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The Glitter Gang (1973-74): A microcosm of Malcolm Williamson's views on social inclusivity and his Australian identity


Philpott, C and Humberstone, J, The Glitter Gang (1973-74): A microcosm of Malcolm Williamson's views on social inclusivity and his Australian identity, Musicology Australia, 38, (1) pp. 1-28. ISSN 0814-5857 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Musicological Society of Australia

DOI: doi:10.1080/08145857.2016.1159648


This article combines new research into the life and musical output of Australian expatriate composer and nineteenth Master of the Queen's Music, Malcolm Williamson (1931–2003). Focusing on one of his ‘cassations’ (mini-operas) for musically untrained children, The Glitter Gang (1973–1974), new conclusions are drawn about how this often controversial composer developed a philosophy of inclusiveness and expressed it through his music. The Glitter Gang was one of the few works that Williamson wrote about his homeland, Australia, and the first in which he expressed his views pertaining to the rights of indigenous Australians. This article examines the context in which The Glitter Gang was composed and shows how he projected his Australian identity and attempted to influence political discussion through this intriguing musical work. Detailed analysis of the score reveals that it is a deeply sophisticated composition, especially considering its intended performers, and demonstrates how Williamson retained his unique compositional voice in the cassations. Significantly, this research shows that like other works which were rejected by Australian audiences and critics in the 1970s, The Glitter Gang can now be reappraised as an important and innovative Australian composition.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:composer, Malcolm Williamson, social inclusivity, Australian, identity
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Music
Research Field:Musicology and ethnomusicology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:Music
UTAS Author:Philpott, C (Dr Carolyn Philpott)
ID Code:102906
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:School of Creative Arts and Media
Deposited On:2015-09-10
Last Modified:2017-12-14

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