— Musicologist Richard Taruskin, in the introduction to his essay collection Text and Act, p. 10. This is a mere tidbit of his larger, damning criticism of the current state of musicology, and of the related performance-practice movement. Trust me, he’s just getting warmed up here. My second favorite quote comes from his response to Leo Treitler, who had published a criticism of one of Taruskin’s early essays. Treitler writes, “I don’t know whether Taruskin would make a principled defense of the differentiation,” between the level of accountability we should expect from a scholar versus that which we should expect from an historically-informed performer. As if to bring attention to, and thus undermine, Treitler’s pretentious nitpicking, Taruskin retorts how, “he could have called me up” (p. 24). The chutzpah!
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