Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.
The only true immortality lies in one's children.
One should never forget that by actually perfecting one piece one gains and learns more than by starting or half-finishing a dozen.
If there is anyone here whom I have not insulted, I beg his pardon.
Those who enjoy their own emotionally bad health and who habitually fill their own minds with the rank poisons of suspicion, jealousy and hatred, as a rule take umbrage at those who refuse to do likewise, and they find a perverted relief in trying to denigrate them.
The idea comes to me from outside of me - and is like a gift. I then take the idea and make it my own - that is where the skill lies.
Study Bach. There you will find everything.
In my study I can lay my hand on the Bible in the pitch dark. All truly inspired ideas come from God. The powers from which all truly great composers like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven drew their inspirations is the same power that enabled Jesus to do his miracles.
Straight-away the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God, and not only do I see distinct themes in my mind's eye, but they are clothed in the right forms, harmonies, and orchestration.
It is not hard to compose, but what is fabulously hard is to leave the superfluous notes under the table.
We cling nervously to the melody, but we don't handle it freely, we don't really make anything new out of it, we merely overload it.
Reviewer: 'One of your themes was very similar to one of Beethoven's!' Brahms replied, 'Of course it is. Everyone steals - the important thing is to do it brilliantly.
To follow in Beethoven's footsteps transcends one's strength.
Composers in the old days used to keep strictly to the base of the theme, as their real subject. Beethoven varies the melody, harmony and rhythms so beautifully.
A symphony is no joke.
The fact that most people do not understand and respect the very best things, such as Mozart's concertos, is what permits men like us to become famous.
Ah, that tastes nice. Thank you.
If we cannot write with the beauty of Mozart, let us at least try to write with his purity.
How lucky is the man who, like Mozart and others, goes to the tavern of an evening and writes some fresh music. For he lives while he is creating.
My things really are written with an appalling lack of practicality!
It is a real pleasure to see music so bright and spontaneous expressed with corresponding ease and grace.
It is not hard to compose but it is wonderfully hard to let the superfluous notes fall under the table. . . So many melodies fly about, one must be careful not to tread on them.
Straightaway the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God.
In him converge all previous streams of tendency, not as into a pool, stagnant, passive, motionless, but as a noble river that received its tributary waters and bearss them onward in larger and statelier volume.
I sometimes ponder on variation form and it seems to me it ought to be more restrained, purer.
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