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The Life, Works and Enduring Significance of the Rev. John Bacchus Dykes MA., Mus.Doc

CORY, GRAHAM,MICHAEL (2016) The Life, Works and Enduring Significance of the Rev. John Bacchus Dykes MA., Mus.Doc. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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One hundred and forty years after his death John Bacchus Dykes remains well known in the pews as a prolific Victorian hymn-tune composer, many of whose tunes are numbered amongst the most highly regarded and popular of any from that period. He is less well remembered for his anthems and services, for his theological writings and for his scholarly lectures on church music. And he is scarcely remembered at all as an Anglo-Catholic ritualist who clashed spectacularly with his evangelical bishop, sought from the Court of Queen’s Bench a writ to compel his Bishop to do those things which the law required him to do, lost the case and died shortly thereafter, a broken man.
But despite the fact that some of Dykes’s hymn-tunes have become almost inseparable from the words for which they were written, in the century following his death he earned a level of disparagement that often crossed the boundary of objective criticism and strayed into vituperative, cliché-laden condemnation. He was vilified for his music’s supposed chromaticism and sentimentality, and was portrayed as an amateur who wrote too much.
In this study I contend that Dykes’s music cannot be fully appreciated without under-standing Dykes in all his manifestations. So I examine Dykes the man, the priest and pastor, the theologian and teacher, the organist and conductor, the wit, the scholar and the Anglo-Catholic ritualist, revealing in the process a dark secret which he took to his grave and kept there for a century and a half. In doing so, I aim to show that Dykes was an important musical pioneer, unafraid to experiment with harmonic, melodic and metrical forms; that many of the adverse criticisms levelled at him were unfounded; and that the incontrovertible integrity of the man is mirrored in the integrity of his music.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:PhD thesis, John Bacchus Dykes, Victorian hymnody
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 Jul 2016 16:05

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