a compilation of some of my favourite composer quotes:

“Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end.”  - Igor Stravinsky

“I am sure my music has a taste of codfish in it.” - Edvard Grieg 

“Never look at the trombones. It only encourages them.” - Richard Strauss

“He’d be better off shovelling snow than scribbling on manuscript paper.” - Richard Strauss on Schoenberg

“I liked your opera. I think I will set it to music.” - Ludvig van Beethoven

“I have written a chorale both sober and suitable. In it I have put everything I know about boredom. I dedicate this to those who do not like me.” - Erik Satie

“ Mr. Wagner has beautiful moments but bad quarters of an hour.” - Gioacchino Rossini

“What a good thing this isn’t music.” - Gioacchino Rossini on Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique 

“Oh how wonderful, really wonderful opera would be if there were no singers!” - Gioacchino Rossini

“In opera there is always too much singing.” - Claude Debussy

“Bring me coffee before I turn into a goat!” - Johann Sebastian Bach

“Listening to the 5th Symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for 45 minutes.” - Aaron Copland 

“The audience expected something big, something colossal, but they were served instead with some agitated water in a saucer.” - Louis Schnieder on Debussy’s La Mer

“He gives me the impression of being a spoilt child.” - Clara Schumann on Liszt 

“What a giftless bastard!” - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky on Brahms

“Handel is only fourth rate. He is not even interesting.” - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

“Bach on the wrong notes” -  Sergei Prokofiev on Stravinsky 

And, saving the best for last…

“Lick my ass up and down” -Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 

Feel free to add more! (Also please don’t think that I agree with all of these, I am a huge fan of Symphonie Fantastique and La Mer!!)

The Best Solos
  • Piccolo: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4, Mvmt. 3
  • Flute: Saint-Saens: The Carnival of the Animals, Aviary
  • Oboe: Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite, Serenata
  • English Horn: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8, Mvmt. 1
  • E-Flat Clarinet: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7, Mvmt. 2
  • B-Flat Clarinet: Offenbach: Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld
  • Bass Clarinet: Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring
  • Bassoon: Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherezade, Mvmt. 2
  • Contrabassoon: Dukas: The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  • French Horn: R. Strauss: Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche
  • Trumpet: Mahler: Symphony No. 5, Mvmt. 1
  • Trombone: R. Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra
  • Tuba: Gershwin: An American in Paris
  • Percussion: Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis, Mvmt. 2
  • Violin: Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5, Mvmt. 2
  • Viola: Brahms: Symphony No. 4, Mvmt. 2
  • Cello: Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, Mvmt. 2
  • Double Bass: Saint-Saens: The Carnival of the Animals, L'Elephant

Renee Fleming - Strauss’ 4 Last Songs - September


And tomorrow the sun will shine again
and on the way that I will go,
she will again unite us, the happy ones
amidst this sun-breathing earth,
and to the beach, wide, wave-blue
will we still and slowly descend
silently we will look in each other’s eyes
and upon us will sink the mute silence of happiness

The Signs As Classical Masterpieces

Aries: Ride Of The Valkyries, Richard Wagner, 1856

Taurus: Bolero, Maurice Ravel, 1928

Gemini: Symphony No. 5, Ludwig van Beethoven, 1808

Cancer: Blue Danube, Strauss, 1866

Leo: Also sprach Zarathustra, Richard Strauss, 1896

Virgo: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik: Allegro, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1787

Libra: Canon in D Major, Johann Pachelbel, 1680

Scorpio: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Johann Sebastian Bach, 1707

Sagittarius: William Tell Overture, Rossini, 1829

Capricorn: 1812 Overture, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1880

Aquarius: Carmen Suite No.1: 5. Les toreadors, Bizet, 1845

Pisces: Moonlight Sonata, Ludwig van Beethoven, 1801

Die Semperoper in Dresden, Sachsen, Eastern Germany is the opera house of the Sächsische Staatsoper (Saxon State Opera), the concert hall of the Staatskapelle (Saxon State Orchestra), and it’s home to the Semperoper ballet. The building is located near the Elbe River in Dresden’s historic center. It was built in 1841 and rebuilt after a fire in 1869. It has a long history of premieres, including major works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. Read more.


Richard Strauss - Dance of the Seven Veils from the opera Salomé (1905) 


There’s been a lot of opera in “Famous Finales” week here at Musica in Extenso, and I’m going to continue adding to the pile. This beautiful final trio & duet at the end of Richard StraussDer Rosenkavalier is one of my favorite operatic pieces and such a sumptuous way to end this story of love and the heartbreak of letting someone go. The fact that Octavian is a pants role is what makes this work so gloriously well, with these three soaring voices filling the air with joyful agony.  I’m pretty picky about my trio here, and this is one of my favorites, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Agnes Baltsa, and Janet Perry from the 1984 Salzburg Festival. 

It’s been a wonderful season on the blog, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed it!  - Melinda Beasi