Philip Radcliffe


Philip Fitzhugh Radcliffe was born on April 27. In 1924, he went as a Classical Scholar to King's College, Cambridge. After a First in Classical Tripos, Part I, he turned increasingly to music, being elected a Fellow in the subject in 1931, and a university lecturer in 1947.

His main gifts were a passion for music and remarkable musical memory. His sympathies lay with the music of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, huge amounts of which he memorised with apparent ease. Yet his curiosity was boundless and did not deteriorate with the years. He regarded teaching (and for him that meant individual supervision) as his most important activity, and he continued to teach long after his official retirement.

Other than teaching and his academic writings, his love of music found one further outlet: composition. His idiom was traditional and restrained, and he sometimes referred to it as "Vaughan-Brahms". Yet those who knew him well found it idiosyncratic and highly expressive of his gentle personality. Only a few of his pieces (Most of them are small scale) have been printed - two short choral introits, a part-song for male voices, and three songs for voice and piano.His most ambitious effort was the music for Cambridge Greek Play Society's Oedipus Tyrannus (1965.)