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Saturday morning quote #32: Summation

December 31, 2011

The end of the year is a time for reflection, which unfailingly leads to that inevitable, irrepressible and irritating tendency of academics to lavish upon the world a diatribe of smug summation, and for a close, the tiresome making of points.

For us, 2011 has been an interesting year.  We have enjoyed the (at least) weekly process of writing this blog and sharing some of the results of our research and articulating our own ideas; quoting from many sources – both historical and current – that have influenced our approach to performing old music.   But research is a means to an end, as we hope to illuminate in the following historical quote:

After reading, or at least consulting, an almost innumerable quantity of old and scarce books, of which the dulness and pedentry were almost petrific, and among which, where I hoped to find the most information, I found but little, and where I expected little, I was seldom disappointed: at length, wearied and disgusted at the small success of my researches, I shut my books, and began to examine myself as to my musical principals; hoping that the good I had met with in the course of my reading was by this time digested, and incorporated in my own ideas; and the many years I had spent in practice, theory, and meditation, might entitle me to some freedom of thought, unshackled by the trammels of authority.

Charles Burney, from the preface of his General History of Music (1776)

We leave you with that thought, and wish all of our readers a happy close to the year 2011 with an enlightened and hopeful outlook for 2012.

Ron & Donna

  1. Ned permalink

    A wonderful quote and one to think about as we try to make music. -Ned

  2. Thanks, Ned, and a very happy New Year to you.

    R & D

  3. Dan permalink

    So appropriate for those of us in the old Early Music Biz. If Burney were alive today, I’m sure he would have also included some choice words about time wasted on the internet.

    Quite an interesting year in these parts, as well. An exception to the above has been your delightful blog; Always look forward to read and partake, even if I don’t always comment.

    By the way, Ron, a CD of Carl Kress, Dick McDonough, and Eddie Lang (all on one disc!) finally crossed my desk at Amoeba Music- but was eagerly snatched up by one of my pesky customers before I could hear it.

    Happy New Year anyway!


    • Thanks for your comment, Dan. We’re pleased to know you’re enjoying our blog postings, which have become something of a happy responsibility, and we plan to continue the Saturday quotes. Happy New Year to you too.

      Ron & Donna

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