Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Quotes about Composers

These quotes are sourced from the top of each page in Wendy Thompson's The Great Composers.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
The art of music above all other arts is the expression of the soul of a nation.

Felix Mendelssohn, speaking about Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
I have not seen any musician in whom musical feeling ran, as in Liszt, into the very tips of the fingers and there streamed out immediately.

Pablo Casals (1876-1973) on Felix Mendelssohn
A romantic who felt at ease within the mould of classicism.

Robert Schumann (1810-1856) on Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840)
Paganini is the turning-point in the history of virtousity.

Guiseppe Verdi (1813-1901) on Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)
Long, long melodies such as no one has ever written before.

Franz Von Schober (1798-1882) on Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
If you go to see him during the day, he says "Hello, how are you? -- Good!" and goes on working, whereupon you go away.

Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904) on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Mozart is sunshine.

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
The expression of thought, of sentiment, of the passions, must be the true aim of music.

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
Scarlatti frequnetly told M. L'Augier that he was sensible he had broke through all the rules of composition.
(from Charles Burney's General History of Music

Mozart on George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Handel understands effect better than any of us -- when he chooses, he strikes like a thunderbolt.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
I should place an organist who is master of his instrument at the very head of all virtuosi.

Franz Schubert on Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Johann Sebastian Bach has done everything completely; he was a man through and through.

Martin Luther (1483-1546)on Josquin des Prez (c.1440-1521)
Josquin is master of the notes; others are mastered by them.

Anonymous (from the preface to Parthenia)1613 tribute to William Byrd (c.1543-1623)
How daintily this Byrd his notes doth vary, As if he were the Nightingale's own brother.

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Dissonances are only the more remote consonances.

Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) on Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
If wind and water could write music, it would sound like Ben's.

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963)
Tonality is a natural force, like gravity.

Ernest Newman (1868-1959), reviewing Facade by William Walton (1902-1983)
As a musical joker he is a jewel of the first water.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
I abhor imitation and I abhor the familiar.

Prokofiev on Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Bach on the wrong notes.

Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
As to what happens when I compose music, I really haven't the faintest idea.

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) on George Gershwin (1898-1937)
I don't think there has been such an inspired melodist on this earth since Tchaikovsky ... but if you want to speak of a composer, that's another matter.

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Music that is born complex is not inherently better or worse than music that is born simple.

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