Lived:1932 – 2009
Mostly In:Sydney, Adelaide, Mullumbimby
Best Known For: Voss, Mer de Glace, Very High Kings, Cantilena Pacifica, Viridian
Similar To:Boulez, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Rochberg, Barber

Richard Meale Richard Meale, 1990. Photo © Lorrie Graham

Richard Meale has joined the ranks of neglected Australian composers, his music rarely performed and recordings becoming daily harder to come by. At one time, though, Meale and Peter Sculthorpe stood as the two rival heroes of Australia’s budding musical future. That was the 60s, when Australia, riding on the sheep’s back and happily exploiting its open access to the artistic epicentre of London, was powered by a sense of cultural energy and optimistic growth.

Meale’s fall from prominence started well before his death in 2009. After the success of their first operatic collaboration, Voss, in 1986, Meale and librettist David Malouf followed up with a second, Mer de Glace. The opera’s rich themes and imagery drawn...

This article is available online for Limelight subscribers. Log in to continue reading.

Not a subscriber? For a limited time our monthly digital subscription is only $3. Subscribe now and you will save 50% and have full access to our paywalled content and digital magazines.