That work grew and grew and grew, as Richard reveled in the opportunity to say his “two cents’ worth about everything.” Finally published in six volumes by Oxford University Press in 2005 as “The Oxford History of Western Music,” it is an endlessly informative, often opinionated page-turner — all 4,272 pages of it.
Well, no, perhaps not all. The sixth volume of “The Ox,” as the tomes have come to be known, consists of a chronology, a bibliography and a 146-page small-type index. Sheer tedium to deal with, but in his mania to get things right, Richard insisted on compiling it himself.
So clearly, “The Ox” would not be the svelte textbook Richard may have envisioned — though he went on to compress it, in collaboration with the music historian Christopher H. Gibbs, to produce a “college edition,” at a mere 1,212 pages.
After his time with Lang, Richard fell under the wing of Joseph Kerman, “the second-most- famous musicologist of those days,” as he called him, who was overseeing the start-up of a new journal, 19th-Century Music, which became what Richard called his “scholarly home” for a time. In 1987, he joined Kerman as a fellow professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he remained (emeritus since 2014) until his death.
In addition to academic pursuits, Richard began to write more popularly for the short-lived Opus, The New Republic and The Times, developing a reputation as America’s public musicologist, a role he gloried in. On receiving the Kyoto Prize in Japan in 2017 for his contributions to the arts and philosophy, he said of his Times work, “I found it congenial to write about music in relation to what are always the primary concerns of any newspaper, that is, social and political issues.” He also loved having “access to the largest audience a writer on classical music in America could ever dream of having.”