One yearns unspeakably for a composer who gives out his pair of honest themes, and then develops them unashamed, and then hangs a brisk coda to them, and then shuts up.
As he conducted, one was never conscious of technique as an end it itself. Rather, the impression one gained was of being admitted into the creative mind of the composer. And not only did one feel that it was the composer, rather than the conductor, that one was hearing, but one felt one was hearing […]
Wagner is a composer who has beautiful moments but awful quarter hours.
A good composer does not imitate; he steals.
I remember being handed a score composed by Mozart at the age of eleven. What could I say? I felt like de Kooning, who was asked to comment on a certain abstract painting, and answered in the negative. He was then told it was the work of a celebrated monkey. ‘That’s different. For a monkey, […]
There is no doubt that the first requirement for a composer is to be dead.
Wagner, thank the fates, is no hypocrite. He says out what he means, and he usually means something nasty.
It has been said that if the opening phrase of a classical minuet can be fitted to the words “Are you the O’Reilly who owns this hotel?” then it was composed by Haydn; if they can’t then it wasn’t.
Of course there are splendid things in Wagner. But he would go on so. He needed a good sub-editor.
I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.