Chidlow Recital, May 2016

With a couple of friends I held a classical music recital last week. We were  SO  STOKED  at the big attendance and all the great comments we got. Everyone had a great time and it seems it was a tremendous success. Yay us!

We three had a lot of fun preparing for the event, and we really enjoyed playing and singing our favourite music. It is such a joy to share music you love with a really appreciative audience. We held it at the Chidlow Hall, built in 1905 in the Shire of Mundaring, way out east past the hills of Perth, Western Australia. In recent years the Shire wanted to do away with the hall but now the local residents have taken it over and are refurbishing it.

Audience at Chidlow Hall

Audience at Chidlow Hall

Many people told us they loved the way we all spoke about the music before playing it. They said they found the music easier to follow and it made it all the more enjoyable. I can well understand that as I got used to hearing quite a bit of spoken introduction in countless wonderful performances I attended when I was a university student. It just seems like common sense to me and I don’t understand why anyone would do otherwise. In many situations it would be disrespectful, and unnatural, to simply walk up to the instrument and play without saying anything.

For my part, I talked about how I used to find Mozart’s music rather boring until I realised I was listening for something that is not in it. When I figured out how his style worked about ten years ago it was a revelation to me, and I think that resonated a lot with the big audience.

I illustrated the Bulgarian rhythm of a Bartók piece before playing it, and showed how it is identical to one of the most common and most loved rock or pop rhythms, sometimes known as the frug. Later someone asked me if that was from Bach, and I realised he thought I’d said ‘fugue.’

Naomi and Tony also gave very useful spoken insights into their guitar solos and songs, respectively (see the full programme below).

I took the opportunity to play a couple of original piano solos. I wrote Androgyne Prophecy in 1977 around my 16th birthday. Puck at Parkerville was completed just a month ago, and depicts the mischievous elf or sprite Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play was produced in my family’s Parkerville Amphitheatre ca. 1974.

Naomi Millett, classical guitar

Naomi Millett, classical guitar

Our programme:

Mix Margaret & Friends
Classical Music, Old and New

Naomi Millett, guitar
Toni Arndt, soprano
Margaret D. Jones, piano

Naomi
Courante and Galliard by Silvus Leopold Weiss
The Maids in Constrite from the Jane Pickering Lute Book
Go From My Window from the Jane Pickering Lute Book
Allegretto in A major Op. 10 No. 4 by Matteo Carcassi
Alla Polacca (Polonaise) by Ferdinando Carulli

Toni
Lieder by Franz Schubert (b. 1797, d.1828) (accomp. by MDJ)
Romanze (from Rosamunde)
Frühlingsglaube
Liebhaber in Allen Gestalten
An Die Musik

Margaret
Piano Sonata in C, K309 (first movement) (1777) by W.A. Mozart
Androgyne Prophecy (1977) by MDJ (sheet music available)
No. 6 of Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (from Mikrokosmos, 1926 – 1939) by Béla Bartók

INTERVAL   Free refreshments

Naomi
Sarabande by Francis Poulenc
Llanura by Reginald Smith Brindle
Estudio Sencillos No. V ‘Allegretto Montuno’ by Leo Brouwer
Allegro No. 26 by Brouwer
Movido/Rapido No. 20 by Brouwer

Toni
Two arias from Mozart’s opera, The Marriage of Figaro (1786) (accomp. by MDJ):
Porgi Amor
Non So Più

Margaret
Song Without Words, Op. 19 No. 3 in A (1829-30) by Felix Mendelssohn
Sonatine (second movement) (1905) by Maurice Ravel
Puck at Parkerville by MDJ (2016)

About Naomi
For many years Naomi was the presenter of The Guitar Show on RTR 92.1 FM community radio. (The show is now called Plucked Strings.)

As a fine soloist and performer she has played guitar or mandola in many duos and other ensembles. She was an Arts journalist with The West Australian newspaper for fourteen years, where she interviewed many leading classical guitarists, and has been a leader in the classical guitar (and mandolin) community of Perth behind the scenes. For many years Naomi has been an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB).

Since having two children and moving to the Wheatbelt in 2007 Naomi has continued to teach, write, perform, record CDs and adjudicate at eisteddfodau, most recently the successful Pilbara Music Festival held in Port Hedland. She works part time in consumer advocate/peer support areas with the WA Health Department.

About Toni
Well-known to Hills audiences for her many solo appearances at concerts with the Hills Choir, Toni has a great love of soprano arias and art song. Her extensive repertoire includes Lieder and other music by Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Fauré.

About Margaret
Margaret grew up inside the Parkerville Amphitheatre, which her family founded and ran from 1966 to 2001. See www.parkerville-amphitheatre.com

For five years Margaret studied composition at UWA with Roger Smalley AM. Margaret’s piano compositions have been in the AMEB exam syllabus for many years. See her extensive website at www.mixmargaret.com for sheet music, free recordings and videos, and information about her many musical qualifications and accomplishments. Margaret is available to play her wide repertoire of classical music for private functions, cafes, exhibitions and book launches.

