate that  musicians have at least two currently available CDs as band leader (excluding traditional and mainstream jazz styles). Entries were selected from a questionnaire circulated to 112 musicians, critics and promoters (with 15 responses) and from informal interviews with the author’s “close collaborators”. Sounds from the Corner also incorporates a number of appendixes including an essay on the Australian music scene and a somewhat disturbing summary of responses to the questionnaire. Dean regularly cites his own professional experiences as a point of reference for the collection.

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Songs from Australia PDF Print E-mail

Songs from Australia

David Miller, Wendy Dixon, Cathy Aggett and Linda Foulsham

Wollongong, 2006: Wirripang, 246pp, CD

ISBN 1876829 09 5

www.australiancomposers.com.au

Reviewed by Carol-ann Bentley

The authors have combined their many skills and vast experience to create this impressive resource book.

Twenty seven Australian songs, composed between 1933 and 2002, have been selected for this much needed teaching manual. The songs alone would attract many with their variety of moods, styles and musical features, but here we have each song prefaced by pages of information to educate, assist and enhance performance through understanding of style, meaning, concepts and technique.

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Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger PDF Print E-mail

Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger

Edited by Malcolm Gillies, David Pear and Mark Carroll

Oxford University Press 2006

ISBN13 978-0-19-530537-1

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Tone-art-fact-search-y (Percy might have made the word up for musicological but didn’t, so Malcolm Gillies did it for him) authors are not widely known for their general public readability. In Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger anyone interested in family histories, in delving into the innermost thoughts and feelings of Australia’s best known musician of all time about himself and just about everyone he knew, will be well entertained by this neatly organized collection of what Grainger called ‘Sketches’ and deposited in the Melbourne Museum dedicated to his collection of writings and artefacts.

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A Regional State of Mind. Making Arts Outside Metropolitan Australia PDF Print E-mail

A Regional State of Mind. Making Arts Outside Metropolitan Australia

Lyndon Terracini

Platform Papers No.l1. Sydney: Currency House, January 2007

ISBN 978 0 97573 019 5

Reviewed by Helen Lancaster

By the author’s own admission, some of what is found in this gem of a book has been said before – most of it by Terracini himself as he has promoted the various adventures here described. Finally, they are in print, hopefully ensuring a wide dissemination of his philosophy and example.

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Reel Tracks PDF Print E-mail

Reel Tracks: Australian Feature Film Music and Cultural Identities

Rebecca Coyle, ed.  Eastleigh, UK: John Libbey Publishing, 2005, ISBN: 0 86196 658 9 (Paperback)

Reviewed by Anthony Linden Jones

This collection of essays focusing on music and sound design in Australian film is the second produced by Rebecca Coyle, currently the course coordinator for the Media Programme at Southern Cross University. It is a welcome addition to her earlier excellent collection, Screen Scores: Studies in Contemporary Australian Film Music, published in 1998, with many of its contributors also featured in this new collection.

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The Promoters PDF Print E-mail

The Promoters

Stuart Coupe

Hodder, Sydney 2003.
ISBN 0 7336 1503 1

Reviewed by Lucky Oceans

It’s hard to imagine a better cover for this book.  It shows the ‘long lunch’ of 1975 that formalised the formation of the Premier Artists booking agency.  Philip Jacobsen, Michael Gudinski, Michael Chugg (both with hair), Frank Stivala and Ray Evans relax around a table cluttered with goblets and wine glasses. This crew, along with some others, went on in 1979 to form the Frontier Touring Company, an agency that didn’t have a losing year until 1997/98.  The Promoters gives us an insider’s view into the world of the folks who bring entertainers of all shapes and sizes into Australia. Stuart Coupe, who has been a journalist and a promoter for much of his life, writes mainly from the viewpoint of the promoter in this account.

