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.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pachelbel Rant

Rob Paravonian's amusing whinge about the Pachelbel Canon [and especially about the boring 8 note repetitive cello part] is great fun. However, if you are one of those people who don't swallow everything they're told, if you check out some of the songs he claims are really just Pachelbel Redivivus, you'll find it isn't quite true: Let It Be is a case in point. The chords begin like the canon, but McCartney's 4th chord is not Pachelbel's.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Boning Up on Bach

I've spent the past month investigating J S Bach, having been selected to appear on the Australian television program, The Einstein Factor with The Music of J S Bach as my topic.

When Rachmaninov said that
Music is enough for a lifetime
But a lifetime is not enough for Music
he could have been speaking about the music of Bach. What a massive topic!

There are some excellent resources on the internet, including the Wikipedia article, The J S Bach Home Page, helpful biographical and other information at the Baroque Composers and Musicians Homepage, Tim Smith's wonderful Shockwave animations of the fugues from The Well-Tempered Clavier and the superb Bach Cantatas Website.

I'm enjoying investigating this fascinating topic, but I wish I knew what kind of questions will be asked! I promise not to give out any information about the program, to be recorded on Bach's birthday, until after the broadcast.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Band That Money Couldn't Buy

I've always loved these crazy and often appropriately silly names for musicians.

It will help if you read them out loud, and with some, re-read them.

Here are some of my favourites:

Band manager: Robin Gitt

Singers: Barbie Hynde, Mimi Mee

Trombone: Hugh Jarms

Cor anglais: Diane Duck

Tenor Trombone: Oliver Guinnness

Classical Guitar: Segovia Carpet

Guitar: Ron Chords

Bass guitar: Ian Gee

Drums: Owen Transport