Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DWIGHT, John Sullivan, musical critic, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 13 May 1813. He is one of the Dwights of Shirley, Mass, whose ancestor, Captain John Dwight, is supposed to have been a nephew of Captain Henry, of Hatfield. He was graduated at Harvard in 1832, at the Cambridge divinity school in 1835, and in 1840 was ordained pastor of the Unitarian Church in Northampton, Massachusetts.He soon left the ministry from sympathy with the socialistic ideas of the famous Brook Farm community, of which he was one of the founders, and where he lived for five years, teaching Latin, Greek, German, and music, and at the same time farming, cutting wood, cultivating trees, and engaging in other industries. He returned to Boston in 1848 and devoted himself to literature, contributing to the "Harbinger " (which was at one time the organ of the Brook Farm community, but afterward removed to New York), the Boston "Dial," the "Christian Examiner," and other periodicals.
He now devoted himself specially to musical criticism, doing much to foster a taste for the best compositions, both by his articles and by lectures on Bach, Beethoven, Handel, and Mozart, which he delivered in the principal cities in the country. In April 1852, he established in Boston " Dwight's Journal of Music," the publication of which was assumed by Oliver Ditson & Co. in 1858, but Mr. Dwight continued its sole editor until 1881, when it was discontinued. It was for several years the only musical journal in the country, and always expressed the opinions of its editor without fear or favor. He earnestly opposed Wagner, Berlioz, Rubinstein, and the "music of the future," and as strenuously upheld Bach, Handel, and Beethoven. Mr. Dwight has published " Translations of Select Minor Poems from the German of Goethe and Schiller, with Notes" (in Ripley's "Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature," Boston, 1838). These are distinguished for grace of diction, close adherence to the originals, and musical rhythm. His best known original poem is "God Save the State." His sister, Frances Ellen, born in Boston in 1819, became a teacher of music in that City.
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