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Great composer quotes. Let's discuss!


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Here is a link of 22 great quotations from composers:

http://www.classicfm.com/discover/music/inspiring-composer-quotes/

Let's discuss some of these at least. I think many hold great truths about composition. But some are debatable and we might not agree with what is said. In particular:

1. What do you think about the Benjamin Britten quote (No. 18 in the series of slides)? I don't agree with it. Inspiration often keeps me up at night and I don't think that that is mere loss of sleep. Who said that had I slept and put away my inspired state of mind, I would have been able to continue it in the morning. Besides, there is the silence at night which would be conductive to composition. So to me at least, night is often conductive to composing.

2. I don't agree with Elgar's quote (No. 7). I think that art elevates man and brings man closer to God. At least, I believe that this would be true of the greatest artistic works, the greatest compositions. Had he said "Some religions are against art", that would have been true. What are your opinions?

Feel free to voice your opinions about any of the other 20 inspiring composer quotes in the link, or to discuss them in general. You might even add to the 22 quotations in the link other great composer quotes that haven't been included and give your opinion about them.

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And nothing from Stravinsky, who said, "Music is incapable of expressing anything."

-Poetics of Music

And Hans Zimmer, who said, "Where did I put that last million dollars?"

Britten likes his sleep and I do too.

Edited by Ken320
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My humble and succint opinions about the quotes:

1) Agreed, although I don't really think the word "rule" is the most appropriate here. I believe "reference" is closer to the intention.

2) Witty. Agreed.

3) AGREED!!!!! PLEASE!!!! *said the one that is competing right now*

4) A bit "schoppenhaueran" and overdrammatic.

5) Personal experience, not much to say.

6) Yes. YES! This quote must be properly analyzed not to be misunderstood.

7) Not agreed. But I do believe there must be a strong reason for him to say this, and I don't know this reason, so my disagreement is merely a quick opinion.

8) Yes.

9) Personal experience again.

10) Agreed at some extent. I do believe that these bad things help us to create (not only composers, but artists). I don't think they are mandatory, though.

11) I believe that what he actually said is a bit different, but ok. I have some reservations a out this statement, but I do agree with it somehow.

12) A bit unnecessary, but ok. I don't agree not disagree.

13) OK, I do agree, but  I don't think it has anything to do with religion.

14) Yeah.... ok, sometimes.

15) Witty. Personal opinions again.

16) YEEEEEES!!!!! PUH-LEEEEEEASE!!!! CAGE RULES!!!!

17) Personal thoughts.

18) Can't agree more!

19) Hm... I don't think ALL of the great achievements.

20) No.

21) No. God, no. (also, he's obviously lying)

22) Yes!

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Some of these quotes are fine, some of the are a bit bizzare. But let's face it: none of any great composer is completely normal. :grin:

I used to stay awake and compose throughout the nights when I was younger. In recent years, I too prefer to sleep at night. :grin:

I can identify myself with Shostakovich a lot.

 

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7 hours ago, ChristianPerrotta said:

My humble and succint opinions about the quotes:

21) No. God, no. (also, he's obviously lying)

 

7 hours ago, Sojar Voglar said:

I actually believe Ravel. He was never in relationship either with woman or a man, as far as I know his life story.

 

This article might throw some light on the above discussion:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/ravel-s-romantic-inspiration-hidden-in-his-compositions-music-professor-1.841330

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1. Absolutely; so many things change over time for things to be so settled. 2nd Viennese School is a great example.
2. Can't agree more, really.
3. Mm... not sure. I think there's merit for objectivism in subjectivity. Maybe the post-modernists took that away from us a little.
4. Mournful? This is a play on the whole, art comes from pain, theory which extremely limiting.
5. Witty, and does capture the essence of art a little bit.
6. Yes, this could be greatly misinterpreted.
7. I don't agree with this at all. God gave us far too many things for us not to have inspiration for art.
8. Art comes from somewhere. Not sure how much I agree.
9. Strange way of looking at it, but I guess it makes sense...
10. Another "art comes from pain" claim, so I'm not sure of the legitimacy of that.
11. Not in this day and age.
12. Interesting coming from him, a lot of his stuff is pretty unassuming.
13. I try to do this a lot with my music, so I hope it's true.
14. I agree with this, but see the flaws... if creation is part of one's nature it makes sense otherwise too.
15. I'm not really sure what this means, if I'm being honest.
16. I see where he's coming from, but wholly losing those processes is dangerous.
17. Looking at his workbase, I believe it.
18. Mm... maybe it's because I'm young, but I love that feeling of working on something inspired for a long time.
19. I see where he's coming from, but I don't think he met the serialists.
20. Art in general fits that bill, not sure music is the only thing. It's also not as direct as literature.
21. He's such a romantic writer, despite the impressionistic backing. I can believe it.
22. If it's socially determined then sure, otherwise fantasy has its place outside reality in most cases.