Margaret is an androgyne (a type of non-binary transgender) and is referred to as she or they. Instead of Miss or Mr, her title is Mx (Mix). Margaret has continuously used Mx since 2002 and is one of its earliest adopters. This honorific title was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in its online form in 2015 (see Margaret’s major online article on Mx/Mix, with a little about the singular they).

Many thanks to Kim Graham (Chidlow Progress Association), young Clive (Fuzzy) Millett, and to all those who helped spread the word.

More info (including how to buy scores online): www.mixmargaret.com

7.30pm Friday May 20, 2016 at Chidlow Hall, Chidlow, Western Australia.

 

Soul Tree is on the market, with no piano

This amazing organic café in Glen Forrest in the Perth Hills is now up for sale. In the few years Marilyn and Charl have owned and run it they have completely transformed it in almost every way.

In December I gave my last performance there. I’ve discontinued my piano playing residency at the café partly because of the uncertainty over the ownership, but also because I’ve been playing there two to five times a month for fourteen months and it feels like it’s time for a little break.

All the staff and patrons have been delightful. It’s been wonderful playing three hours each time from a repertoire of maybe 10 or 12 hours’ worth of scores, but there are other works I couldn’t play there because they aren’t suitable for creating a relaxing, laid-back atmosphere.

A few originals were sneaked in and were always very well-received. Recently my creative music-composing side has been taking off (well, slightly), so I will soon have more original works to perform, somewhere.

But if you’re looking for very delicious and very healthy food and drink in daylight hours, check them out www.soultreecafe.com.au

 

Sunday Dec 20, 2015 is next screening of Amphitheatre doco

The next public screening of the documentary “Parkerville Amphitheatre: Sets, Bugs and Rock n Roll,” just a one-off, is Sunday night, 20th December 2015 at Outdoor Kookaburra Cinema, Allen Road, Mundaring Weir (in the Perth hills). kookaburracinema.com.au

Contact
Info Line: 9295 6190
Screening Times
Gates open – 6:30pm
Show starts – 8:00pm
Prices
Adults: $15
Children: $10

See two trailers at www.facebook.com/tempestaustralia.

See a very brief history of the amphitheatre at www.parkerville-amphitheatre.com

This feature length (87 minute) independent documentary on the amphitheatre was completed by Tempest Productions in early 2015. The world premiere on 4th July 2015 at the Revelation film festival was SOLD OUT.

Jenny Crabb & Susie Conte, film’s directors, will provide a short commentary prior to the screening at the Kookaburra. And I’ll be there, too.

Major article on Mx now online

I’ve just completed a second, and very much larger, article all about the honorific title Mx or Mix:

About Mx, with Miss, Mrs, Mr, Ms,
and the singular they

Mx is a non-binary transgender title I’ve been using for myself since 2002.

The new article is much too long to fit in a single blog post so it’s online as an ordinary web page at

http://www.mixmargaret.com/about-mx-with-miss-mrs-mr-ms-and-the-singular-they.html

with a separate page holding five appendices (all well worth a read) at

http://www.mixmargaret.com/about-mx-five-appendices-to-mix-article.html

 

Androgyne using the new Mx title since 2002, now in OED

Updated to 4 July 2016

The new honorific title ‘Mx’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary recently. Some transgender and intersex people are now using Mx instead of Miss, Mrs, Ms or Mr. But there are some problems with it, not the least of which concerns the OED’s definition (more briefly discussed in my YouTube video New Mx title now in OED. See also my major article on this subject at About Mx, with Miss, Mrs, Mr, Ms, and the singular they).

(Note that in this blog post, the way I use ‘transgender’ refers to ‘non-binary transgender,’ and does not include ‘transsexual,’ simply because the latter, ie binary transgender people, will probably have a different perspective or attitude to Mx.)

To my mind Mx is an abbreviation of Mix or Mixture just as Miss, Mrs, and Mr are or were originally abbreviations of Mistress, Mistress (you read that correctly), and Master, respectively.

Many years ago I was a very early adopter of Mx (or Mix) after hearing that an intersex person in Victoria, Australia, was using it. Unfortunately I don’t recall their name.

Mx Margaret D. Jones ca. 2002

Mx Margaret D. Jones ca. 2002

As an androgyne, choosing to use the title Mx in 2002 was an excellent decision. For well over a decade most of my bills have come addressed to Mx Margaret Dylan Jones, or something similar. That’s credit cards, tax bills, bank statements, utilities etc. Mx or Mix is used in some sheet music publications of my classical piano music. At live performances where I play piano solo or accompany choirs or student soloists I’m introduced as “Mix Margaret…”

The sky has not fallen in and not once have I encountered a problem with it, apart from when computer operators find their software is just a bit too binary, but that is slowly changing.

