This occasional work is a celebration of the contribution of an extraordinary woman to the musical life of the WA Symphony Orchestra. The musical figurations in the work endeavour to reflect an individual whose uncommonly diverse interests pull her in sharply divergent directions – a public intellectual, a private at-the-coalface mover-and-shaker and an eternal enthusiast for the role of the arts in all our lives. Yet at the core of her practice is a woman who, as a fine harpsichordist and exemplary academic, investigated little known treasures of centuries ago. One of these treasures is the primary source of material for Halcyon – the Allemande from Johann Mattheson’s Suite Premiere pour le Clavecin in D minor. A contextual analysis of this work (and of all the suites) formed the central plank of Margaret’s Doctoral Thesis a couple of careers ago, and here hides in various forms at the heart of this work. My own work seeks to acknowledge our place in a continuum of musical practice that stretches back centuries yet consistently remains contemporary – a philosophy that owes no small part to Margaret’s influence on me. For that and many things beside, I thank her.
“With skilled writing for brass, including most affecting, lyrical writing for trumpet as well as incorporating chimes, in turn gentle and booming, Halcyon is a miniature that grabs the attention.” The West Australian 28/11/11