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Malcolm Gillies

Malcolm Gillies
Malcolm Gillies is a Canberra-based musicologist, and former music and opera critic of The Australian. Since 1997 he has edited the Studies in Musical Genesis series of Oxford University Press (New York).

'Mahler’s Song of the Earth: A chamber reduction of Mahler’s monolithic song cycle' by Malcolm Gillies

ABR Arts 13 May 2024
Despite what it packs into barely an hour, Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (hereafter, Erde) is insufficiently long to fill a subscription concert. Hence, the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s brief first half, which featured two suitably complementary works. Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll originated as a birthday gift to his wife Cosima on 25 December 1870, honouring their infant son, Siegfri ... (read more)

Malcolm Gillies reviews ‘Pursuit of the New: Louise Hanson-Dyer, publisher and collector’ edited by Kerry Murphy and Jennifer Hill

April 2024, no. 463 26 March 2024
Louise Berta Mosson Dyer (née Smith; later Hanson-Dyer; hereafter, Louise) lived several lives. An eccentric Melbourne socialite, married into the money of Linoleum King, Jimmy Dyer, she moved on from the expectations of provincial charitable good works in her mid-forties to found a ground-breaking new publishing house in Paris. Les Éditions de l’Oiseau-Lyre, or the Lyrebird Press, pioneered i ... (read more)

‘Gurrelieder: A splendid performance of Schoenberg’s “opera”’ by Malcolm Gillies

ABR Arts 18 March 2024
What is Gurrelieder? Arnold Schoenberg’s massive cantata, or oratorio, or symphonic psychodrama, is technically a song cycle, presenting ‘Songs of Gurre’, a small Danish settlement best known for its crumbling medieval castle. A five-part sequence of naturalist poems, by the Danish ‘Modern Breakthrough’ writer and botanist Jens Peter Jacobsen, became the text of Schoenberg’s cycle, in ... (read more)

Malcolm Gillies reviews ‘Schoenberg: Why he matters’ by Harvey Sachs

January-February 2024, no. 461 19 December 2023
Arnold Schoenberg rarely missed a punch. Whether in music theory, composition, or the fraught polemics of his age, he communicated with a clarity of purpose verging on the tyrannical. Visiting Schoenberg in California during his last years, the conductor Robert Craft commented on ‘the danger of crossing the circle of his pride, for though his humility is fathomless it is also plated all the way ... (read more)

'Mahler’s Ninth Symphony:The Australian World Orchestra’s 2023 feature' by Malcolm Gillies

ABR Arts 24 November 2023
Along with Beethoven, Schubert, and Bruckner, Gustav Mahler wrote nine symphonies. For each composer there was an incomplete, or unrecognised, tenth symphonic essay, which diligent musicologists have attempted to flesh out into meaningful ‘continuity scores’ or reconstructions. Mahler was barely fifty when he completed his Ninth Symphony and dared to tempt the fates with a Tenth; the growing s ... (read more)

'The Visitors: Christopher Sainsbury’s new opera' by Malcolm Gillies

ABR Arts 24 October 2023
The birth of a new opera is always exciting. Unlike a play or a sonata, an opera brings together a variety of art forms, with performers and creatives drawn from many different backgrounds. The libretto of Christopher Sainsbury’s The Visitors draws on a new, more gender-balanced version of an existing play, Jane Harrison’s The Visitors (2020), currently running in Sydney and Wollongong. Harri ... (read more)

'Midsummer Dreams: Mendelssohn Scottish and Beethoven Eight: ARCO at Albert Hall' by Malcolm Gillies

ABR Arts 03 August 2023
A century ago, as Australia’s nascent capital planned its performing-arts future, it opted for a ‘commodious’ assembly hall, serving conference and recreational purposes, and doubling as a municipal theatre. Completed in 1928, Albert Hall was to be the ‘centre from which will radiate all those aspirations that are truly national’, as then Prime Minister Stanley Melbourne Bruce pompously ... (read more)

'The Priced and the Priceless: Humanities and philanthropy in dark times' by Malcolm Gillies

June 2009, no. 312 01 June 2009
And now ’tis done: more durable than brassMy monument shall be, and raise its headO’er royal pyramids: it shall not dreadCorroding rain or angry Boreas,Nor the long lapse of immemorial time. (Horace, Odes, With what other words could one possibly begin a paper on philanthropy? Here we have the Roman poet Horace in full celebratory mode: his memorial will outlast even hard metal. ... (read more)

'2023 Sydney International Piano Competition: Opening Gala: The judges show their stuff' by Malcolm Gillies

ABR Arts 07 July 2023
At last, ‘The Sydney’ is back. Not since 2016 has the city given a live welcome to one of its most distinctive artistic events: the Sydney International Piano Competition. After frustrating years of virtual activity, planning insecurity, and structural rethinking, Piano-Plus (Piano+) has emerged as the umbrella body for presenting a wide range of competition, festival, touring, and educational ... (read more)