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Musicianship in the 21st Century: Issues, Trends and Possibilities PDF Print E-mail

Musicianship in the 21st Century: Issues, Trends and Possibilities

Sam Leong, editor

Australian Music Centre, 2003, 333pp.

ISBN 0-909168-50-4

Reviewed by Peter Dunbar-Hall

For many people in many music teaching institutions, the term 'musicianship' continues to conjure up harmony exercises, aural drills and theoretical study divorced from the reality of music as a daily activity. Thankfully, and as the authors in this book continually point out, a more correct interpretation of the term that refers to the skills of being a musician has now become accepted. Looking at Musicianship in the 21st Century, these skills are broad – including the ability to culturally contextualise music, to historicise it, to respond to it in a variety of cognitive, emotional, physical and spiritual ways.

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Musical Morphology PDF Print E-mail

Musical Morphology

Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Frank Cox, and Wolfram Schurig (eds)

Hofheim: Wolke Verlag, 2004

Reviewed by Thomas Reiner

Musical Morphology is the 2nd volume in the series New Music Aesthetics in the 21st Century.  It comprises 13 chapters by 12 composers from Europe and the United States and is edited by Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Frank Cox, and Wolfram Schurig.  As one would expect with a multi-authored book, the topic of musical morphology is addressed from a range of different perspectives, but there are two things that most contributions have in common. Firstly, there is a clear understanding that the morphology of sound, that is, the study of musical shapes, has become a major compositional concern—a concern that has subsumed (or in some cases replaced) the preoccupation with pitch and pitch structure in Western art music. Secondly, the authors have approached the topic through their own compositional work, which means that many of the chapters provide a deep analytical insight into actual compositions.

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The Music Explorer PDF Print E-mail

The Music Explorer

Guy Noble

ABC Books, Sydney, 2003. ISBN 07333 1061 3

Reviewed by Fiona Loader

Guy Noble’s book The Music Explorer is a very entertaining and informative book which displays Guy’s wide ranging musical knowledge and interests. In it, he delves into topics as diverse as Edison’s invention of the phonograph to Maria Callas’ wardrobe! There are fascinating anecdotes about composers, performers, conductors, accompanists, singers and pop groups, not to mention the music that they were all so passionate about.

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More than a Musician. A Life of E. Harold Davies PDF Print E-mail

More than a Musician. A Life of E. Harold Davies

Doreen Bridges

North Melbourne, 2006: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 199pp.

ISBN 1-74097-120-5

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Elder Professor in Adelaide University from 1919 until his death in 1947, major player in the establishment of a number of local and national organisations – from AMEB to Port Noarlunga Royal Life Saving Society – an inspiring teacher and tireless administrator, E. (for Edward, which he never used) Harold Davies is celebrated in a biography of rare insight by Doreen Bridges, who, as his student in the thirties probably knew him as well as anybody outside his immediate family. Her material comes from primary sources; her own direct contact with him and copious personal and professional letters, all carefully preserved by Catherine Mary, the youngest of his five children, now 95 and known as Molly Cheesman. Among the earliest of these are several to his student in Gawler, Ina Deland. As their friendship develops into love, he signs himself more affectionately, but still advises her to work harder at her scales and ‘do a little sight-reading every day’.

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A Manual for Music Workshops PDF Print E-mail

A Manual for Music Workshops

Graham Leak

Currency Press, Sydney, 2003

ISBN 0 86819673 8

Reviewed by Lindy Morrison

Graham Leak is a consummate performer whose work includes his musical contribution as percussionist in the experimental Flederman Ensemble (founded by Carl Vine and Simone de Haan) for a decade in the eighties. Leak has worked all over Australia, USA and Europe. His work as a solo performer, with the ASTRA concerts and The Last Laugh, has given him a brilliant reputation amongst musicians and fans that he deserves. He also directs large-scale events and performances, music theatre, dance and improvised music.

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Maestros, Masterpieces and Madness: PDF Print E-mail

Maestros, Masterpieces and Madness: The Secret Life and Shameful Death of the Classical Recording Industry

Norman Lebrecht

Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, London 2007.

