London: Printed for Sainsbury and Co., 1827.
2 volumes. Octavo. 1f. (title), 1f. ("Preface to the Second Edition"), [v]-lxxii ("Summary of the History of Music, by Alexandre Choron"), 401, [i] (blank), [i] (colophon), [i] (blank); 1f. (title), -, [i] (blank), 559-, [i] (colophon), [i] (blank) pp.
"... the first international dictionary of musicians in English, [the present work] remains the source of information on some British subjects in the Dictionary of National Biography and in this dictionary ... Essentially a compilation from earlier reference works and histories, including those of Choron and Fayolle, Gerber, Burney, Hawkins and William Bingley (Musical Biography, 1814, the most heavily used English source), and from journals such as the Harmonicon and Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, the two-volume Dictionary nevertheless contains original material supplied by musicians to whom Sainsbury wrote directly; many of their replies, together with other editorial files, survive to reveal the tactics of early vanity publishing ... Sainsbury's purpose and methods were suspect even in his own day, and the book's balance and factual content are in places absurd. Scholarly concern was renewed in 1931 when, after his discovery of the letters in Glasgow, H.G. Farmer showed Sainsbury's avowed musical patriotism to be specious, hinting at commercial motives instead. Still, for the rich detail and social vivacity in some of its original memoirs, the dictionary remains useful. Its further significance lies in its connection with the founding of the Royal Academy of Music in 1822–3." Leanne Langley in Grove Music Online.
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