A comprehensive and brilliant critique of Taruskin’s Oxford History of Western MusicPosted: November 28, 2012
Since its appearance in 2005, there have been more than a few words written about Richard Taruskin’s mammoth six-volume Oxford History of Western Music, likely to be a key text in music history for a long time. But not many of the reviews or other articles have looked in detail and critically at a good deal of Taruskin’s underlying assumptions, ideologies, exalted claims made for the work, hidden agendas, and so on. A few that have would include Gary Tomlinson, ‘Monumental Musicology’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association , Vol. 132, Part 2 (2007), pp . 349-374, and also, interestingly, Susan McClary, ‘The World According to Taruskin’, Music and Letters, Vol. 87, No. 3 (2006), pp. 408-415; there is also a blog created by grad students Mark Samples and Zach Wallmark dealing with their reading through the whole work here.
A new article which does indeed do these things has been placed on the online Search magazine, by composer and cellist Franklin Cox. It can be read here – http://www.searchnewmusic.org/cox_review.pdf
I would really welcome all comments and thoughts emerging from this article, as part of a wider discussion of music history and historiography.