ISBN 0713999578, 324 pages.

Reviewed by Ken Nielsen

In his latest book, Norman Lebrecht reports that the classical record industry is dead. Not threatened, not in trouble, not in crisis but stone dead.

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In Defence of Classical Music PDF Print E-mail

In Defence of Classical Music

Andrew Ford

Sydney: ABC Books, 2005

Reviewed By Elizabeth Silsbury

Does classical music need defending? If so, from what? Or whom? Is not the most inspirational invention of all time big enough and beautiful enough to defend itself?
Composer, broadcaster, writer and thinker Andrew Ford believes it does. He sets about this task with the same passion, talent, wisdom, wit and experience that he brings to every task he assumes.

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Hip Hop Music in Aotearoa PDF Print E-mail

Hip Hop Music in Aotearoa

Gareth Shute

Auckland: Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd., 2004

Reviewed by Tony Mitchell

This chronological survey of 15 years of hip hop in Aotearoa/New Zealand won the 2005 Montana New Zealand book award in Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture, which may give some indication of the prominent role that hip hop culture plays across the Tasman. It is a comprehensive factual history of the subject from its first release, Upper Hutt Posse's 1988 single E Tu (Be Strong), up to 2003, much of it compiled verbatim from extensive interviews with the main practitioners of the scene. But it tends to chronicle the main events and profile the main protagonists without really delving into some of the more important issues which arise from it, such as the continuing widespread use of American accents, and the varying degrees of Maori and Pacific Island political engagement expressed by the different posses, MCs  and DJs, along with an increasing use of Maori language as well as Samoan (most notably by  another pioneering figure, Feelstyle, aka Koz, in his 2004 album based on the Samoan alphabet, Breaking it to Pieces).

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Geoffrey Parsons Among Friends PDF Print E-mail

Geoffrey Parsons Among Friends

Richard Davis

Sydney: ABC Books, December 2006.

ISBN 9780733319877, 287 pages.

Reviewed by Jeanell Carrigan

Geoffrey Parsons is remembered by many who heard him perform or who were fortunate to have known him as a brilliant musician - technically dexterous, sensitive and possessing exceptional musical skills. He is also remembered as a person of the highest integrity, of strong moral and human fibre who had a great sense of humour and enjoyed life to the full. Parsons was a man of faith who lived his life as a Christian, committed to the Church of England. He was a man generous of spirit who shared his knowledge and musical craft as well as himself and his possessions with many. He was also a man who met an untimely and painful death with fortitude and courage and maintained an enormous sense of responsibility in not forsaking his career even when his health had deteriorated to a point when it was hardly possible for him to continue.

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The Foundations of Contemporary Composing PDF Print E-mail

The Foundations of Contemporary Composing

Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, ed.

Hofheim: Wolke Verlag, 2004

Reviewed by Thomas Reiner

The collection of essays on the survival of modernity in contemporary music in The Foundations of Contemporary Composing, edited by German composer Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, makes an interesting and largely convincing case for the continued social and cultural merit of high-art music.  The North American and European authors who have contributed to this 3rd Volume of the series New Music and Aesthetics in the 21st Century address a wealth of current compositional concerns, most of which are grounded in modernist beliefs and modernist aesthetics.

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The Five Dimensions of Community PDF Print E-mail

The Five Dimensions of Community

Sandra Krempl

Perth: Community Arts Network WA (2002)

Reviewed by Huib Schippers

Over the past two decades, what is referred to as ‘community music activities’ has gained importance and respect in the international dialogue on musical practices in contemporary societies. The term mostly refers to active interventions in the musical infrastructure with the aim to recreate the sense of musical community that is traditionally found in settings like Javanese Village gamelans, African percussion ensembles, and brass orchestras.