In 2004 a seven-minute profile of myself was broadcast nationally on ABC television by the George Negus Tonight (GNT) programme. They consistently called me ‘Mix.’ (See the link at the end.)

December 2002 Mx Margaret Jones, doctor's letter

7th December 2002. Formal letter from my endocrinologist to my GP, about ‘MX MARGARET JONES.’ Also has ‘Mx Margaret Jones’ after Cc, below the signature.

However, I fear the inclusion in May 2015 of Mx in the Oxford Dictionary online version may now, for the first time, present some headwinds for me. It’s clear they have failed to adequately define the meaning or use of Mx, and they’ve come up with a poor pronunciation for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On October 3, 2015 at www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/mx#Mx they had this definition:

Mx
noun

A title used before a person’s surname or full name by those who wish to avoid specifying their gender or by those who prefer not to identify themselves as male or female. (This is unchanged at July 4, 2016)

Their definition suggests Mx is used to avoid stating one’s gender. The phrase ‘… those who prefer not to identify themselves as male or female’ may at first seem liberal and up-to-date with contemporary thinking but it’s not about modern notions of gender identity at all. It’s tantamount to denying the existence of any other gender besides male or female, which flies the face of the views of many researchers and academics.

Based on the way people are using it Mx definitely refers to various types of transgender or intersex identities, however difficult to define or however loosely defined those may be. As far as I can tell the only people using Mx are certain intersex and transgender people who, like myself, far from trying to conceal their gender are trying to make it clearer.

Any cisgender (i.e. non-transgender or non-intersex) person using Mx to refer to themself will be considered by others to be transgender or intersex, which is certainly not what they’re wanting. Using it to avoid specifying one’s gender is not going to work and like posting nude selfies on the internet it may be impossible to completely undo. Mx will inevitably continue to refer to an atypical gender identity, and that will be a gender which is not exclusively male or not exclusively female.

BUT  WHAT  IF  YOU  ARE  GENDERLESS?

I’ve often heard individuals say they do not have a gender. Sometimes I feel like this myself and I suspect many people occasionally do not feel like they have a gender. For example, not every man using Mr always thinks of himself as typically male. So I wonder if, perhaps paradoxically and showing its versatility, Mx may also serve to denote a person who is consistently genderless, as many otherwise transgender people consider themselves to be.

The online dictionary provides four examples which one assumes are meant to clarify their definition and illustrate how Mx is being used:

‘the bank is planning to introduce the honorific ‘Mx’ as an alternative for anyone who feels that they don’t, for reasons of undetermined gender, fit into being either a Mr, Mrs, Miss or a Ms’

‘A council is to include the title ‘Mx’ on its official forms to be more accommodating to the trans-community.’

‘To me, Mx Bond embodies the very best kind of girl a boy could ever grow up to become.’

‘Brighton & Hove council adopted the trans-friendly Mx title in 2013, after an inclusivity panel made the recommendation.’

However, these are all transgender or intersex uses and not cisgender at all. So their examples are consistent with my experience and usage, and with my observations of how others have used Mx, but they quite clearly contradict the Oxford Dictionary’s own definition!

BUT  HOW  DO  YOU  SAY  IT?

The Oxford Dictionary provided two pronunciations (you can listen to them spoken at their site):

Mx
Pronunciation: /məks/  /mɪks/

I suggest in practice /məks/ would soon become ‘mucks’ or ‘mux.’

The same dictionary’s definition of the word ‘mix’ (not the new honorific title) is identical with their second offering for Mx: /mɪks/. That is, ‘mix.’

The pronunciation is definitely better as ‘mix,’ not ‘mux,’ for several reasons. First, the real meaning of Mx often, though not always, pertains to a mixture of gender characteristics, which should be reason enough. Second, and this is more of an aesthetic preference, ‘mix’ is a much nicer sound. Also, ‘Mux’ sounds the same as ‘mucks,’ and who knows what that is supposed to mean?

The pronunciation ‘Muck’s’ could be misinterpreted as denoting possession as in ‘Muck’s Ackroyd’ wherein people may wonder what an ackroyd is and why Muck has one. With ‘Muck’s Jane’ they may wonder if Jane is a friend or perhaps a daughter of Muck. Granted, ‘Mix’ could be heard as ‘Mick’s,’ but at least mix is already a word and retains its original meaning of ‘mixture.’ Thus, it should not be so confusing.

The use of Mx or Mix as an honorific title is an elegant solution where many awkward alternatives have been suggested over several decades. Like the other titles Mrs, Miss, Ms or Mr, it starts with an easy ‘m,’ is only two or three letters, and I suggest is even easier and nicer to say than Ms.

