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Henry Bunting 1911-1954

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  • Musicology


HENRY BUNTING 1911 - 1954 It is presumptuous for any one person to claim to know another. It is especially so for me to claim to have known, in any total sense of the word, Henry Bunting. For, as I look around this assembly of friends or recall the variety of those who have spoken to me about him during the last few days, I realize how deep, yet how widely-ranging, was his power of friendship. I grew up with him, amid the peaceful, almost cloistered atmosphere of a college town where our families were friends and colleagues; we went on together to school and university where we both eventually returned to share alike the teacher's life and the exciting delights of rural living in New England. Others here have known him as a fellow worker on those scientific frontiers whose boundaries he was doing so much to extend. To the younger ones he was the professor and practitioner, ever-present and ever-willing to share his learning. Still others have known him in his home or in theirs, or in the hurly-burly of town meeting, or sharing the delights that only music can bring. What was it that we all found in him that has brought us here today? At first sight one recalls his many-sidedness, his versatility. Only yesterday I opened a student's folder, as we sat discussing his future, to have fall out a letter of Henry's, describing at length a series of interviews during which Henry and the boy had patiently worked together to try to determine the latter's fitness for medicine. Beside the teacher, but never submerging him, was the scientist-scholar-which not only gave Henry his profession, but also permeated his every attitude toward life. Yet of all people he was no disembodied scientist, barely tolerating the outside world, and always impatient to return to the splendid isolation of his laboratory. A dozen other Henrys come to mind; the puckish host or guest, delighted to take off in some extravagant fantasy or paradox; the voice of common sense and public spirit, rising above the petty cries of private i

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