I have always thought that Richard Taruskin would find the work of Robert Lachmann (1892–1939) much to his liking. Lachmann might well feature in the dramatis personae of earlier intellectuals and music scholars, many of whom appear in the pages of Cursed Questions as remarkable intellectuals whose contributions to thinking about music often emanated at a distance from the more orthodox traditions of music history and historiography. From the opening pages of Taruskin’s “Introduction,” in which the reader meets “the poet and underground revolutionary Mikhaíl Larionovich Mikhailov,” to more contemporary analytical thought in Lev Koblyakov’s Pierre Boulez studies (chapter 9, “Unanalyzable, Is It?”), to the unexpectedly modern historical position staked out by Alexey Vasil’yevich Finagin in the 1920s (chapter 13, “A Walking Translation? On Musicology East and West”), Taruskin charts his own path through Western music history with Russia clearly in view—with his own musicological light from the East. Ex...
Cursed Questions: On Music and Its Social Practices, by Richard Taruskin
PHILIP V. BOHLMAN is Ludwig Rosenberger Distinguished Service Professor in Jewish History in the Music Department and the Humanities Division of the University of Chicago, where he also serves as Artistic Director of the cabaret New Budapest Orpheum Society, an ensemble-in-residence. Among his most recent books are Wie sängen wir Seinen Gesang auf dem Boden der Fremde! (LIT, 2019) and Wolokolamsker Chaussee (Bloomsbury, 2021).
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Philip V. Bohlman; Cursed Questions: On Music and Its Social Practices, by Richard Taruskin. Journal of the American Musicological Society 1 August 2021; 74 (2): 431–435. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jams.2021.74.2.431
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