He Said, She Said

Friday, July 09, 2010 - 09:41 AM

This week we celebrated the 150 anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s birth. Throughout the week, I heard several commentators and hosts quoting Mahler. One quote that kept coming up was “My time will come.”

I came across another quote by Mahler that is one of my favorites: “Humanly I make every concession, artistically none.” Do you have any favorite quotes about music or by musicians?

And, while Mahler’s autocratic approach to composing and score interpretation may have suited the 19th century spirit, do you think that that approach can work for conductors, orchestras and composers in the 21st century?

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Comments [7]

Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

In the case of GUSTAV MAHLER, it is easier for another composer to recognize and comprehend the "architectural" elements of a composition, than it would be for the average music lover. MAHLER's music is, I repeat, for a composer easily identified, and his signature in terms of mood or emotion, if you will concede, is a matter of personal "chemistry."

Jul. 13 2010 11:08 AM
Barry from Millburn, NJ

Mahler reportedly said, "What is best in music is not to be found in the notes." Nonetheless, he wrote a ton of `em.

And not many people know that Mahler composed Cornell's fight song:

"Far above Cayuga's waters
and its waves of blue,
Stands our noble Alma Mahler,
glorious to view.
Alma Mahler, Alma Mahler
loud her praises tell . . . "

Jul. 13 2010 08:11 AM
Michael Meltzer

Gustav Mahler: "If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not bother trying to say it in music."
Robert Schumann: "In order to compose, all you need to do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of."
Erik Satie: "The musician is perhaps the most modest of animals, but he is also the proudest. It is he who invented the sublime art of ruining poetry."
Bela Bartok: "Competitions are for horse, not artist."
Tony Bennett: "Rock & Roll consists of three chords, two of which are wrong."

Jul. 13 2010 12:57 AM
Michael Meltzer

Playwright George Bernard Shaw, who enjoyed a second career as a music critic under the pen name "Corno di Bassetti:"
"The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time."

Jul. 12 2010 02:23 PM
Rex from the Manhattan Game Preserve

In answer to a question by Robert Craft, Igor Stravinsky once said he composed his music for "children and small animals."

In answering the same question in another way, he said he composed for "himself and the hypothetical other."

Of course, one wonders if the "other" was always likely to be a child or small animal ...

Jul. 11 2010 05:28 AM
Gev Sweeney from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Berlioz on composing drama: "Fiery things must be written coolly."

Jul. 10 2010 08:38 PM
Michael Meltzer

BERLIOZ: "Time is a great teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its pupils."

Jul. 09 2010 10:16 AM

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