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Deadly sounds, deadly places: Contemporary Aboriginal Music in Australia PDF Print E-mail

Deadly sounds, deadly places: Contemporary Aboriginal Music in Australia

Peter Dunbar-Hall and Chris Gibson

Sydney: UNSW Press, 2004

Reviewed by Hans Hoegh-Guldberg

‘Deadly’ is Aboriginal English for fantastic, great, terrific. The authors are Sydney-based academics whose research interests include Aboriginal music, Australian cultural history and Aboriginal economic development. While their book is about ‘contemporary’ Aboriginal music, they are careful to point out (p 16) that “attempts to define Aboriginal expressions through Western concepts such as ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ are futile, and possibly damaging.” One might argue that this is becoming common to all music, not least new music fusing or mixing conventional genres. “Our position, resonant with that of many Aboriginal musicians, is that Aboriginal music is a thread of expression that has always, and is continually changing.”

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Dancing with DeBeauvoir: Jazz and the French PDF Print E-mail

Dancing with DeBeauvoir: Jazz and the French

By Colin Nettelbeck.

Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 2004. 240 pages.

ISBN 0 522 85113 4.

Reviewed by Bruce Johnson

This study in the jazz diaspora is informed by a deep and broad knowledge of French society which helps to remind us that jazz ‘away’ is not simply a record of a derivative music diluted by distance, but of a process of acculturation that produces a form that is profoundly expressive and ‘authentic’, on its own terms. The well-known example of Django Reinhardt and his colleagues represents an influential body of work distinguished in terms of its own formal character. But more broadly, as with every country that developed a jazz culture, French jazz became a distinctive milieu which played a decisive role in articulating the country’s transition into modernity. In a number of ways it contributed to the diasporic creation of an America which differed significantly from the ‘original’, in that it helped to actualize a democratic and emancipative modernity to which the US itself often paid only lip-service, as the colour and gender lines exemplify. Expatriate Americans themselves often experienced this in a range of ways from the intellectual to the corporeal, as in the anecdote about Hemingway meeting Josephine Baker in Le Jockey nightclub in Montparnasse (196). It was jazz-age France which ‘produced’ Baker and others, like Man Ray (194), in a way that their own country did not.

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Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia PDF Print E-mail

Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia

John Whiteoak and Aline Scott-Maxwell, editors

Currency House Inc., in association with Currency Press, Sydney, 2003; 735pp.

Reviewed by Graham Strahle

Following on from Currency’s Companion to Theatre in Australia (1995), this new work is rare for an encyclopaedia in that it treats two artforms together. At first one might question the merits of doing this, but on inspecting the more than 370 articles here one discovers that there are many advantages to be gained and that this is indeed a reference work of unique value.

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Computers in Music Education: amplifying musicality. PDF Print E-mail

Computers in Music Education: amplifying musicality.

Andrew R. Brown

Queensland:  Routledge, 2007.

ISBN 9780415978514  338 pages

Reviewed by Iain Giblin

Computers in Music Education is a comprehensive survey of computers and their place in the development of aural, performance, and composition skills. This book is a valuable resource for both practising music teachers and pre-service music teachers because it covers how computers assist the development of traditional skills, such as aural and musicianship skills, through to the integration of recent technologies, such as internet-based music distribution.

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The Company We Keep: an intimate celebration of Opera Australia PDF Print E-mail

The Company We Keep: an intimate celebration of Opera Australia

Text by Annarosa Berman and photographs by Bridget Elliott

Published by Opera Australia and Currency Press $49.95

ISBN 0 86819 786 6

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Just in time, this collection of interviews and  photographs about what the general public does and does not see of Australia’s biggest and busiest opera company and its mainstage operations in Sydney and Melbourne. Presumably the book was already with the publishers when the news broke that Victorian Opera was about to challenge OA for the Melbourne opera dollars. Big changes in the wind for an organization that had ruled the roost without competition for a decade and in tandem with the Victoria State Opera for many years before that.

