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Godfrey Ridout: Biography

Godfrey Ridout
1918 - 1984
Region: Ontario

Godfrey Ridout

GODFREY RIDOUT, LL.D., F.R.C.C.O. was born in Toronto May 6, 1918 and died on November 24, 1984. His interest in music was kindled early by being taken to concerts of the newly reformed Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He received his musical education in Toronto under Ettore Mazzoleni, Charles Peaker and Healey Willan. He was appointed to the staff of the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now the Royal Conservatory) in 1939 and to the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, in 1948 where he was an Associate Professor. He retired from the University's Faculty of Music in 1982.

Often described as old-fashioned in his musical tastes, Ridout achieved his first musical success in 1938 with Ballade for Viola and String Orchestra. He enjoyed popular music, and composed many drama scores for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio and film scores for the National Film Board early in his career.

Moved by the formation of the State of Israel, he wrote Esther, a dramatic symphony that critics lauded. He won further acclaim in 1953 with Holy Sonnets and in 1959 with Music for a Young Prince, dedicated to Prince Charles. His list of music is long and encompasses almost every musical form.

"The collections of his writings include commentaries on new Canadian music from the Canadian Review of Music and Art and Here and Now written in the 1950s, his Canadian Music Journal articles on such figures as MacMillan and Willan, and a witty personal reminiscence of musical Toronto in his youth, published in the University of Toronto Quarterly.

Godfrey is properly characterized as a conservative traditionalist. His view of musical literature was, if not narrow, certainly selective, but students can testify that the works he admired he knew thoroughly. He had an unusually well-cultivated sense of English language expression and his manner was a quietly correct one. But counterbalancing his adherence to traditional values were, in his teaching, a liberalist's tolerance for ideas presented in open discussion, and, in his personality and his creative work, often an irrepressible boyishness and sense of fun. To Godfrey there was room for deep sentiment and mysticism in his music but also for the sheer fun of tootling on four piccolo."

John Beckwith (1984)

CAPAC

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