The Canadian Journal of Music

(Toronto, 1914-1919)

Prepared by Kathleen McMorrow
1 volume 1 volumes (2005)

The Canadian Journal of Music, “a monthly magazine of musical life in the Dominion, and of musical news the world over,” was published in Toronto, in forty-eight monthly, and ten combined bi-monthly issues, from May 1914 to December 1919. The journal was published from its own offices at two successive home addresses of Luigi von Kunits (1870-1931), who advertised himself in the journal, until the outbreak of World War I, as an “Austrian violinist and conductor.” The journal’s first editor was Clarence Britten (b.1887), supported by an editorial board that included his wife, the writer Gertrude Sanborn, and von Kunits’s wife, Harriet Jane Gittings. Britten later taught at the University of Wisconsin, then was associate editor of the literary magazine The Dial. Von Kunits himself edited The Canadian Journal of Music from December 1914 onwards.

The cover page of each issue contains a photograph or drawing, illustrating a biographical article in the issue, usually dealing with a Canadian performer or teacher, sometimes with a visiting celebrity such as Leo Ornstein or Leopold Stokowski, and occasionally with outstanding string instruments in local collections. Many other smaller photographs of musicians accompany reviews, news of forthcoming performances, or biographical sketches. The musical supplements in the November 1915 through March 1916 issues, described as “made in Canada,” were short musical works by professional and semi-professional Toronto composers: vocal pieces by Muriel E. Bruce, Frederick Shuttleworth, Wesley Octavius Forsyth and Francis Macklem, and a piano piece by the teenaged Colin McPhee (his first published work).

In addition to the “cover story,” most issues contain one or more extended articles, Toronto concert reviews, reviews of new music, Canadian and international news and performance reviews. At the start of World War I, news from Europe dwindled. There are regular reports from New York City, including news about Canadian performers, Charles Wakefield Cadman, and the violinist Vera Barstow. Initially written by Arthur Hartmann, a friend and fellow violinist of von Kunits, these were later sent by a New York-based Canadian journalist, May Cleland Hamilton, and throughout 1919, were written by Dixie Hines, co-editor of Who’s Who in Music and Drama. A “Studio” column was devoted to essays, by a variety of “recognized authorities,” on educational theory and practice. There are regular reports on the major local music schools (Toronto Conservatory of Music, Hambourg Conservatory, the Toronto College of Music and the Canadian Academy of Music). Von Kunits’s editorials are a distinctive feature: aesthetic reflections in all aspects of life, especially music, religion, and politics.

Extended articles were written locally by the violoncellist and historian Leo Smith (about the evolution of the symphony, and nationalism in music), the composer W. O. Forsyth (on his Canadian and international contemporaries), by John Earle Newton (offering a comparison of editions of J. S. Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier), and by Paul Wells (on the “psychological side of piano playing”).