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The Child as Musician: A Handbook of Musical Development PDF Print E-mail

The Child as Musician: A Handbook of Musical Development

Edited by Gary McPherson

Oxford, England, 2006: Oxford University Press, 501pp.

ISBN 0-19853032-3

Reviewed by Peter Dunbar-Hall

Perhaps reflecting the need for published research to cover a wide range of applications, ideas and outcomes, handbooks have become standard in academic disciplines. They allow an editor the chance to cover important research, to include snapshots of best practice, to present discussion across a field, and to include extensive bibliographies through which the bases of thinking in a particular topic area are demonstrated. The latest handbook relevant for music educators, and for those with interests in studies of childhood, is The Child as Musician. Apart from its comprehensiveness, what marks this out as essential reading for students and practitioners are its implicit agendas - among these, demonstration of children as musicians rather than as learners who might one day develop into musicians. This is a significant step in the thinking about children and their relationships to music that helps justify the book's purpose and its range of writers and topics.

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The Character of a Genius: Beethoven in Perspective. PDF Print E-mail

The Character of a Genius: Beethoven in Perspective.

Peter J. Davies

Greenwood Press. 2002. 319 pp.

Reviewed by Peter McCallum

This is Peter Davies’s second book on Beethoven: the first dealt with his death: this one with his troubled life. Davies has sifted and sorted anecdotes from the Beethoven literature to construct a comprehensive series of notes on the composer’s childhood, religious beliefs and music, work habits, pastimes, and his personality. Sometimes these read like notes from the doctor’s couch, arranged in apparently random order, and of a relevance and direction which is initially unclear. The most interesting chapters are the last four, in which Davies uses his medical expertise to sift and interpret according to the language and concepts of modern mental health.

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Australia's Operatic Phoenix PDF Print E-mail

Australia's Operatic Phoenix: From World War II to War and Peace

Alison Gyger

Sydney, 2005: Pelinor, 360pp.

ISBN 0949697419

Reviewed by Rowena Cowley

The story of opera in Australia prior to the establishment of a national company might be described as one of operatic droughts and flooding rains. Alison Gyger has contributed significantly to telling this story: her two previous books covered Australian operatic history from 1796 until the beginning of World War II. Gyger’s third book on the subject covers the period from the last J.C. Williamson and Italian companies to the opening season of The Australian Opera in the Sydney Opera House: from post-war 1948 to 1973.

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1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die PDF Print E-mail

Robert Dimery (ed.)

Sydney: Quintet Publishing Limited (2005)

Reviewed by Dean Biron

In his seminal essay "What was postmodernism,"[i] John Frow identifies the concept of the list as characteristic of attempts to both quantify and authenticate contemporary culture. And nowhere has "listology" been taken closer to heart than in the world of music. 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is the latest (surely biggest) example of this phenomenon. Unfortunately, it is by no means the best.

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All the way with the USA. Australia, the US and Free Trade PDF Print E-mail

All the way with the USA. Australia, the US and Free Trade

Ann Capling

Series entitled Briefings, from Sydney: UNSW Press, 2005

Reviewed by Richard Letts

 

The Australia/US Free Trade Agreement came into operation on New Year's Day, 2005. The haggling, the politicking, the media manipulations around the terms of the agreement are over. Now, for good or ill, we live with it and see what evolves.

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Music Forum Book Reviews PDF Print E-mail

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Edited by Robert Dimery. Sydney: Quintet Publishing Limited (2005)

Reviewed by Dean Biron

 

45 South in Concert .By Neil McKelvie.Southland Musicians Club, Invercargill, New Zealand, 2006.

Reviewed by Tony Mitchell

All the way with the USA. Australia, the US and Free Trade by

Ann Capling. Series entitled Briefings, from Sydney: UNSW Press, 2005

Reviewed by Richard Letts

Australia’s Operatic Phoenix: From World War II to War and Peace by Alison Gyger. Sydney, 2005: Pelinor, 360pp. ISBN 0949697419

