Musicology, Injected with Animus

Salvaged notes on Joel Sheveloff’s lecture.

Joel Sheveloff died last November. ‘His “calembours” have become as celebrated as his duels, and his eloquence was natural and pleasing.’ A lackluster tribute may be found on the BU web pages: ‘The SFA mourns…’ These are my notes on one of his Bach lectures.

‘Musicology today is young and stupid, with what must be the intellectual equivalent of zits.’

‘People who tell you that they’re right and everyone else is wrong are always crazy. You can take that to the bank.’

Suicide: ‘He took his father’s shotgun and ate it.’

‘It was a Harvard professor who wrote in 1906 a book on why heavier-than-air flight was impossible.’

‘This is not a handout, this is a feuilleton.’

‘If not revenge, at least a requital.’

‘At no time do my fingers leave my hands.’

Bach scholarship: ‘a malignant amoeba that never splits and always swells, right into old age.’

The revival of Bach brought about musicology.

From a high school paper: ‘Beethoven was the world’s greatest composer. So was Handel.’

Evening in the Palace of Reason: on Bach and Frederic the Great, ‘the king in Prussia.’

But Pierre dislikes the straight-talking, curmudgeonly American posture — he thinks it cheap.

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