Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands and all you can do is scratch it.
The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought.
The sound of a harpsichord - two skeletons copulating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm.
"Have you heard any Stockhausen?" Beecham was asked. "No, but I believe I have stepped in some."
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.
It is quite untrue that British people don't appreciate music. They may not understand it but they absolutely love the noise it makes.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Composers should write tunes that chauffeurs and errand boys can whistle.
Composers and musicians have always starved and, as this is a sentimental country, we think the tradition should be continued.
Her singing reminds me of a cart coming downhill with the brake on.
They are quite hopeless - drooling, driveling, doleful, depressing, dropsical drips.
Music first and last should sound well, should allure and enchant the ear. Never mind the inner significance.
Beethoven's last quartets were written by a deaf man and should only be listened to by a deaf man.
The English may not like music, but they absolutely love the noise it makes.
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.
At a rehearsal I let the orchestra play as they like. At the concert I make them play as I like.
Brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away.
If an opera cannot be played by an organ grinder, it's not going to achieve immortality.
There are no woman composers, never have been and possibly never will be.
I prefer Offenbach to Bach often.
The sound of the harpsichord resembles that of a bird-cage played with toasting-forks.
Elgar's first symphony is the musical equivalent of St Pancras Railway Station.
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