The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought.
Composers should write tunes that chauffeurs and errand boys can whistle.
They are quite hopeless - drooling, driveling, doleful, depressing, dropsical drips.
"Have you heard any Stockhausen?" Beecham was asked. "No, but I believe I have stepped in some."
The trouble with women in an orchestra is that if they're attractive it will upset my players and if they're not it will upset me.
Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands and all you can do is scratch it.
If an opera cannot be played by an organ grinder, it's not going to achieve immortality.
A soprano in Massenet's Don Quixote complained that she had missed her entry in the aria, "because Mr. Challiapin always dies too soon." "Madam, you must be profoundly in error," said Sir Thomas, "No operatic star has yet died half soon enough for me."
The sound of a harpsichord - two skeletons copulating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm.
I find brass bands have a melancholy sound. All right out of doors, of course - fifty miles away. Like bagpipes, they turn what had been a dream into a public nuisance.
Her singing reminds me of a cart coming downhill with the brake on.
It is quite untrue that British people don't appreciate music. They may not understand it but they absolutely love the noise it makes.
Beethoven's last quartets were written by a deaf man and should only be listened to by a deaf man.
If I were a dictator I should make it compulsory for every member of the population between the ages of four and eighty to listen to Mozart for at least a quarter of an hour daily for the coming five years.
We cannot expect you to be with us all the time, but perhaps you could be good enough to keep in touch now and again.
Music first and last should sound well, should allure and enchant the ear. Never mind the inner significance.
There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between.
At a rehearsal I let the orchestra play as they like. At the concert I make them play as I like.
There are no woman composers, never have been and possibly never will be.
The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes.
All the arts in America are a gigantic racket run by unscrupulous men for unhealthy women.
Elgar's first symphony is the musical equivalent of St Pancras Railway Station.
Composers and musicians have always starved and, as this is a sentimental country, we think the tradition should be continued.
The sound of the harpsichord resembles that of a bird-cage played with toasting-forks.
The bagpipes sound exactly the same when you have finished as when you started
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