THE  ADVANTAGES  of  Mx  and  Mix

  • Allows androgynes and other transgender and intersex people to be open about their gender
  • Allows us to fill-in forms truthfully, without lying
  • Is an elegant solution.

Mix as a pronunciation, and as the alternative or full spelling, has these important advantages over Mux:

  • Mix doesn’t fall foul of automatic spell-checkers
  • Retains the meaning or implication of mixture
  • Is easy to say
  • Everyone already knows how to pronounce it
  • Is less likely to be misheard as Ms
  • Is already proven to work perfectly in the real world since at least 2002.

NOT  COMPULSORY

Of course, using Mx should be optional and not at all compulsory. Many transgender or intersex people will not want to use it. Mx or Mix doesn’t suit all people with an unusual gender identity so it is important that no-one assumes a non-binary transgender or intersex person wishes to be known by this title. Some people don’t want any gender titles or labels of any kind. And I guess most transsexuals would only want to use the traditional male or female titles. If you don’t know you can ask.

For a long time I have called myself an androgyne, meaning a type of non-binary transgender person (not a transsexual). I’m happy to be addressed or referred to as she and her, and also by they and their. Other androgynes may feel differently about how they should be known.

Intersex people are often not aware they have an intersex variation or trait. Even when they are aware they probably consider themselves to be exclusively male or exclusively female in terms of identity, and would not want to call themselves in any way transgender. But a small number have a very different idea of their gender and some like to use Mx or Mix.

WHAT  IS  THE  POINT?

People such as myself really need a title like Mx for use in filling out official forms and many other situations. Very often you can’t open an online account without specifying a title or at least a gender. This forces us to LIE—if we put either male or female we are LYING. This can cause some real-world problems as well as emotional difficulties. If you are a cisgender person reading this, can you imagine going through your daily life constantly being referred to by, and having to provide, the wrong gender title? Then multiply that feeling by a hundred and you might know what it is like for us. It can be a tremendous insult for transgender and intersex people and at the very least it’s an injustice. Constantly hearing the wrong personal pronouns and titles does violence to one’s soul and can have mental health implications.

Mx may not satisfy all transgender theorists. Any title hides a myriad of differences and Mx is no different. How many different types of men are there? Billions! How many different types of androgynes or gender-queer etc. people are there who might use Mx? That’s also an infinite variety.

Mx and Mix do not denote exactly what type of gender identity a person has other than it is ‘other.’ This means not exclusively male or not exclusively female, whatever those terms may mean. Mx and Mix have proven to be of great practical value over at least the last thirteen years or so. Importantly, the general public seems to find them easy to understand and straightforward to use.

I’ve written to the Oxford English Dictionary in a personal capacity. I hope they will amend their entry on Mx soon. (No change as at 4 July 2016.)

Comments welcome

See the links at the start for the newer and much-expanded main article on Mx.

Listen to my 1977 Androgyne Prophecy music for free
soundcloud.com/mix-margaret-dylan-jones/sets
Watch me play it on a grand piano on YouTube
youtube.com/channel/UCz318nZdr520zMNK6GNfnjQ

Watch my YouTube video about Mx being added to the dictionary
New Mx title now in OED
Comment on this blog: mixmargaret.com/blog
Main site: mixmargaret.com
facebook.com/MixMargaretDylanJones
Read the transcript of my 2004 appearance on the George Negus Tonight ABC television programme
www.abc.net.au/gnt/people/Transcripts/s1158647.htm
Read about me and Mx in my local newspaper September 2015
echonewspaper.com.au/margarets-mx-gender-in-the-dictionary
More about me in the media
www.mixmargaret.com/margaret-in-media.html
2002 IFAS definitions of androgyne and intersex, and other links
mixmargaret.com/androgyne-definition.html

More scans of documents with ‘Mx Margaret Jones’

Back to top

Jan 2003 Music contract for Mx Jones

January 2003. Royalty ‘contract’ for piano composition by Mx Margaret Jones in exam syllabus book by Allans/AMEB (Allans was then the biggest Australian sheet music publisher, and later became AMPD).

Feb 2003 phone bill, MX MD JONES

February 2003. Telephone bill for MX MD JONES

Vale Roger Smalley, a great Australian musical intellect

Roger Smalley, AM, has passed away at the age of 72. Gone too soon, certainly for me. This story is my personal experience of this amazing musician and teacher, including some things I had wanted to say to Roger in person but did not get the chance. Other sites with the usual life story details for Roger and some very interesting insights are linked at the end in an ever-growing list (updated to 8 June 2016).

