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Composing Australia: Nostalgia and National Identity in the Music of Malcolm Williamson

Author Carolyn Philpott explores the expression of nostalgia for Australia in the music of Malcolm Williamson, one of the country's most famous expatriates.

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Brilliant, provocative, compassionate—the composer Malcolm Williamson was one of Australia’s most famous expatriates. But as Carolyn Philpott explains, his nostalgia for his homeland lasted fifty years, from his emigration in 1953 until his death in 2003. In works such as the ballet The Display, Symphony no. 6 and The Dawn Is at Hand he explored inventive ways of expressing his Australian identity, collaborating with Australian artists, paying homage to Australian musicians and exposing his sorrow for the treatment of Indigenous peoples. As the first book-length examination of Williamson’s music, Composing Australia is a portrait of an intriguing and always imaginative Australian.  “It is fifteen years since Malcolm Williamson left us. What he left behind though, is full of richness, colour, depth, originality and wit. The significance of his music for Australia and beyond awaits full recognition and informed analysis. Carolyn Philpott’s new book is not only welcome: it is essential and will help to inspire the rediscovery of one of Australia’s greatest composers.” Piers Lane AO, Australian classical pianist A note on the author Carolyn Philpott is a Senior Lecturer in Musicology and the Research Coordinator at the University of Tasmania’s Conservatorium of Music. She has published book chapters, journal articles and encyclopedia entries on Malcolm Williamson and his music, including in Musicology Australia and Grove Music Online. Her research interests also encompass broader topics relating to twentieth century music and intersections between music, place and the environment and she has contributed significant journal articles in these areas. Published: November 2018 | Paperback: xix, 228 p. | RRP $55 (AUD) ISBN: 9780734037886 (paperback) | ISSN: 1325 5266 | (Volume 16 in the Australasian Music Research series)
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