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.
"Have you heard any Stockhausen?" Beecham was asked. "No, but I believe I have stepped in some."
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.
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.
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.
Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands and all you can do is scratch it.
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."
Composers and musicians have always starved and, as this is a sentimental country, we think the tradition should be continued.
There are no woman composers, never have been and possibly never will be.
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.
Beethoven's last quartets were written by a deaf man and should only be listened to by a deaf man.
At a rehearsal I let the orchestra play as they like. At the concert I make them play as I like.
The sound of the harpsichord resembles that of a bird-cage played with toasting-forks.
The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes.
I prefer Offenbach to Bach often.
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.
Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory.
A musicologist is a man who can read music but cannot hear it.
The sound of a harpsichord - two skeletons copulating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm.
The grand tune is the only thing in music that the great public really understands.
Elgar's first symphony is the musical equivalent of St Pancras Railway Station.
When asked whether he minded if someone smoked in a non-smoking compartment. Certainly not if you don't object if I'm sick.
Magical music never leaves the memory.
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