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Customer Discussions > Classical Music forum

Music quotes

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Showing 1-25 of 1000 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 18, 2010 7:09:16 PM PDT
KenOC says:
I keep seeing clever quotes from the many erudite members of this board on music and musicians. How about a thread dedicated to these quotes? I am pleased (indeed, honored!) to kick it off.

GB Shaw on Brahms German Requiem: "I do not deny that the Requiem is a solid piece of musical manufacture. You feel at once that it could only have come from the establishment of a first-class undertaker."

Posted on Jun 18, 2010 7:50:52 PM PDT
David M. says:
Max Reger, responding to a hostile critic: "I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me."

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2010 8:09:05 PM PDT
KenOC says:
David, that's great! Whenever I read something like that, I always start to think, how can I get in a situation where I can say that (nobody will know I'm cribbing...) But opportunities seem vanishingly few, alas.

Posted on Jun 18, 2010 8:53:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 20, 2010 5:20:44 AM PDT
Slumdog says:
"Beethoven I take twice a week, Haydn four times, and Mozart every day!"
Gioacchino Rossini

Posted on Jun 19, 2010 7:38:26 PM PDT
KenOC says:
GBS again, on Charles Villiers Stanford (a contemporary):

"His dullness is all the harder to bear because it is the restless, ingenious, trifling, flippant dullness of the Irishman, instead of the stupid, bovine, sleepable-through dullness of the Englishman, or even the aggressive, ambitious, sentimental dullness of the Scot."

Posted on Jun 19, 2010 7:53:14 PM PDT
In addition to his musical gifts, Rossini was both a noted wit and gourmet chef. He also was no fan of Richard Wagner (whose music he said gave him colic). Rossini was hosting a dinner party, and a friend of his brought another friend who was a known admirer of Wagner's music. When serving up dinner, Rossini put a plate of gelatinous gravy in front of the Wagner-lover -- no meat, no fish, just gravy. When the man expressed surprise and confusion, Rossini said,

"I thought it the perfect dish for someone who loves harmony with no melody."

Posted on Jun 19, 2010 7:55:19 PM PDT
Sir John Barbirolli, expressing his opinion on a far-out avant-garde piece he had just heard:

"Two farts and a raspberry, orchestrated."

Posted on Jun 19, 2010 8:13:16 PM PDT
David M. says:
Woody Allen: "Every time I listen to Wagner, I get the urge to invade Poland."

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2010 8:16:59 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Radames, Rossini was also supposed to have said, "If I had been born German, I would have been someone."

Posted on Jun 19, 2010 8:22:45 PM PDT
Local conductor Adam Stern, when asked his opinion on Strauss' "Four Last Songs":

"I wish they had been a much earlier piece."

Posted on Jun 19, 2010 8:28:04 PM PDT
Two British conductors evoking the birthing process as an interpretive analogy:

Sir Thomas Beecham, rehearsing "For Unto Us a Child is Born" from "Messiah" with a particularly scraggly soprano section:

"Ladies, please try to think more about the joys of conception than the agonies of childbirth."


Sir John Barbirolli, rehearsing the female chorus in Vaughan Williams' "Sinfonia Antartica":

"I want you to sound like forty women giving birth without chloroform."

Posted on Jun 19, 2010 8:33:23 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 12, 2010 2:41:28 PM PDT]

Posted on Jun 19, 2010 8:56:21 PM PDT
DMP says:
Beecham was a treasure trove of bon mots--but none so true as "The sound of a harpsichord: two skeletons copulating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm."

Posted on Jun 19, 2010 9:05:14 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Nietzsche: "Without music, life would be a mistake."

Posted on Jun 19, 2010 9:28:43 PM PDT
American conductor James DePreist:

"A disaster is usually nothing more than a bad idea that has gotten funding."

Posted on Jun 20, 2010 3:58:40 AM PDT
"Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
- Mark Twain

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2010 4:01:17 AM PDT
Check out this book:
DICTIONARY OF MUSICAL QUO (Wordsworth Collection)

Posted on Jun 20, 2010 9:18:34 AM PDT
Longtime Los Angeles Times music critic Martin Bernheimer would sometimes go to great lengths to indulge in a wonderful/terrible pun. When reviewing the touring company of John Adams' then-recent "Nixon in China", he noted in the program that, while most of the cast would be staying on with the tour, the bass-baritone portraying our former Secretary of State would be leaving the production, and his replacement had not yet been determined. Bernheimer mused, "I wonder who's Kissinger now?"

Posted on Jun 20, 2010 9:56:56 AM PDT
"I like Bach often, but not Offenbach." -- Don Swearingen

Posted on Jun 20, 2010 10:00:14 AM PDT
(Perhaps my favorite quote of all time regarding composition in the 20th century, and on creating art in general.)

"A composer isn't original because he tries to be, but because he can't help it."
-- Ralph Vaughan Williams

Posted on Jun 20, 2010 10:10:30 AM PDT
Edgar Self says:
"Karajan is a sort of musical Malcolm Sargent." -- Thos. Beecham, Bart.

Posted on Jun 20, 2010 10:14:25 AM PDT
Stravinsky, asked what he thought of Copland:

"Ugh -- Copland is the Puccini of music."

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2010 10:25:07 AM PDT

I have played under Adma Stern's baton before--just one day, but it was very enjoyable and he does have a way with words.

Last year, while rehearsing Mahler 6, a massive undertaking, especially for amateurs, the conductor Darko Butorac of the Missoula Symphony directed us to start at the beginning of the 1st movement as he called it "The Flintstones Theme". Everyone cracked up.

Posted on Jun 20, 2010 10:30:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 20, 2010 5:21:09 PM PDT
KenOC says:
From a 1799 review of a Beethoven recital:

"Mr. B. might be able to improvise, but he can't write variations very well."

Posted on Jun 20, 2010 10:46:02 AM PDT
"There are three levels of intelligence: 'stupido', 'stupidissimo', and 'tenore'."

-- Arturo Toscanini
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  62
Total posts:  1071
Initial post:  Jun 18, 2010
Latest post:  Jun 16, 2015

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