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Canadian Review of Music and Other Arts

(Toronto, 1942-1948)

Prepared by Richard Kitson
Online only (2021)

Eleven single and seventeen double issues of The Canadian Review of Music and the Other Arts [RIPM code CMA] were published rather irregularly in Toronto, Ontario, by the Canadian Review Publishing Co. The journal deals with musical instrumentalists, singers, conductors, composers, teachers and important Canadian musical institutions. Painters in oils and water colors, sculptors and architects, weavers of textiles and crafts persons working in various mediums are also treated extensively. While the main focus of the journal deals with artists and musicians in Quebec and Ontario, increasing attention is given to the arts in the Western provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. As CMA was published from 1942 to 1947-48, considerable discussion concerns the effects of the Second World War on Canada and Canadians. The majority of the journal’s articles are written in the English language, but the regular editorials are given in both English and French.

 Vol. 1, Nos. 1 to 5 were issued from February to June, Vol. 1, Nos. 6 to 8 from October to December, 1942, and Vol. 1, No. 9 in January 1943. Vol. 2 began in February 1943 and resumed publication after a hiatus of five months with three double issues beginning August-September, numbered 7-8 and continuing 9-10 and 11-12, the last dated December 1943-January 1944. The five-month gap appears to have been necessitated by the wartime shortage of paper. Vol. 3 consisted of six double issues, No. 1-2 February to No 11-12 December1943-January 1944. Publication resumed for 1945 with Vol. 4, No. 1-2 dated August-September; two more double issues followed, the last again dated December 1945-January 1946. Vol 5, No. 1 was issued in February 1946. It was followed by three double issues beginning August-September, the last dated December 1946-January 1947. Vol. 6 consists of two double issues, Nos. 1-2 for February 1946 and No. 3-4 dated December 1947-January 1948. Single issues generally consist of twenty pages while double issues vary from thirty-six to fifty-four pages. Indices are provided for 1944 and 1945.

Advertisements are generally limited to the beginning and end sections of an issue, but periodically advertisements are mingled with the articles and illustrations. Many advertisements have significant information about Canadian music publishers and instrument makers, musical instruction and concert givers in Canada. The enormous number of illustrations includes reproductions and photographs of artists (painters, sculptors and architects) and their creations, artistic and industrial works, historic and modern buildings in various Canadian locations and musicians. Outstanding is the collection of important paintings by Canadian artists in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The titling, authorship and illustrations belonging to such articles are given without annotations. All articles about music receive extensive annotation, and include photographs of instrumentalists, singers, conductors and composers and music teachers.

Christopher Wood is given as the journal’s editor, Godfrey Ridout as assistant editor, Norman M. Dunn as business manager and Louis de B. Corriveau as advertising managing for Vol. 1, Nos. 2 through 7. Wood’s name is not given in issue No. 8, but Ridout is listed as acting editor and Corriveau as managing editor. Beginning with Vol. 1, No. 9, Corriveau is given as the sole editor.

The importance of the arts in the lives of Canadians is a prominent topic of editorial discussion beginning with Vol. 2 no, 1, February, 1943. In this issue the topic of a Canadian ministry of cultural affairs is broached, as wide social reforms were planned following the conclusion of the Second World War. Determination of the necessity of the arts and crafts and their significance with respect to the prosperity of the country was widely discussed. Each issue that followed continued some aspect of this discussion in the form of editorials and related articles: the influence of art in wartime; the arts in post-war Canada; artistic training the right of every Canadian child, discussed in four articles; the brief presented to the Parliamentary Committee in Ottawa dealing with the importance of artists to industry; the establishment of the Canadian Foundation with the objective of stimulating interest in Canadian cultural activities; where art and industry meet in the field of industrial design; the formation of the Canadian Arts Council; the alleviation of Canada’s iron-bound copyright laws; the development of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; the development of Canadian unity through the arts; and international understanding through the arts.

Prominent among the articles about the musical life of Canada, are biographical sketches of important Canadian composers, singers, instrumentalists and teachers. Among the eleven composers are Jean Coulthard Adams, Barbara Pentland, Healy Willan, Robert Fleming, Arnold Walter and Hector Gratton. Composers John Weinzweig and Barbara Pentland each contribute an article about the new compositional methods of “modern music.” An important adjunct to original compositions by Canadian composers is the annual prize offered by the Canadian Performing Right Society, Limited. The histories and ongoing activities of the provincial branches of the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations are reported, as is the importance of competitive music festivals in various parts of Canada.

The noted tenor of Italian operatic fame, Edward Johnson, born Guelph, Ontario, Canada, is discussed in a biographical sketch with a list of the operatic theatres in which he performed and a complete list of his operatic roles. Johnson’s role as General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera Company receives an extensive study about his position in the midst of the violent impact of the Second World War. Other important Canadian musicians who are featured are Ernest MacMillan, conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Healy Willan, composer of Transit through Fire, the first Canadian opera; Ettore Mazzoleni and Arnold Walter, both officers of the Toronto Conservatory of Musi; and Ellen Ballon, Canadian pianist with an international reputation. Some concerts in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver receive reviews, as do concerts by Canadians in New York City including a concert by the Canadian Composers’ League. Recordings are reviewed with comments on the unavailability of record purchases owing to the Second World War. An important review is the Victor recording is Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Marches played by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sir Ernest MacMillan conducting. As the war developed, readers of CMA are urged to donate unused discs for the war effort. Book reviews focus on important music publications from Britain and the United States.