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Program note: Antonio Tenace's "Boult To Marina"

  • © Antonio Tenace
  • Source: Produced for and provided by Melbourne Composer's League

Antonio Tenace has recently commenced a PhD candidature in Music at the University
of Melbourne where he has been awarded a Master of Music (Composition) in 2007,
Bachelor of Music with Honours in 2003 and currently holds an Australian
Postgraduate Award Scholarship. He was also awarded a Bachelor of Music from La
Trobe University in 2000 having majored in contemporary music and physics.


He has studied composition under the supervision of Brenton Broadstock and Stuart
Greenbaum and he has undertaken studies in conducting with John Hopkins.
Composition prizes include the 2006 Zavod Jazz/Classical Fusion Award for his
saxophone quartet 'Kontrapunkt' and his music has also recently been released on
the MCL Rear Vision CD. He is a member and current Treasurer of the Melbourne
Composers League, a member of the Australasian Performing Right Association
(APRA) and his music has been published by Gold Branch Music in the USA. His
compositions have been performed by world renowned UK trombonist and conductor
Barrie Webb, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Silo String Quartet, Noh Saxophone
Quartet, Cappuccino Brass, pianists Joan Pollock and Patrick Lawrence, and
saxophonist Lachlan Davidson.


‘Boult to Marina’ was composed using the text setting from a poem written by Ern
Malley, a fictitious Australian poet created by James McAuley and Harold Stewart
during the 1940s. For those who are unfamiliar with the notoriety, McAuley and Stewart
who were themselves conservative poets concocted a ruse in an attempt to
undermine the modernist literary movement espoused by the publisher Angry
Penguins, a literary and art journal of the time established by Max Harris, the editorthe hoaxers’ target. They sent Harris a collection of 17 poems which were assembled in one afternoon by randomly lifting words and phrases from the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a Collected Shakespeare and a Dictionary of Quotations. Harris immediately published the poems in a special edition of Angry Penguins and was thereafter embroiled in Australia’s most celebrated literary hoax. As fascinating as the tale is, I became interested not by the controversy and repercussions of this event, but more so in the cut and paste methods adopted by the hoaxers as a means of creating a perceived unified work of art. As a composer, the challenge for me was to create a somewhat meaningful piece of music in a tongue-in-cheek style by incorporating a hodgepodge of pseudo pretentious waffle. This is the result.

Only a part of me shall triumph in this
(I am not Pericles)
Though I have your silken eyes to kiss
And maiden-knees
Part of me remains, wench, Boult-upright
The rest of me drops off into the night.
What would you have me do? Go to the wars?
There’s damned deceit
In these words, thrusts, shell-holes, of the cause
And I’m no cheat.
So blowing this lily as trumpet with my lips
I assert my original glory in the dark eclipse.
Sainted and schismatic would you be?
Four frowning bedposts
Will be the cliffs of your wind-thrummelled sea
Lady of these coasts,
Blown lily, surplice and stole of Mytilene,
You shall rest snug to-night and know what I mean.


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