Prosaic Notes from an Unwritten Journal
Composer Jenny McLeod considers Douglas Lilburn’s thoughts on tradition and language and shares her own personal reflections, in illustrated verse. Listen here, or read the transcript below.
To me it was all
one huge tradition, a riotous profusion!
And all of it mine!
Jenny McLeod says: Douglas Lilburn and I were personal friends from 1961. We had a lot in common, and I knew him better than most. First I entered the Victoria University Music Department as one of his students. Through my post-graduate years studying overseas, we corresponded by letter. Later on we became professional colleagues: he requested me to come back and teach at Victoria, which eventually resulted in my appointment there as a junior lecturer. He started the Waiteata Music Press at Victoria and promptly also became my music publisher. A six-year period (from 1971) followed, during which on Freddy Page's retirement, I took over as professor of music and head of department at Vic (and Douglas received his own personal chair). During this period I was technically his boss.
Then taking an unusually 'early retirement' myself (aged 35) I resigned and went off on a 'spiritual walkabout' for some years, returning in 1981 to New Zealand, and specifically to Pukerua Bay to live. Since then I have been a freelance composer, and have also grown very close to the Maori people, especially to Ngati Rangi at Ohakune.
Jenny McLeod was awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1977, and CANZ KBB Citation for Services to New Zealand Music in 2008.
The Lilburn Lecture 2016 was hosted by the Lilburn Trust and the Alexander Turnbull Library, and recorded on 2 November 2016 at National Library of New Zealand by RNZ.