Our former DePaul roommate Mark Meyer sends along news that one of our favorite professors, Tom Brown, passed away last week. The “scholar and gentleman” epithet doesn’t begin to descibe Dr. Brown, who had the irrepressible enthusiasm of the true nerd and enough endearing quirks for at least a dozen other musicologists. Two facts that probably won’t make it into his obituary: he met and romanced his former wife, so the story goes, while she was still in a convent, the discovery of which gave us a whole new level of respect for the man; and every ten years or so, he’d put aside all other books and spend the year re-reading Proust. He was living proof that the field of music is so rich that one could happily spend an entire life thinking deep, idiosyncratic thoughts about it. (Post title is a direct petulantly indignant quote from Dr. Brown’s “Shakespeare and Music” seminar, when, after talking for weeks about the high D-flat at the end of the mad scene in Verdi’s Macbeth, the soprano on the video he showed the class chickened out and sang an A-flat instead.)
Oh no! Dr. Brown! I will have to listen to Winterreise in his memory today.
I took piano lessons from Dr. Brown for over 10 years and I miss him every day. Just one of my many fond memories: I told him that I went to Victoria's Secret and the only thing I bought was mints. He began cackling and said between gasps of breath “…You don't…go to Victoria's Secret (stressing the word in his Dr. Brown way)…to buy MINTS!”