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Colin McPhee's Music: (I) From West to East

Douglas Young

It was the title that made me stop: A House in Bali by Colin McPhee, 1947, first edition, 5p. At that price it was irresistible; but what was such a recondite book doing in a junk shop in Camberwell—who was the author, and what was the significance of the ‘house’ in the title? As I looked through the book it became apparent that McPhee was a composer. I had never heard a note of his music, but one thing in particular fascinated me: inside the book cover was an announcement:

Three of the author's transcriptions for two pianos of Balinese gamelan music have been published by G. Schirmer of New York. Under the title ‘Balinese Ceremonial Music…’.

Douglas Young, in addition to his composing and writing activities, devised, presented, and performed in the six-concert Dreamtiger series early this year — which featured several first performances, much of the instrumental music of Dallapiccola, and recitals largely devoted to the work of Christian Wolff and Howard Skempton.