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date: 22 February 2020

Drinker, Henry S(andwith)locked

  • Jon Newsom


(b Philadelphia, Sept 15, 1880; d Merion, PA, March 9, 1965). American music scholar. A lawyer by profession, he devoted himself in his spare time to music and from 1930 to 1960 he held informal gatherings (known as the ‘Accademia dei Dilettanti di Musica’) at his home to study and perform vocal music of the 17th to 20th centuries. (He also conducted larger groups on Sunday evenings.) Concerned that the words should be understood but also fit the music, Drinker began a series of translations remarkable for their craftsmanship and sheer number: between 1941 and 1954 he translated many Bach works (212 cantatas, the St Matthew Passion and the St John Passion, the Easter and Christmas oratorios and the Magnificat), all Brahms's vocal works, all Mozart's choral works, all Schumann's and Medtner's songs, all the solo songs of Wolf, Musorgsky and Schubert and all Schubert's partsongs. His devotion and scholarship were recognized in honorary degrees awarded him by the University of Pennsylvania (...

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