UWA School of Music in 2012. Photo by MDJ

UWA School of Music in 2012. Photo by MDJ

At the beginning of my first term at university in 1979 I turned up to the composition class at the University of Western Australia, full of anticipation and excited at the prospect of finally getting some composition instruction. Roger had just taken on the responsibility for teaching the composition majors as John Exton was away on leave (Exton was also away the following year). He seemed shocked to discover this small group of students who thought they could specialise in composition straight out of high school and insisted we all re-enrol in some other major subject and take a half-unit for two years called something like Compositional Techniques. At the time I was a bit put out but soon was enjoying the course as it was in these tutorials that I really learnt how to think like a composer, things you just don’t get in the classes on harmony or ear training (important though they are). Or, at least, I thought I was learning to think like a composer, but what would that be, anyway?

So we joined other first year students in these tutorials. After a while my naturally analytical mind found its stride and it soon became evident I was in my element. Roger used a whiteboard to analyse melodic shapes, for example in the Bach Two-part Inventions, Bartok’s Mikrokosmos, and Gregorian chant. Later we tackled twelve-tone note rows from Schoenberg & Webern, and music by Stockhausen and many others. It was a revelation. In between tutes I spent endless hours pouring over scores, covering them in pencil marks, humming them and playing them on the piano. However, the little creative assignments were a struggle (and still are, though they’re much bigger pieces nowadays).

When I first met him Roger’s sight-reading at the piano was mind-boggling. Then I began learning a lot more about piano playing from a variety of sources (which should be the subject of another blog one day), and my ear for the sound of the piano began to develop. I knew Roger could play anything but the playing was a bit ‘bashy.’ The wonderful British soprano, Jane Manning, many times toured Australia and performed and taught masterclasses at UWA.  I’ll never forget that, when a student made a remark in awe of Roger’s pianistic gifts, she said something to the effect that “back home (in Britain), Roger would be quite average as a pianist.” That was in 1980.

So how did he later become such a wonderful pianist? Strictly speaking I don’t know the answer to this question but I always wanted to ask him and I have a theory. At UWA we were so fortunate to have a steady stream of world-class performers and teachers dropping in, due to the influence of Sir Frank Callaway, head of the Department of Music (as it was then known). You don’t travel many thousands of kilometres just to give one recital so, unlike other conservatoire-like institutions in the northern hemisphere where I was led to believe such teachers would arrive on a train, give a masterclass, and then get straight back on the train, our visitors would stay for weeks. This meant students could have private lessons and even chat with these top musicians over lunch or breakfast. I suspect this is what happened with Roger. In particular, he may have found some inspiration from Lionel Bowman who gave masterclasses and performances around 1980 and 1984. Bowman, from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, had a way of teaching how to produce a really lovely sound on the piano and a way of easily mastering difficult passage work (neither of which, incidentally, is found in the book and video about Bowman’s teaching).

Sir Frank in the Callaway Auditorium with gamelan. Photo by MDJ 2012

Sir Frank in the Callaway Auditorium with gamelan. Photo by MDJ 2012

Roger certainly did not play like Bowman at any time. He had his own style but I wonder if the improvement in his tone may owe something to Bowman, and perhaps also to other visiting pianists, because the change over a year or two was quite marked. He went from a super sight-reader with a pretty ordinary sound to a pianist of high distinction.

AS  A  COMPOSITION  TEACHER  Roger was not stuck on any particular school of composition. He exposed his students to almost everything you could imagine and then some. I’ll have to dig out my list of required listening for the third year class unit, but please believe me when I say it was an awesome list: Cage, Berio, Messiaen, Riley, Reich, Ives, Stockhausen, Bartok, Schaeffer, Varèse, Boulez and many more.

It’s a cliché I know, but so true of Roger, that he always sought beauty in music. Beauty may be in the ear of the listener, or the mind of the musical thinker, and this perhaps explains both the wideness of his musical stylistic range and his depth of understanding of anything he played. Aside from assessing student works I never heard Roger say a bad word about any composer or any genre of music. He could tell the great music from the ordinary and could have told you why, but didn’t. He wasn’t about to tell you what you should like or dislike.

One thing I did wonder about at the time, though, was why we did not get more study of Australian (read: eastern Australian) music. Roger’s expertise and interest was more in the USA, Asia, and especially Europe and the UK. But in hindsight I think that was a great thing. I’m a fifth-generation West Australian on my mother’s side, and my father was from the UK. For most of my growing up years I rarely saw a non-caucasian face until I started Uni. Since then I’ve always thought this country, and Perth in particular, would have been the most awful backwater if it were not for the many waves of immigrants from many countries coming to live here. They bring us all sorts of benefits, too many to list, and Roger is an outstanding case in point. If we’d had an Australian in his role would we have learnt about Berio and Boulez? Or Terry Riley?

