Sir John Stainer

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Stainer, Sir John

Stainer, Sir John, English organist, music scholar, and composer; b. London, June 6, 1840; d. Verona, March 31, 1901. He received organ lessons at an early age from his father, William Stainer, the parish schoolmaster at St. Thomas, Southwark, and although he was blinded in the left eye in an accident when he was 5, he persevered in his music training. He was a probationer (1848–49) and a chorister (1849–54) at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, then served as organist at St. Benedict and St. Peter, Paul’s Wharf (1854–56), and subsequently at the Coll. of St. Michael, Tenbury. He continued his education at Christ Church, Oxford (B.Mus., 1860; B.A., 1864; D.Mus., 1865; M.A., 1866). He served as organist at St. Paul’s Cathedral (1872–88) and at the National Training School of Music (1876–89), where he also was its principal (1881–89). From 1889 until his death he was a prof. at Oxford Univ. In 1888 he was knighted. He wrote much liturgical music, which has not withstood the test of time. His reputation rests upon his scholarly pursuits.

Works

DRAMATIC: Oratorios : Gideon (Oxford, 1865); The Crucifixion (London, Feb. 24, 1887). Cantatas : The Daughter of Jarius (Worcester, 1878); St. Mary Magdalen (Gloucester, 1887); Jubilee (1887); The Story of the Cross (1893). OTHER: Services; anthems; hymn tunes; madrigals; partsongs; songs; organ music. editions: With H. Bramley, Christmas Carols, New and Old (London, 1871); with S. Flood et al., The Cathedral Psalter (London, 1874); Six Italian Songs (London, 1896); The Church Hymnary (Edinburgh, 1898); with J. and E. Stainer, Early Bodleian Music (London and N.Y., 1901); with W. Frere and H. Briggs, A Manual of Plainsong (London, 1902).

Writings

(all pubI. in London): A Theory of Harmony (1871); with W. Barrett, A Dictionary of Musical Terms (1876); The Organ (1877); Music of the Bible, with an Account of the Development of Modern Musical Instruments from Ancient Types (1879; second ed., 1914, with suppl. by F. Galpin); Music in Relation to the Intellect and Emotions (1892); Dufay and His Contemporaries (1898).

Bibliography

P. Carlton, The Life and Influence of Sir J. S. (diss., Univ. of East Anglia, 1976); idem, J. S. and the Musical Life of Victorian Britain (Newton Abbot, 1984).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Stainer, (Sir) John (b London, 1840; d Verona, 1901). Eng. composer, organist, teacher, and scholar. Chorister, St Paul's Cath., 1849–54. Org., St Paul's 1872–88. Prof. of org. and harmony, Nat. Training Sch. of Mus., and prin. 1881–9. Prof. of mus., Oxford Univ., 1889–1901. Wrote books on harmony and about Du Fay. His Early Bodleian Music (1901) is one of first serious studies of medieval music. Comp. much church mus., incl. Sevenfold Amen, and oratorios and cantatas of which the best-known is The Crucifixion (1887). Knighted 1888.