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Bernstein's quote is one of my favorites.  I always have too little time, but unfortunately rarely have a plan.

I find quotes by composers about other composers quite interesting.

For example, Berlioz was a very polarizing composer, often engendering conflicting opinions, which I completely understand since i often feel the same way about his music as a whole.  For me 90% of it is unlistenable, but the remaining 10% is some of the finest music ever written.

"A musician of great genius, but little talent." - Ravel

"There is much in his music that is insufferable, but also a great deal that is extremely intelligent, and even full of genius." - Schumann

"His orchestration is so dirty that I have to wash my hands after turning over the pages of his scores." - Mendelssohn

"Berlioz is so in love with Romantic color that he sometimes forgets about the music." - Debussy

 

 

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46 minutes ago, bkho said:

Bernstein's quote is one of my favorites.  I always have too little time, but unfortunately rarely have a plan.

I find quotes by composers about other composers quite interesting.

For example, Berlioz was a very polarizing composer, often engendering conflicting opinions, which I completely understand since i often feel the same way about his music as a whole.  For me 90% of it is unlistenable, but the remaining 10% is some of the finest music ever written.

"A musician of great genius, but little talent." - Ravel

"There is much in his music that is insufferable, but also a great deal that is extremely intelligent, and even full of genius." - Schumann

"His orchestration is so dirty that I have to wash my hands after turning over the pages of his scores." - Mendelssohn

"Berlioz is so in love with Romantic color that he sometimes forgets about the music." - Debussy

 

Then you might appreciate this quote from Bernstein. It's not well known, so maybe it's just a remark. But it requires a little back story first.

1979, in New York. A good friend of Mr. Bernstein saw him walking down Broadway one evening alone. As he approached him to say hello he noticed an uncharacteristically grumpy aspect to the Maestro that caused his friend to remark about it. He said to him, Why the long face, Lenny? Bernstein said gravely, I've just seen Sweeney Todd.

This is paraphrased from Merle Secrest's biography of Stephen Sondheim, so I don't doubt it's truth. I love this exchange, noting that the musical giants of our time can be bested just like that. It is interesting how composers feel about one another. Sort of envy and disdain all mashed together.

 

 

 

 

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Stravinsky's quote is dangerous but fun to whip out every now and then.

As for Britten, must tentatively disagree. I get a lot done in the dead of night that otherwise would never happen. The silence and sleepiness is actually kind of helpful.

Liszt is being a little dramatic there I think. Similar feelings about Elgar, Bizet, Puccini, Schumann and Arnold.

Bach's quote is pretty solid to me because I accept the idea that industriousness is a virtue that will generally lead to success. On the other hand I don't think it's such a sure thing. Then again I'll probably never be that industrious anyway so I won't know for sure.

Oh and I do agree with Shostakovich to some extent, because dissatisfaction with what I've done before is part of what drives me to compose again. Always trying to address that one thing that didn't come out right last time.

I didn't really intend to comment on more than a couple of these quotes but I can't seem to stop myself from continuing. Strauss's quote about being a first class second rate composer is relatable. At least, it's relatable to have a weird sense of pride in what you're capable of despite admitting that it's not much.

I have warm feelings about Ravel's quote because I love the idea of being married to one's ideals or career. There's something tragically romantic in it. Like being consecrated to God or music is a kind of beautiful curse. HENNYWAYS

Tchaikovsky is kinda vicious and insecure so I guess we're alike. Only I'm not as good a composer and I try to be nice so people won't rip into me.


EDIT: http://www.classicfm.com/discover/music/more-inspiring-composer-quotes/prokofiev-quotes/

Edited by KJthesleepdeprived
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  • 2 weeks later...

"Competition is for horses, not artists"

I agree with this. I have competed so much during my life. I am so tired of it.

"A creative artist works on his next composition, because he was not satisfied with his previous one"

It seems like a rather perfectionistic quote. But maybe I misunderstand it.

I don´t believe in insane perfectionism.

A work of art does´nt have to be perfect to be great. It just have to be great. :-P

Love is perfection.

"I can´t understand, why people are afraid of new ideas. I am afraid of the old ones"

Good one.

Quote 18 is definetely not always true. Some of my compostions or should I say dream 

compostions are simply music from dreams, slightly modified,

that I wrote down straight after I woke up in the middle of the night. 
 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Claude Debussy: "Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art."

_God bless you Debussy!

 

Edward Elgar: "I always said God was against art and I still believe it."

 

What the....no comment

 

Johannes Brahms: "Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind"
PREACH!!!!!!!!!

 

 

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