By Rita Crews and Jeanell Carrigan
Biography of Dulcie Holland co-authored by Rita Crews OAM and Jeanell Carrigan AM
This wonderful Australian woman composer deserved to have her life and music celebrated much earlier, not twenty years after her death. But now it is been written by two musicians: one who knew Holland and had the opportunity to discuss her music with her; and one who has come to know Dulcie Holland from playing many of her remarkable compositions. Fortunately, there are detailed interviews available, giving a very good insight into Holland’s thought processes and providing an absolute wealth of information.
Holland was such a modest woman that she probably would have thought her music - and her life - was not worth writing about. She was always described as having an engaging and outgoing personality. She considered herself to be first a pianist, then a composer and thirdly a teacher, but composed music well into her eighties.
Her compositions, numbering at least 330, included music in all genres except opera, though her musical play Jenolan Adventure, was certainly a work of drama for the stage. Documentary films, chamber music, works for orchestra, instrumental solos, many keyboard works and at least thirty songs are all part of her immense contribution to Australian composition.
She is undoubtedly best known for the numerous musicianship and theory textbooks that she wrote over many years. Even the catalogue listing at the National Library mentions that “Holland’s name became synonymous with music theory in Australia.” Despite the obvious advantages of being the Australian expert on music theory, it has meant that Holland herself and some of her more serious compositions have been overlooked by musical critics.
It is a tragedy that a biography and discussion about Holland’s music has taken until now to be written. She is certainly a composer who deserves to be celebrated. In her own words:
But after many years of writing music, simply because I had the urge to do so, I have reached the strong conclusion that music is greater than the sum of all those who contribute to it, and that instead of adding to the volume of music that has been composed, it would be much more valuable to make new converts for music, to share my enthusiasm for it with those possibly as yet unaware, and to stimulate them to find out more of its mysteries and delights. I have had first-hand opportunities to observe how young people develop, how their tastes may be formed, and their imagination fired, and ultimately how their lives can be enriched by a knowledge and love of music. To encourage others along these lines has become my mission in life, and I dare to hope that my influence for good may continue long after my earthly life ends, thus adding significantly to the quality of life in at least one small part of this world.
Composing is very difficult. It needs a lot of concentration and dedication to get things just right. I feel I’m a missionary in music in a way. [Dulcie Holland. 'Contemporary Music Review', 1994, Vol. 11]
https://youtu.be/9WpdT2cehzA Presented by Dr Rita Crews for KCC Music Professional Development
By Jeanell Carrigan
A Guide to the Composers and Repertoire
This book aims to give an overview of the piano music and those composers who called Australia home, in the 100 years 1850-1950.
The composers who wrote the music are presented alphabetically by surname, discussing pertinent biographical details, influences on their style and their contribution to music generally and piano music specifically. Each work listed will give a date composed; date published (if either of those facts are to be discovered); duration (approximate); difficulty grading; provenance of the score; availability of any recordings and a brief description of stylistic characteristics. In some cases, there is a reference to the composition but if no score could be found for discussion or grading there will be ‘NS’ placed in the record.
If a picture tells a thousand words, then a sound recording does even more than that. This book could fill its pages with descriptions of style and individual characteristics of composers but by adding sound files (sample recordings) wherever possible it is hoped that there will be a greater insight into each composers’ musical language and most importantly, a good idea of what the music sounds like.
The book is available in two versions:
1. Hard copy with QR codes of sample recordings scattered throughout. Using a smart phone these codes can be scanned so as to listen to the recordings.
ISBN 97818768294745. Use "Add to Cart" above - $55.00.
2. Digital download with more than 250 sample recordings digitally linked to most composers' works. Online (internet) accesses is required in order to link to the recordings.
By Rita Crews and Jeanell Carrigan
Biography of Roy Agnew: Composer, Pianist, Teacher
by Rita Crews and Jeanell Carrigan
Foreword by Emeritus Prof. Larry Sitsky AO
Robert (Roy) Ewing Agnew (1891-1944) was a man who dominated the musical scene in Sydney in the first half of the 20th century and his creative talent was admired and recognised by fellow musicians in Australia and abroad. He is remembered as a brilliant, virtuosic, and flamboyant performer who graced the musical stage in England and Australia, and as an important and influential teacher in the private sphere of his home in Ashfield; for many years at Kambala School for Girls and in the last year of his life as a staff member at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. He was celebrated as a composer of great originality who was led to “abandon the limitations of key and tonal relationships.”
