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John Stainer

John Stainer: A Life in Music

Jeremy Dibble
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    John Stainer
    Book Description:

    `The thoroughness of the research is impressive, based on profusion of sources, many of them little used until now.... A text that carries great authority, plus (almost equally important) a new and generously annotated list of Stainer's works both musical and literary. At last, Stainer has got his due, once and for all.' NICHOLAS TEMPERLEY, Professor of Music Emeritus, University of Illinois. BR> One of the most important musicians of the Victorian era, Stainer is known for his considerable influence as a composer of Anglican liturgical music, and his corpus of secular works - madrigals and songs - presents many surprises. He was a brilliant organist, a fine scholar, theorist, pedagogue and teacher - multifarious attributes which this study elucidates and understands as part of his wider musical personality. Stainer's life is a story of extraordinary social mobility. From lowly origins he rose to become organist of St Paul's Cathedral and Professor of Music at Oxford. Yet after his premature death in 1901 he suffered almost immediate neglect except for the popularity of a handful of works, among them I saw the Lord and The Crucifixion. In rehabilitating Stainer and the crucial contribution he made to musical life, this book examines the breadth of his work as a composer, and the important role he played in the regeneration of sacred and secular musical institutions in Victorian Britain. JEREMY DIBBLE is Professor of Music at Durham University. His previous books include studies of Parry and Stanford and he is the author of numerous articles on British music. He is currently working on a dictionary of hymnology.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-559-8
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface & Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Jeremy Dibble
  6. I 1840–1857 A Musical Youth: St Paul’s Cathedral (1)
    (pp. 1-37)

    John Stainer’s letter to Frederick George Edwards, organist, writer and editor of theMusical Timessince 1897, was written in response to one of numerous invitations Edwards had extended, and would continue to extend, to eminent men in Britain’s expanding musical profession for a series of leading biographical articles. These commenced in 1898 and concluded five years later in 1903. Stainer’s first reaction to Edwards’ suggestion of an article had been entirely negative: ‘as regards your kind proposal to introduce me into the Mus. Times, I hope you will not be offended if I ask to be excused. Find younger...

  7. II 1857–1859 ‘I Saw the Lord’: Ouseley and Tenbury
    (pp. 38-62)

    Stainer appositely described his decision to undertake the assistantship at Tenbury as ‘a turning-point in [his] life’.² There were of course great musical opportunities afforded by his employment there; apart from services, he had much time for organ practice, private study and the extraordinary luxury of individual tuition from Ouseley. But the wider experience offered by the almost monastical isolation of Tenbury, a unique establishment of a college attached to a parish church,³ was a new kind of ecclesiastical discipline shaped by its founder’s vision of church music as a quintessential and ordered component of Christian worship, rather than the...

  8. III 1860–1872 ‘Drop down, Ye Heavens, from Above’: Oxford (1)
    (pp. 63-137)

    The facility, artifice and brilliant technique of ‘I saw the Lord’, a prodigious, indeed precocious exhibition by such a young man, undoubtedly impressed Ouseley even if he may have been out of sympathy with the anthem’s contemporary style. Ouseley, however, must have sensed that, for all its conducive attributes, Tenbury was too isolated a spot for Stainer to pursue his musical career and that, before long, his pupil would be looking for fresh and more advantageous opportunities elsewhere.

    Such an opportunity presented itself at the end of 1859 when the post of organist andinformator choristarumbecame vacant at Magdalen...

  9. IV 1872–1882 Reform and National Renown: St Paul’s Cathedral (2)
    (pp. 138-213)

    There is no surviving evidence to suggest that Stainer aspired to leave Oxford. By 1871 Bulley had seen to it that he was on a salary of £200. This sum, however, was not considerable, and with a wife and five children to provide for (and another expected – Elizabeth Stainer was pregnant with a sixth child in January 1872), it seems likely that Stainer was looking for a higher-paying job. Nevertheless, Oxford was an amicable, comfortable and intellectually stimulating environment which he did not consider giving up unless a new and more rewarding opportunity presented itself.

    In 1871 Stainer was...

  10. V 1882–1888 H. M. Inspector of Schools and The Crucifixion
    (pp. 214-248)

    Having accepted Mundella’s invitation, Stainer and his wife spent July and part of August 1882 in Holland and Belgium, visiting Rotterdam, Antwerp, Amsterdam, The Hague and Brussels. A few weeks after his return he was asked by Grove to join the staff of the RCM, due to open its doors in 1883:

    I write to you by the express desire of the Prince of Wales to convey his hope that you will accept the Professorship of the Organ in the Royal College of Music, and thus aid in carrying on the excellent work with which you are so closely identified...

  11. VI 1889–1901 ‘Love Divine, All Loves Excelling’: Oxford (2)
    (pp. 249-315)

    Without the major tie of services and practices at St Paul’s, the unremitting pressure of work on Stainer’s daily existence was lifted. The house in Oxford was comfortably situated, close to the university and the Bodleian, and, though he was still called away for college inspections – in 1889 he visited thirty-eight of the forty-three teacher-training institutions – there was more time to devote to composition, scholarship, the publication of the ever expanding series of Novello primers and the third edition of theDictionary of Musical Terms. There was also more freedom for him and his wife (and his children...

  12. List of Stainer’s Works
    (pp. 316-338)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 339-344)
  14. Index
    (pp. 345-362)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 363-363)