I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer.
The human voice is the most beautiful instrument of all, but the most difficult to play.
Ideas, like young wine, should be put in storage and taken up again only after they have been allowed to ferment and to ripen.
I want to be able to depict in music a glass of beer so accurately that every listener can tell whether it is a Pilsner or a Kulmbacher.
I shall never be converted, and I shall remain true to my old religion of the classics until my life's end.
Never look at the trombones, you'll just encourage them.
On conducting: If you can just barely hear the French horns on stage, the balance is perfect.
Its a funny thing Alice, dying is just the way I composed it in Tod und Verklärung.
The most perfect melodic shapes are found in Mozart; he has the lightness of touch which is the true objective ... Listen to the remarkable expansion of a Mozart melody, to Cherubino's 'Voi che sapete', for instance. You think it is coming to an end, but it goes farther, even farther.
Must one become seventy years old to recognize that one's greatest strength lies in creating musical kitsch?
If you think that the brass is not blowing loud enough, mute it by a couple of degrees.
don't perspire while conducting - only the audience should get warm.
The aria, after all, is the soul of opera.
He'd be better off shoveling snow.
Never look at the brass - it only encourages them.
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