Having fallen out of the contemporary music loop I lost track of Roger after he left his abode in the Perth Hills locality of Parkerville, which coincidently is where I grew up and where I now house sit. Upon hearing he had been awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2011 I sent congratulations but got no reply, which is not all that surprising. Then last year on Margaret Throsby’s ABC radio programme someone mentioned Roger was ill and living in Sydney. Idly I wished I could get on a plane but that wasn’t possible.

Roger was the most important mentor I’ve ever had and I regret not having had the chance to tell him that. Among many other fine music teachers he is one of two that I really thank my lucky stars for. Without them I really don’t know how I would have progressed as a musician. The other was Brian Michell who took me on as a piano student at UWA (see http://www.mixmargaret.com/brian-michell.html) This is not to say that I compose even remotely like Roger or play or teach piano at all like Brian, of course. But they were vital at the time.

The clarity of Roger’s music was always an inspiration to me. This I’m sure has some relationship to his own clarity of thought in the understanding of the music of others. In tutorials he could delve into the most intricate complexities of Stockhausen and yet also illuminate the sophistication behind apparently simple music. (My relationship to Roger is a small mirror to Roger’s relationship to Stockhausen in that we both did paid professional music copying for our mentor. I did the hand copying of Strung Out and some of The Southland, and computer copying of a lot of the Concerto for Contra-bassoon.) It seemed Roger could, by studying a score, get into the mind of a composer and know what they were thinking. Or, as he said to us, one could understand what they might have been thinking. That, I would suggest, is a rare and valuable skill.

UWA School of Music in 2012. Photo by MDJ

UWA School of Music in 2012. Photo by MDJ

After two years of intense study in the half unit I was awarded an ‘A’ and was allowed to enrol in the full unit for third year composition (it was a four-year degree). But it was thought I should now have the benefit of the experience of another composition teacher, probably to get a different perspective which, on the face of it, made sense. But my new lessons consisted entirely of having excerpts read to me from little books on Zen or Taoism. Whether that was really a contributing factor in my downturn I will never know but it was around then that I began to struggle mightily with a major depressive illness.

I can clearly recall standing on the top floor of the music building where the practice rooms were, looking at a street light pole in the distance near the residential colleges. Despite repeated efforts I was unable to keep my gaze fixed on the pole for even one second. In music I could not remember more than two notes in succession, which you’d have to say would be pretty important, no?

Why I did not seek help is one of those mysteries of young people. To this day the condition has never been diagnosed but I did very gradually heal up completely, over a period of more than ten years.

Being in this debilitated state was a huge fall for someone who’d so recently topped the class for their ability to analyse music. I’d been able to figure out the form and many other details of a piece in a few seconds flat from skipping through the pages. Or just from listening to it once.

At some point I was allowed to resume study with Roger but by then I was in very bad shape and was not able to complete my composition degree until many years later.

Mental illness has been a background, and sometimes foreground, subject in much of my own output, even before I started uni. Student works had titles like ‘Two Worlds’ or ‘Visions’ and programme notes mentioned ‘the abyss.’ Works currently in progress deal with the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious.

A final regret is not getting around to showing Roger or Brian, or anyone else at UWA for that matter, a little 4 minute piano solo I composed when I was sixteen years old. Think “Moonlight Sonata meets Cavatina from The Deer Hunter” (and about the same length but composed a year before that film came out). The style was so traditional that I didn’t even think it was a good piece of music. How crazy is that? So they never heard Androgyne Prophecy, which I now regard as a very good piece indeed.

By a strange coincidence it was only eight days before he died that I used Spotify to search for Roger’s music, the first time I had ever used that site. I was researching the site while thinking how hard it is these days for anyone to make a living from music unless they teach. How ironic then that I found Roger’s Pulses and his recordings of John White’s piano sonatas there, free for anyone to listen to without payment.

Roger Smalley was a great musician whose memory is worthy of a great celebration which I so earnestly hope will happen. What a pity that he was not much more celebrated during the course of his career. I hope his long piano duo partnership with Cathie Travers will be remembered for many years to come. Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring for one piano four hands is a memory I will always treasure.

I am so grateful to have had this personal connection with Roger. Others I hope will write of his work with performing ensembles and conducting, his compositions, his innovations in electronic music, improvisation and free improvisation, and the many other composers and pianists he taught.

