Date of Graduation

1980

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

Rayner Taylor (c. 1747-1825) was but one of many immigrant musicians who flocked to post-Revolutionary America, yet he was one of the most significant. Not only was he among the most thoroughly trained members of that group, but he was also one of the most diverse and experienced. It is not surprising that throughout his residence in Philadelphia from 1793 to 1825, he served as the guiding spirit behind the important circle of musicians whose accomplishments made that city the musical capital of America in the decades surrounding the turn of the nineteenth century. Despite his influence, however, very little has been written about Taylor. It is the purpose of this dissertation to examine the events, accomplishments, and times of Rayner Taylor's career, to define his significance to music history, and to help reinvest Taylor with the honor and recognition which were bestowed upon him by his contemporaries. The emphasis of study lies not with the analysis of Taylor's music but rather with the elucidation of the life and times of the professional immigrant musicians who formed an important element of the foundation upon which American musical culture was built. The fruits of extensive correspondence and research in America and England, the dissertation is organized in two parts. Part I offers a lengthy account of the musician's life in Great Britain arranged in nine chapters: I: An Identity Discerned; II: Early Years--The Chapel Royal; III: Marybone Gardens Musician; IV: Interlude in Edinburgh; V: Organist at Chelmsford; VI: Popular Entertainment in Eighteenth-Century London; VII: An Historical Sketch of Sadler's Wells Theatre; VIII: The Music Director of Sadler's Wells; IX: The Apollo Gardens. The seven chapters which comprise Part II concern Taylor's American career: X: Arrival in America; XI: The City of Friends; XII: Notes on the British-American Stage; XIII: Taylor and the American Stage; XIV: Concert Life in Philadelphia; XV: Church Musician; XVI: Professor of Music. The dissertation is appended with a comprehensive list of compositions and arrangements by the composer; an assemblage of biographical source materials; and a selection of English compositions by Taylor. Although new evidence reveals that he was a more active participant in America's musical life (particularly in the area of musical theatre) than is often supposed, Taylor's role in the evolution of music in America was largely a supportive one. A mature man throughout the duration of his career in America, Taylor served as the patriarch of an important time and place in the development of American musical culture.

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