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date: 12 December 2019

Dwight, John Sullivanlocked

  • Ora Frishberg Saloman

Extract

(b Boston, May 13, 1813; d Boston, Sept 5, 1893). American writer on music. A graduate of Harvard College (1832) and Harvard Divinity School (1836), Dwight manifested an early affinity with the German idealist tradition in his annotated translations of poetry by Goethe and Schiller. As a leading contributor to the Associationist Harbinger (1845–9) and Dwight's Journal of Music (1852–81), which he founded and edited, he elevated criticism to a higher and more educational plane. After the death of his wife in 1860, he spent his last 20 years as resident librarian and permanent president of the Harvard Musical Association, which sponsored an annual series of concerts under his management (1865–82).

Dwight's writings of the 1840s reflect New England transcendentalist currents and a familiarity with such European thinkers as E.T.A. Hoffmann, A.B. Marx, Gottfried Fink, Charles Fourier, F.-J. Fétis, Frédéric Kalkbrenner, Thomas Carlyle and William Gardiner. Championing aesthetic education and informed listening, Dwight proposed that music – as art, science, and language of feeling ennobling and uniting people – be made widely accessible. In America he was a pioneer in describing the humanistic importance and large-scale structures of Beethoven's symphonies....

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Boston, Public Library, Music Department
The New Grove Dictionary of American Music
Musical Quarterly