John Ford Paterson’s Melbourne, twilightfrom 1887 is one of my favourite portraits of the city. It has a light that obscures as much as it reveals, poses as many questions as it answers. Paterson trained in Scotland before migrating to Australia in the 1870s. He was probably the most Scottish identity in Melbourne’s arts world at the end of the 19th-century, and he never lost his broad accent. Though other artists of the Heidelberg group would overshadow him, Paterson’s twilight scenes of the Australian landscape were unmatched, I think, in his time. Paterson’s works in Scotland and Australia, including the his plein air sketch of Melbourne held in the National Gallery of Victoria, reveal a man driven to grasp what cannot be held.

Australian Chamber Orchestra's Luminous The Australian Chamber Orchestra’s  Luminous. Photo © Julian Kingma

This is the sentiment the ACO’S collaboration with Australian photographer Bill Henson, Luminous, evokes. First staged in 2005, it is difficult to characterise just what, exactly, Luminousis, and that may be part of the point. As writer and critic Peter Craven puts it, “Ten years ago, in Sydney, Luminoushad an eerie majesty and its revamp suggests...

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