Updated 8 June 2016

Author of this blog: Mix Margaret D. Jones
www.mixmargaret.com
www.mixmargaret.com/blog
www.facebook.com/MixMargaretDylanJones

Another blog of mine about the Smalley concerts by Decibel on 7th June 2016 and the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra on 6th December 2015: 2016/06/08/all-smalley-concert-at-state-theatre/

All-Smalley concert on 7th June 2016 by Decibel, for Tura: www.decibelnewmusic.com/intermodulations.html

There was also a review of the Decibel concert by the next day in The West Australian newspaper: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/entertainment/a/31795960/decibel-honours-smalley-legacy/

Cathie Travers on her long professional and personal relationship with Roger
www.cathietravers.com/page16/smalley.html
www.cathietravers.com/2014pdf_frames/Remembrance_2.pdf

An insightful 2007 article by the pianist Mark Coughlan, a piano student and later teaching colleague of Roger and formerly Head of the UWA School of Music
www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/article/from-west-to-east-roger-smalley

Other articles

19 September 2015: echonewspaper.com.au/roger-smalley-1943-2015

19 August 2015: www.aco.com.au/blog/post/vale-roger-smalley-1943-2015
www.abc.net.au/classic/content/2015/08/19/4296113.htm
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Smalley
www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/artist/smalley-roger
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11823573/Roger-Smalley-pianist-obituary.html

Disambiguation
In classical music circles you may one day come across other M D Joneses. One M Jones also did a MusB at the University of Western Australia, in guitar and other fretted instruments. Another also has a Bachelor of Music in composition, from somewhere in the eastern states (of Australia).

Raw nerve king-hit over Stonewall riots

How to deeply insult thousands of transgender (especially black transgender) people all over the world in two minutes 22 seconds: make a trailer of a movie about their history which writes them out of it. Have the oppressed become the oppressors?

Some people are saying “but it’s only the trailer, wait until you’ve seen the whole film.” Yeah, right, so that’s when we get the picture? So it doesn’t matter if the trailer is hugely misleading and re-writes the heritage of all members of the LGBTQ alphabet? No No NO! The trailer is the first public exposure of the film, it has high significance and will (mis-) shape the history of the event in the minds of most who see it.

If the full movie gives an accurate and balanced account, why does the trailer so clearly not do that? Methinks the full movie is more likely to live up to our worst fears.

I’ve lifted a little from ‘s interview with Miss Major Griffen-Gracy posted on http://www.autostraddle.com/how-dare-they-do-this-again-miss-major-on-the-stonewall-movie-301957/  The whole article is a great read, here’s a few snippets:

The best thing I can remember about that night is that when the girls decided, “no, we ain’t doing this,” some of the girls got out of the paddy wagon and came back, the police got so scared they backed into the club and locked the doors! I mean, if nothing else, that was the funniest thing to have in your mind watching it happen. And meanwhile across the street there are all these cute little white boys cheering us on, and saying “don’t hurt the girls!” and all this blah blah. They weren’t in the fight.

the first thing you want to do is piss off whatever guard you’re fighting so much that they knock you completely out, then you’ll live another day. They won’t keep beating on you until you don’t live. So I got knocked out early, and the next thing I knew I woke up in the cell and we were let out the next day.

it was so disappointing for me to watch the first gay parade because most of us don’t think of ourselves as gay.

Below are excerpts from something I (Mix Margaret) saved in 2002, posted by someone in the Gay and Lesbian Equality (Western Australia) Inc. Yahoo! Group. Originally it came from the Message Board of http://www.theglassonion.org by the writer ‘TheEggman’ whose site it is, or was.

In this account of the riots the words ‘queen’ and ‘homosexual’ (which includes ‘queens’) are used because in 1969 the terms transsexual, transgender, or gay were not known, or not widely known. However, it is clear that the main actors in the riots were trans or drag queens, especially black or coloured, and at least one lesbian. The gay men were mostly onlookers who nevertheless played an important part by cheering them on to encourage them.

The article by Jerry Lisker was published within days of the Stonewall riots. Subsequent to the riots the gay rights movement really took off in the USA. Writers of gay rights history correctly ascribe the riots a key position in that history, but I wish the true story of the event itself was not so frequently forgotten or re-written.

Quote: Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad

Reprinted from “The New York Daily News,” July 6, 1969 By JERRY LISKER

She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn’t bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.

Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. “We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over,” lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.

“We’ve had all we can take from the Gestapo,” the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. “We’re putting our foot down once and for all.” The foot wore a spiked heel. According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand painted brick and opaque glass facade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.

The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and tables. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.

The Raid Last Friday

Last Friday the privacy of the Stonewall was invaded by police from the First Division. It was a raid. They had a warrant. After two years, police said they had been informed that liquor was being served on the premises. Since the Stonewall was without a license, the place was being closed. It was the law.

All hell broke loose when the police entered the Stonewall. The girls instinctively reached for each other. Others stood frozen, locked in an embrace of fear.

Only a handful of police were on hand for the initial landing in the homosexual beachhead. They ushered the patrons out onto Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A crowd had formed in front of the Stonewall and the customers were greeted with cheers of encouragement from the gallery.

The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night. The Queens pranced out to the street blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. A beauty of a specimen named Stella wailed uncontrollably while being led to the sidewalk in front of the Stonewall by a cop. She later confessed that she didn’t protest the manhandling by the officer, it was just that her hair was in curlers and she was afraid her new beau might be in the crowd and spot her. She didn’t want him to see her this way, she wept.