Reviewed by Rowena Cowley

Australian Arts. Where the Bloody Hell Are You? Australian Arts in an International Context by John Clark, Peter McCallum, Ian Maxwell, editors. Sydney: Sydney University Press 2007. ISBN 978-1-920898-14-4

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Catalogue de la collection Musicale Hanson-Dyer by Denis Herlin. Melbourne: The University of Melbourne 2007.  ISBN 0734036469 170pp

Reviewed by Helen Rusak

Character of a Genius: Beethoven in Perspective (The) by Peter J. Davies. Greenwood Press. 2002. 319 pp.

Reviewed by Peter McCallum

Child as Musician: A Handbook of Musical Development (The). Edited by Gary McPherson.Oxford, England, 2006: Oxford University Press, 501pp. ISBN 0-19853032-3

Reviewed by Peter Dunbar-Hall

Company We Keep: an intimate celebration of Opera Australia (The). Text by Annarosa Berman and photographs by Bridget Elliott. Published by Opera Australia and Currency Press $49.95. ISBN 0 86819 786 6

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Computers in Music Education: amplifying musicality. By Andrew R. Brown. Queensland:  Routledge, 2007.

ISBN 9780415978514  338 pp.

Reviewed by Iain Giblin

Currency Companion to Music and Dance in Australia. Edited by John Whiteoak and Aline Scott-Maxwell. Currency House Inc., in association with Currency Press, Sydney, 2003; 735pp.

Reviewed by Graham Strahle

Dancing with DeBeauvoir: Jazz and the French by Colin Nettelbeck. Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 2004. 240 pages. ISBN 0 522 85113 4.

Reviewed by Bruce Johnson

Deadly sounds, deadly places: Contemporary Aboriginal Music in Australia by Peter Dunbar-Hall and Chris Gibson. Sydney: UNSW Press, 2004.

Reviewed by Hans Hoegh-Guldberg

Five Dimensions of Community (The) by Sandra Krempl. Perth: Community Arts Network WA (2002)

Reviewed by Huib Schippers

Foundations of Contemporary Composing (The) Edited by Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf. Hofheim: Wolke Verlag, 2004.

Reviewed by Thomas Reiner

Geoffrey Parsons Among Friends. By Richard Davis. Sydney: ABC Books, December 2006. ISBN 9780733319877, 287 pages.

Reviewed by Jeanell Carrigan

Growing Up Making Music: Youth Orchestras in Australia and the World by Margaret Kartomi and Kay Dreyfus. Melbourne: Lyrebird Press 2007. ISBN 978734037688 ISSN 13255266 186pp.

Reviewed by Iain Giblin

Hip Hop Music in Aotearoa by Gareth Shute. Auckland: Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd., 2004.

Reviewed by Tony Mitchell

In Defence of Classical Music by Andrew Ford. Sydney: ABC Books, 2005
Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

 

Intercultural Music: Creation and Interpretation .Edited by Sally Macarthur, Bruce Crossman and Ronaldo Morelo. Australian Music Centre 2006.ISBN 9780909168605

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury


An Introduction to the Cor Anglais and Oboe by Rachel Tolmie.Wollongong: Wirripang 2006. ISBN 9781876829124 100pp with CD.

Reviewed by Eve Newsome

Listen to your Hands! by William Coyle. Tasmania: William Coyle Piano Teaching 2007. ISBN 9780646478500 40 pp. www.listentoyourhands.com.au

Reviewed by Rachel Hocking

Maestros, Masterpieces and Madness: The Secret Life and Shameful Death of the Classical Recording Industry. By Norman Lebrecht. Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, London 2007.  ISBN 0713999578, 324 pages.

