Wednesday, October 13, 2021

And now for something completely different...

From March through November 2019 I conducted weekly interviews with local composer, musician and teacher, Dorothy Buchanan. It had been a joint ambition to get Dotty's memoirs recorded and formed into a book. But I hadn't expected to personally get so much out of the process; transcribing, researching, the geneological tracing and chronological  ordering of material; visits to the Alexander Turnbull Library where the composer's ephemera is held; trawling through reference publications and microfiche material. So much pleasurable learning about a person and a process.

Dotty is an amazing individual who achieved so much so young, and simply never stopped. At just seventeen,  she was playing violin in the Christchurch Civic Orchestra,  – the forerunner to the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra; at eighteen she recorded her Mass in English and received performance royalties from the NZBC for the first time. At nineteen she was leading the Christchurch Orchestral Society, and at twenty – when long distance air travel was in its infancy - Dotty celebrated her birthday with a Pimms in a London pub whilst on tour with the Christchurch Harmonic Society.

Her musical pedigree comes through both sides of the family and goes back generations. But her origins are West Coast and humble. The opening chapter will evoke their own memories for New Zealanders of a similar vintage.

'The Birds Began To Sing' is about to be released by Cuba Press. The first few pages can be read here by clicking on 'look inside'.


Mark Wahlberg said...

Lindsay, it was a delight to read. As you do with your paintbrush, your words create beautiful pictures. Makes me nostalgic for my childhood.


Peter Cresswell said...

Hey, good for you. Sounds like it must have been a fun project!