chapter  7
12 Pages

Meeting the composer halfway: Which Anne Boyd?

BySALLY MACARTHUR

There is an image of the Australian composer Anne Boyd (b. 1946) that is at once stable and predictable, and pointing to the unceasing movement of difference in which there is no stable centre. The flux of movement in the identity of Boyd, to draw the words from Deleuze, ‘implies a plurality of perspectives, a tangle of points of view, a co-existence of moments which essentially distort representation … forcing us to create movement’.1 At the same time, there is a tendency in the collective assemblage of enunciation2 to stabilise and fix the image of Boyd and, in so doing, to reinforce her negative opposition to the male composer and thus her inferior membership of the category ‘composer’. In this way, her identity works against Deleuze’s philosophy of difference, in which difference is always dynamic, and in which ‘difference is shown differing’.3 Representational images of Boyd fail ‘to capture the affirmed world of difference’,4 for representational logic mediates and treats identity as static and stable, and ‘moves nothing’.5 The concept of identity has always been fundamental to musical composition, forming the trope of the heroic master composer. As I will argue in this chapter, the ideology of the heroic composer inhibits the productive functioning of the woman composer.