Dots On The Landscape

Dots on the Landscape is an oral history of notated music in Australia that takes us on a historical journey of discovery from European settlement to present day. With his inimitable easygoing and down-to-earth style, narrator Andrew Ford talks with Australian composers and musicians including Anne Boyd, Richard Meale, Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards, Carl Vine, Brett Dean and Elena Kats-Chernin. Through their own stories they interpret Australia's musical history and discuss the effects it has had on them and their contemporaries.


01The Colonial Quadrille20011003

Since European settlement, music in Australia has had a continuously evolving role in Australian society. The music of Isaac Nathan, reputedly the colony's first professional composer, hardly constitutes an auspicious beginning to the art of composition in this country, but his arrangements of "Aboriginal melodies" and his ambitions as a composer of opera, set the scene for certain later endeavours in Australian music. Certainly, much of the 20th century was concerned with the need to write the Great Australian Opera and the search for an elusive Australian Identity in music.

Episode 1 of Dots on the Landscape includes the voices of composers Anne Boyd, Colin Bright, George Dreyfus, Moya Henderson, Liza Lim, Richard Meale, David Page, Vincent Plush, Peter Sculthorpe and Larry Sitsky. Also featured are music critics Roger Covell and Elizabeth Silsbury, Prof of Aboriginal Studies at Melbourne University, Marcia Langton, and novelist and librettist, David Malouf.

02Looking Over Our Shoulders20011010

Europe provided Australian music with its early role models and its institutions: the concert hall, the opera house, the symphony orchestra. Young composers continue to study there and, at various time, there have been centres that have attracted our most talented musicians (e.g. Hill and Grainger in Germany in the 1880s and 90s; Boyd, Wesley-Smith and Edwards in York in the 1970s). And yet Australian composers have an increasingly ambivalent attitude to Europe. Working out that attitude seems still to be one of the defining features of Australian composition.

Featuring the voices of composers Anne Boyd, Gerard Brophy, Ross Edwards, Mary Finsterer, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Moya Henderson, Miriam Hyde, Peter Sculthorpe, Larry Sitsky, Carl Vine and Martin Wesley-Smith, and the Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of York, Wilfrid Mellers.