Women of Note: The Rise of Australian Women Composers by Rosalind Appleby Fremantle Press, 2012, 184 pages, $35 This volume is not only important but comforting. Even if it could have been written much earlier—which is doubtful—it would not, until recently, have been half as good. Thirty years back, the very concept of exclusively surveying Australian women composers would have inspired undisguised scorn. Music departments in the Antipodes then existed primarily to inculcate the Grand Schoenberg-Webern-Boulez Narrative of Calvinist-Modernist Head-Kicking; and woe betide any mere chit whose pieces’ meretricious appeal distracted players from the Main Game. Twenty years back, that…
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