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Eroticism in Music

I received The Journal in the mail in April and wanted to take the time to thank you for the paper. I always make time to sit down and read through the Journal; it brings me so many memories of studying double bass for my master’s degree at Juilliard with my great teacher and mentor, Homer Mensch.

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I was, however, disappointed to read the article by Jeannette Fang in Voice Box, “Classical Sex,” and to see the picture of Lara St. John’s album cover. I am saddened that The Juilliard Journal felt like it had to stoop so low as to print such writing, especially in connection with J.S. Bach’s music. Terms such as “she plays with balls” and “post-coital sweetness” have no place in such a connection. To answer the writer’s question, “Isn’t it time we let go of our fear of expression?”: Isn’t it time we get back to what made Bach so great and away from what makes our society so profane? When Fang gets to be almost 60, as I am, she will be ashamed of what she has written and will say, “Eroticism has no place in serious music.”

When you go to the birth-house of Mozart in Salzburg, you just have the feeling that the master is not there any longer. His presence is somehow missing from all the museum instruments and paraphernalia. When you see the albums being put out by the young artists of today, you realize that the presence of the master is far removed and that his spirit and intentions have been almost totally eclipsed.

The Juilliard School will always have my highest regards and respect.

A. Patrick Vaughan (’74, double bass)
Pastor, East 44th Street Baptist Church
Jacksonville, Fla.

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