John Stainer

May 2007
16 black and white, 46 line illustrations
392 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Music in Britain, 1600-2000
ISBN: 9781843832973
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press

John Stainer

A Life in Music

Jeremy Dibble

This comprehensive re-evaluation of John Stainer's life and work demonstrates that there was a great deal more to admire beyond The Crucifixion.
"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.

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.

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Table of Contents

A Musical Youth: St Paul's Cathedral (1) 1840-1857
`I saw the Lord': Ouseley and Tenbury 1857-1859
`Drop down, ye heavens, from above': Oxford (1) 1860-1872
Reform and National Renown: St Paul's Cathedral (2) 1860-1872
H.M. Inspector of Schools and The Crucifixion 1882-1888
`Love Divine, all loves excelling': Oxford (2) 1889-1901
List of Works


Illuminates an important aspect of a key figure in the Victorian musical world, some of whose music is still performed today. Dibble demonstrates convincingly that more of it should be performed and that there are neglected masterpieces from Stainer's hand. In short, this is a well-written and richly documented biography. YEAR'S WORK IN ENGLISH STUDIES

As the second contribution to Boydell's new monograph series, Music in Britain, 1600-1900, this book is a welcome and readable addition. VICTORIAN STUDIES

A wide-ranging, deeply engrossing book on a hitherto unfashionable figure central to English musical ,life in the 19th century. GRAMOPHONE [John Steane]

Scrupulously detailed research and a fine advocacy demonstrate a...far more widely-ranging figure than one perhaps might expect...If anything could spark a Stainer revival, it would be this book. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE

What Dibble simply the most detailed, most thoroughly researched, most rounded life of Stainer there has yet been. CLASSICAL MUSIC

[This] critical biography will not only remind readers of John Stainer's remarkable work and life but also go some way towards reinstating him as one of the originals in church and sacred music. LIBRARY REVIEW

A timely reminder of Stainer's significance. NOTES

Dibble...does do Stainer proud in setting out his many achievements...It will be the standard text for a long time. MUSICAL TIMES

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