This book aims to ‘break the drought’ of apathy towards a composer who bridged the gap that many had not dared before between the compositional trend of the conservative ‘English pastoral style’ and the modern language of Europe. Agnew dared to be scandalous!
Audio downloads (under development)
- Chapter 5:
- Sonata Poeme (fragment)
- Sonata Ballade (fragment)
- Chapter 6:
- From Australian Forest Pieces:
- When Evening Shadows Fall
- By a Quiet Stream
- Forest Grandeur
- From Rural Sketches:
- The Shepherd on the Hill
- A Starry Night
- From Youthful Fancies:
- The Gurgling Brook
- The Sunlit Glade
- A Sleeping Child
- From Holiday Suite:
- The Party
- March of the Soldier Ants
- From Contrasts:
- A Child’s Dream
- Chapter 7:
- Poem no. 1 from Two Poems (1922)
- Poem no. 2 from Three Poems (1927)
- Prelude no. 1 from Four Preludes (1925)
- Prelude no. 4 from Four Preludes (1925)
- Prelude no. 1 from Three Preludes (1927)
- Prelude no. 3 from Three Preludes (1927)
- Chapter 8:
- Deidre’s Lament
- Album Leaf
- Two Pieces: Meditations, Looking Back
- Drifting Mists
- Rabbit Hill
- An English Dance
- A Country Lane
- Chapter 9:
- Chapter 10:
- A Sleeping Child
- Chapter 11:
- Prologue of The Breaking of the Drought in the piano version.
ISBN 978 1 876829 84 1
By Jeanell Carrigan
Early twentieth century Australian women composers and their piano music.
By Kerry Anderson
by Kerry Anderson
‘Ann is a meticulous diarist and a writer of comprehensive lists. Rigorous discipline, then, as well as aptitude, hard work, application, as well as being gifted with talent makes this book compelling reading.
Being blessed with, and in possession of, a creative and independent spirit, Ann would have found it difficult not to ‘work’, paid or otherwise. After all, she has composed over 280 pieces of music, and painted over 80 works of art . Her love and talent for music began at an early age – at the metaphorical knees of her gifted father and uncle. Her love for, and appreciation of, art commenced commensurately – at the knee of her mother, a clever artist.’ Kerry Anderson
"... a particular strength of Kerry’s biography lies in its generous inclusion of anecdotes and commentary from Ann’s colleagues, family members, and friends. This approach guarantees a warmth and liveliness that springs off the page, revealing Ann not simply as an outstanding musical figure but also as a person who relishes interaction, liking few things better than catching up with friends or making new acquaintances." Adrian Wintle
Scattered throughout the book are QR codes of tracks from Ann's CDs which, when using a smart phone, can be listened to and enjoyed.
ISBN 9781876829865 AVAILABLE 25th SEPTEMBER 2023
By Phillip Wilcher
Heart Matters is something of a compendium, a weighing together and balancing of thoughts, reflections and feelings with no rhyme to their reason or reason for their rhyme, save the occasional odd poem or two.
As much as there is no definitive autobiographical bent about the pages of this presentation, every thought and subtle disclosure moves beyond the surface of its expression, to hopefully engage the reader inter-connectedly with the inner dynamics of a thinking mind. Indeed, the feeling I had on coalescing end page to end page the entries herein, was that I was not only writing from my mind, be it consciously or otherwise, but forming a mind in the process.
Whatever the outcome, I hope that you, the reader, enjoy the sharing as much as I have pleasure in offering it to you. Perhaps it is that you will bring to my words more wisdom on reading them than I have in writing them, for what you recognize something as being, is also a measure of you.
By Phillip Wilcher
Heart Matters Volume 2 follows on from Heart Matters, and in similar fashion, is something of a compendium, a weighing together and balancing of thoughts, reflections and feelings with no rhyme to their reason or reason for their rhyme, save the occasional odd poem or two.