Queen Power

The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.

Urged on by cries of “C’mon girls, lets go get ’em,” the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.

Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.

Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.

Two veterans… recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. “If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war.”

… Police said there were over 200 people in the Stonewall when they entered with a warrant. The crowd outside was estimated at 500 to 1,000. According to police, the Stonewall had been under observation for some time… The police are sure of one thing. They haven’t heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.

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See the video of my piano solo from 1977: Androgyne Prophecy, available as sheet music.

See this great re-make of the Stonewall trailer, which says it all: http://themuse.jezebel.com/spoof-trailer-tells-the-truth-about-obnoxiously-whitewa-1723959891

How I avoid fructose (sucrose)

A little basic stuff first (I only know basic stuff): sucrose (what we commonly call ‘sugar’) is a molecule of glucose joined to a molecule of fructose. As soon as you eat sucrose it separates into these two types of sugars.

Your body needs glucose (I think, or it certainly uses heaps of it), but your body doesn’t need fructose. Many now believe fructose is essentially addictive and poisonous, even in smallish quantities. Adding to these problems glucose is not very sweet whereas fructose is.

Enter: other sweeteners. In my hot chocolate etc I use a combination of erythritol, stevia and glucose powder (properly known as dextrose monohydrate, not to be confused with other dextrosey-type things). This makes for ZERO fructose. Yay!

You may wonder why I bother to put the glucose in it, considering it’s not very sweet. Answer: it does round out the flavour, plus I am concerned there could be problems if you only use erythritol and stevia. If your brain registers (through taste buds) that you have eaten something very sweet but hardly any calories/joules turn up in your blood (because only your gut bugs eat erythritol), there is the suspicion in some circles that your brain will command you to keep eating, including more sweet and fatty foods, to get a decent amount of calories. So I include glucose to provide some calories which really will be digested.

  • Erythritol: best value I can find is Natvia baking pack, in your supermarket sugar section. Be aware that too much, if you’re not used to it, acts as a laxative.
  • Stevia: a little is included in the Natvia erythritol or you can buy stevia separately.
  • Glucose powder (dextrose monohydrate): $4.25 for a 1.25 kg bag at Big Bubble shops (Western Australia), mostly sold for home brewing. Much cheaper than Glucodin at the supermarkets.

I read somewhere (see below) that erythritol and xylitol are the only two alcohol sugars which don’t break down into fructose. So-called ‘sugarless’ chocolates, made with other alcohol sugars like malitol, maltitol etc or so-called ‘dietary fibres’ like inulin, may have MORE fructose in them than a bar of Cadburys. So give me a Cadburys instead!

Others to be wary of: honey is about 80% sucrose (so it’s 40% fructose). Agave is just about off the scale. BTW, don’t bother with glucose syrup: it’s almost tasteless and is mainly used for texture, although that may be what your cooking needs and I guess it would provide real calories.

Where did I find all this very second-hand info which you should not be relying upon without first talking to your trusted health professional? In March 2012 I read a book by David Gillespie called The Sweet Poison Quit Plan. He has heaps of well-argued and really interesting stuff about sugar, fat etc. Enough info and persuasive arguments to fill several books. Oh, yes, in fact he DID fill several books.

Worth a read.

Zig Zag gallery video now online

Anne-Marie & her daughter, Sophie, have made a lovely video showcasing the artwork from the exhibition at the Zig Zag gallery in June, which features my piano music as the sound track. Very interesting and unusual artwork by three artists: Anne-Marie Wharrie, Christiana Gagiano and Sultana Shamshi.

Making the piano recording was quite a job, lots of wrestling with the computer, devices losing communication etc, but the effort was worth the result.

See Anne-Marie’s channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJHiRJFXbZB4cECjSF3enrQ

See my previous blog post about playing at the Zig Zag:
http://mixmargaret.com/blog/2015/06/24/zig-zag-art-gallery-exhibition-music/

New edition of Androgyne Prophecy

1st page

1st page Androgyne Prophecy

Today I will pick-up from the printers the new sheet music for Androgyne Prophecy. Yay! It’s only been eleven years since the first edition, but who’s counting?

I will make more videos of it and a really good recording soon. In the meantime you can see me play the whole piece at http://youtu.be/nzDjcSDs7j8

To get your copy of the sheet music click on the green Shopify buttons below, or see HMP Sheet Music to buy direct with a cheque or direct credit. There is also an easy version.

Or drop-in to hear me play at Soul Tree Organic Cafe and get the special price of $15 and save on the p&h too!

I play there on the 2nd & 4th Sundays of each month, so 23 August, 13 & 27 September 2015, 12 noon to closing time at 3pm.

Of course, they also have the most amazing food, very special indeed. See you soon for coffee, cake and music?