Reviewed by Ken Nielsen

Manual for Music Workshops (A) by Graham Leak. Currency Press, Sydney, 2003

ISBN 0 86819673 8

Reviewed by Lindy Morrison

More than a Musician. A Life of E. Harold Davies by Doreen Bridges

North Melbourne, 2006: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 199pp. ISBN 1-74097-120-5

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Music Explorer (The) by Guy Noble. ABC Books, Sydney, 2003. ISBN 07333 1061 3

Reviewed by Fiona Loader

Music, Meaning and Transformation. Steve Dillon.Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2007.ISBN 1-84718-213-5

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

 

Musical Morphology. Edited by Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Frank Cox, and Wolfram Schurig. Hofheim: Wolke Verlag, 2004.

Reviewed by Thomas Reiner

Musicianship in the 21st Century: Issues, Trends and Possibilities. Edited by Sam Leong. Australian Music Centre, 2003, 333pp. ISBN 0-909168-50-4

Reviewed by Peter Dunbar-Hall

 

NZ Rock 1987-2007 . By Gareth Shute. Random House New Zealand, 2008, ISBN 978-1-86979-000-4

Reviewed by Tony Mitchell

Promoters (The) by Stuart Coupe. Hodder, Sydney 2003. ISBN 0 7336 1503 1
Reviewed by Lucky Oceans

Reel Tracks: Australian Feature Film Music and Cultural Identities. Edited by Rebecca Coyle. Eastleigh, UK: John Libbey Publishing, 2005, ISBN: 0 86196 658 9

Reviewed by Anthony Linden Jones

Regional State of Mind (A). Making Arts outside Metropolitan Australia by Lyndon Terracini. Platform Papers No.l1. Sydney: Currency House, January 2007. ISBN 978 0 97573 019 5

Reviewed by Helen Lancaster

The Rite of Spring. 75 Years of ABC Music-Making by Martin Buzacott. Sydney: ABC Books 2007.  ISBN 9780733318849 487pp

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger. Edited by Malcolm Gillies, David Pear and Mark Carroll. Oxford University Press 2006. ISBN13 978-0-19-530537-1

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Songs from Australia by David Miller, Wendy Dixon, Cathy Aggett and Linda Foulsham. Wollongong, 2006: Wirripang, 246pp, CD  ISBN 1876829 09 5

www.australiancomposers.com.au

Reviewed by Carol-Ann Bentley

Sounds from the Corner: Australian Contemporary Jazz on CD by Roger Dean. Sydney: Australian Music Centre, July 2005

Reviewed by Jenny Game-Lopata

 

The Soundscapes of Australia: Music, Place and Spirituality. Edited by Fiona Richards. Ashgate Publishing Ltd ISBN 978-0-7546-4072-1

Reviewed by Tony Mitchell

Stranded in Paradise: New Zealand Rock and Roll 1955 to the Modern Era by John Dix. Auckland: Penguin Books 2005 ISBN 0 14 301953 8

Reviewed by Tony Mitchell

Time of Our Singing (The) by Richard Powers. London: Vintage, 2004

Reviewed briefly by Richard Letts

Timing is Everything by Moffatt Oxenbould. ABC Books ISBN 073331713 8

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Voice of Australia by David Miller, Wendy Dixon, Linda Foulsham.  Wollongong: Wirripang Publications 2007.  ISBN 978176829117 114pp with CD

Reviewed by Stephen Grant

When Austral Sang by Michael Elphinstone and Wayne Hancock. Hyde Park Press 2005 ISBN 0 646 44033 0

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

When the Writ HITS THE FAN! by Phil Dwyer with Phil Tripp.  Sydney: 40Watt Marketing Pty Ltd July 2004, distributed by Immedia.

Reviewed by Lindy Morrison

William James and the Beginnings of Modern Music in Australia by David Tunley.  Sydney: Australian Music Centre 2007. ISBN 9780909168629 129pp

Reviewed by Elizabeth Silsbury

Willie's Bar and Grill by Rob Hirst. Picador, Sydney, 2003.

Reviewed by Julian Porter