Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Newfoundland Rhapsody: Frederick R. Emerson and the Musical Culture of the Island

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Newfoundland Rhapsody: Frederick R. Emerson and the Musical Culture of the Island

Article excerpt

Glenn David Colton, Newfoundland Rhapsody: Frederick R. Emerson and the Musical Culture of the Island (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014), 428 pp. 35 b&w photos. 24 diagrams of sheet music. 1 drawing. Cased. £26.99. ISBN 978-0-7735-4251-8.

That Glenn David Colton is a musicologist is clear from the outset in this interesting, partial biography of one of Newfoundland's more gifted sons, Frederick Rennie Emerson. Born in 1895, this law yer, pianist, singer, linguist, academic, and social 'insider' lived through his country's journey from dominion to province. Emerson was born into a prominent St John's family, attended Bishop Feild College, followed by three years at an English public school and, on his return to Newfoundland, joined the family's legal practice. This could have led him to become a leading player in the island's political and social life, but Emerson's real interests lay elsewhere. Colton's book is devoted to these and to the role that he played in the development and promotion of music and related art forms in Newfoundland. He was, by all accounts, an accomplished pianist and a fine singer with a life-long enthusiasm for music in all its forms. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he played a prominent part in St John's cultural life, performing in concerts, promoting festivals, broadcasting, and lecturing on music and literature at both Queen's College and Memorial College. He eventually became Vice-Chairman of Memorial's governing body when it gained university status. After confederation he became Newfoundland's representative within the Canadian Folk Music Society and on the Arts Council of Canada. …

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