Style and Substance in the Evaluation of John Stainer's Solo Organ Works

By Kelley, David | The American Organist, November 2007 | Go to article overview

Style and Substance in the Evaluation of John Stainer's Solo Organ Works


Kelley, David, The American Organist


John Stainer (1840-1901) was a well-known and highly respected British musician during the Victorian era. He accrued many credentials and honors during his career: he received his doctorate in music from Oxford University in 1865; he began work in the prominent post of organist of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, in 1872; upon his retirement from St. Paul's, he was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1888; then in 1889, Stainer returned to Oxford, where he was appointed professor of music.1 He made a lasting contribution to the music world, for "not only did he prove himself a first-class administrator, organist, and organ accompanist, but he wrote standard textbooks on Harmony and The Organ, was part-editor of a famous Dictionary of Musical Terms, and was a scholar and musicologist of considerable repute."2

Additionally, Stainer was well established as a composer, primarily of church music. He wrote oratorios and cantatas, services, anthems, organ and vocal music, and over 150 hymn tunes. His oratorio, The Crucifixion (1887), is his best-known work, still enjoying performances more than 125 years after its publication.3 However, aside from The Crucifixion and a few hymn tunes, Stainer's compositions, in particular his organ works, are almost entirely forgotten in spite of his accomplishments and successes.4

Evidence of the obscurity of Stainer's organ music is found in the divergence of opinions as to what pieces exist. Many authoritative studies on organ literature altogether ignore Stainer as a composer for organ, most notably Organ Literature by Corliss Richard Arnold and Survey of Organ Literature and Editions by Marilou Kratzenstein. Studies that focus specifically on English organ music might be expected to make mention of Stainer's works, yet they also are often silent on the subject. For example, in The Cambridge Companion to the Organ, Andrew McCrea's article, "British Organ Music after 1800," treats specifically the time and place in which Stainer thrived as a composer, and yet McCrea makes no reference to Stainer at all. Interestingly, in British Organ Music of the Twentieth Century Peter Hardwick likens the "romantic fervor" of early works of Healey Willan to a similar affect in works of John Stainer,5 but as the book is a study of 20th-century music, his discussion of Stainer stops there.

Two sources do discuss Stainer's organ works at length. Stainer's biographer, Peter Charlton, lists several organ works: the 1897 collection, Six Pieces for the Organ, including an "Andante" in A-flat major, a "Prelude and Fughetta" in C major, an "Adagio (ma non troppo)" in E-flat major, "On a Bass" in G minor, an "Impromptu" in E minor, and "Rêverie" in A-flat major; the 1900 collection, Twelve Pieces for the Organ,6 consisting of an "Andante Pathetique" in E major, "Praeludium Pastorale (super gamut descendens)" in C major, "A Church Prelude" in E-flat major, an "Introduction and Fughetta" in E minor, a "Fantasia" in C major, and "Finale Alla Marcia" in D major; in The Village Organist series, which was edited in part by Stainer, "A Song of Praise" (1897) and "Procession [sic] to Calvary," the latter excerpted from The Crucifixion; and Jubilant March, published independently of any collection.7 John Henderson's list in A Directory of Composers for Organ largely aligns with Charlton's, though in the discussion of The Village Organist series an "Andante Religiose" replaces "Processional to Calvary."8 It might seem likely that the different titles in fact refer to the very same piece, but the tempo indication printed on the score of "Processional to Calvary" is Moderato maestoso, not Andante religioso.

Both Charlton and Henderson refer to Stainer's treatise on organ technique, The Organ (1877), but again there is a discrepancy regarding its contents; Charlton does not mention that it includes any original organ works by Stainer, and Henderson states that it contains the same "Prelude and Fughetta" in C major found in Six Pieces for the Organ. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Style and Substance in the Evaluation of John Stainer's Solo Organ Works
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.