As much as there is no definitive autobiographical bent about the pages of this presentation, to place random diary entries aside, every thought and subtle disclosure moves beyond the surface of its expression, to hopefully engage the reader inter-connectedly with the inner dynamics of a thinking mind. Indeed, the feeling I had on coalescing end page to end page the entries herein, was that I was not only writing from my mind, be it consciously or otherwise, but forming a mind in the process.
And, as with the previous volume, whatever the outcome, I hope that you, the reader, enjoy the sharing as much as I have pleasure in offering it to you. Perhaps it is that you will bring to my words more wisdom on reading them than I have in writing them, for what you recognize something as being, is also a measure of you.
By Phillip Wilcher
I have spent my life studying myself. It is what I do. Even more, it is what I feel I was meant to do. I have always had this feeling, that nothing of Perfection would be achieved so readily in the absolute if ever at all, rather step by step as does way lead on to way even at times all too waywardly but to backtrack a bit and then, to review my view of the world accordingly, stripping each layer away even from itself each day with the thought that possibly, just possibly, there would be nothing left to say.
By Alfred Hill
The publication of this diary introduces a new perspective on several aspects of musical and social history. We learn through the eyes and ears of a budding young colonial composer about musical life in Leipzig in a Golden Age of musical history when the city was host to a steady stream of names who are now enshrined as the greatest of the greats from the Romantic era. We are treated to first-hand accounts of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Bruch, Reinecke, Sarasate, Joachim, Strauss and Sitt, to mention but a few.
Compiled and edited by Donald Maurice.
By Patricia Thorpe
The aim of this book is to bring Meta Overman ‘alive’ by presenting her in all aspects of her life, and as much as possible through others eyes with letters, critiques and conversations. I view this publication as a jumping off platform for further research so that anyone may take up the story from any point that curiosity or interest dictates; and in so doing not only be richly rewarded, but add a further piece to the jigsaw being painted of this amazing woman and her music.
By Olive Lawson
The Life of Composer Mirrie Hill
The names of Alfred Hill and Mirrie Hill have been often coupled in reference material on
music and a comparison of their work as composers has sometimes been posited. Mirrie Hill was gifted and able musician and composer.
One of Alfred Hill’s first students in Sydney was Mirrie Solomon. She had already studied with two other teachers of musical composition and was an accomplished pianist before becoming one of his pupils. Though they later would marry, there is no evidence that Alfred Hill influenced her composing style. Mirrie Hill was to be recognised as one of the few notable women composers of the twentieth century in Australia. During her lifetime she was best known for her contribution to music for young students of the pianoforte, but a later assessment might give her more credit for her music that was based on, and thereby honoured, the primitive music of some of Australia’s aboriginal people.
By Jeanell Carrigan
Respected by fellow composers and performers, Dutch/Australian composer Meta Overman was one of the foremost contributors to musical cultural life in Australia in the middle of the twentieth century.
The music of Meta Overman is innovative, individual, sometimes humorous, expressing amazing creativity and powered by an urge to present strong visual imagery. Of particular interest to performers is the way that Overman suggests images in her music which are so tangible that they have an almost visual quality. Overman was also a composer who was very influenced by the work of others, and she adopted different styles throughout the many compositional periods in her life, colouring these with her own individual musical language. It is impossible to separate the person Meta Overman, with her strong spirituality and beliefs, and the composer Meta Overman: one was the result of the other. her output covers all genres including opera, ballet, and orchestral works. There are seventeen works or sets of works for piano solo, five for orchestra, six sets of songs, five choral works, eleven operas including one three-act opera, four ballets and twenty-four chamber
works, some of which are for two pianos.
Each chapter discusses Overman’s works composed during a particular period of her
life. Most will be discussed in terms of musical language, motific development and inspirational aspects and the important points for a performer. To compensate for any sparsity of verbal description will be the inclusion of QR codes which link to sound files – musical examples – of many works which have been recorded or filmed. These will give a performer’s interpretation of the works and enable the reader to ‘get the full picture’ for themselves.