Curious Coincidences: the Parallel Lives of Fabre d’Olivet and Johann Friedrich Hugo von Dalberg

By Joscelyn Godwin,

Professor of Music,

Colgate University

Abstract. Fabre d'Olivet (1767-1825) and Johann Friedrich Hugo von Dalberg (1760-1812) began life in very different circumstances, but their activities, talents, opinions and beliefs show an extraordinary convergence. This is illustrated for both subjects under the headings of Family Origins and Early Life, Physique, Education, Financial Support, Romantic Bildungsreise, The French Revolution, Political Views, Secret Societies, Ecumenism, Belief in an Ineffable God, Christology, Spiritual History, Polar Origins, Reincarnation, Oriental Studies, Creative Inspiration, Novels, Poetry, Translations, Pianists, Songs, Instrumental Music, Sacred Music, Gregorian Chant, Non-Western Music, Moral Effects of Music, and Advice to Young Composers. Opening and concluding remarks consider these coincidences in historical and philosophical contexts.