Famous Quotes

February 26, 2005 at 05:52 AM · Just list all the famous quotes or short stories, you know from famous violinists, conductors, and composers from the past and present.

I'll start off.

"There is no top. There are always further heights to reach. "

Jascha Heifetz

Replies (97)

February 25, 2005 at 10:41 PM · I have another good one by Jascha Heifetz, which I think I can, and other violinsts can relate to ...

"Criticism does not disturb me, for I am my own severest critic. Always in my playing I strive to surpass myself, and it is this constant struggle that makes music fascinating to me."

February 26, 2005 at 06:23 AM · Jascha Heifetz also said in one of his masterclasses while discussing the routine of practicing.

"If I go one day without practicing I can tell, If I go two days without practicing the public can tell"

February 26, 2005 at 07:19 AM · Isaac Stern was once confronted by a middle age lady after a concert. She gushed "Oh, I'd give my life to play like you!"

"Lady", said Stern acidly, "That I did!"

February 26, 2005 at 07:27 AM · Rachel, The way I heard that story is, "If I don't practice for one day, I can tell. If I don't practice for two days, the critics can tell. If I don't practice for three days, the public can tell."

February 26, 2005 at 07:45 AM · If he'd said it with two and three reversed then he really would have been a genius :)

February 26, 2005 at 07:30 AM · I have no idea whether this is true, but it's a good story. Rubinstein didn't think too highly of his own Piano Concerto #2. When someone gushed at him, "Whatever inspired you to write that beautiful piece of music?", he replied, "Ten rubles."

Karajan had a low opinion of Toscanini, whose conducting style was not precise enough for his taste. He once said that the problem with Toscanini's conducting was that he grew up in the south of Italy listening to bands playing outdoors in sunny plazas. He also said that he once asked the concertmaster of Toscanini's orchestra, "When Tuscanini conducts, how do you know when to start playing?" The concertmaster replied, "We start counting measures when the Maestro appears onstage and, after 20 measures, we start playing."

Mark Twain said, "Wagner's music is not as bad as it sounds."

I'm laughing as I write this. I hope that other people enjoy these anecdotes, too.

February 26, 2005 at 07:42 AM · Jim, that's good. :-)

February 26, 2005 at 09:28 AM · *The prior post attributed to Heifetz was originally spoken I think by Liszt.

*Mark Twain also said" Wagner has wonderful moments - and horrible half-hours."

* Sir Thomas Beecham once grabbed an Opera Divas' bosoms during a dress rehearsal and loudly proclaimed "if only these were brains!"

* Bartok said "contests are for horses, not for musicians."

February 26, 2005 at 12:24 PM · 'I occasionally play works by contemporary composers and for two reasons. First to discourage the composer from writing any more and secondly to remind myself how much I appreciate Beethoven' - Jascha Heifetz

February 26, 2005 at 01:05 PM · Hi,

David Oistrakh, when asked by a colleague that he hadn't seen in a long time if he had learned any new insights about the violin, etc. replied: "Yes.... just.... PLAY!"


P.S. Secondly, that Heifetz last quote really doesn't seem to strike me as something that would come from a guy who actually played more 20th century music and concertos than any violinist in his time.

P.S.2 Pauline which Rubenstein are you refering to? Anton?

February 26, 2005 at 03:13 PM · The Heifetz's quote is true.

In fact, there is a little pocket book published by Boosey & Hawkes with the title "The Quote Book". It is the 2nd book in the series, with "The Classical Music Pocket Book" as 1st, and "Classical Music Trivia" as the latest.

February 26, 2005 at 03:50 PM · After a concert, a member of the audience went up to Jascha Heifetz. He said, "Wow, your violin sounds really great." Heifetz then held the violin up close to his ear and replied, "Funny, I don't hear anything."

February 26, 2005 at 04:25 PM · The quotation that has now been attributed to both Heifetz and Liszt was spoken by Paderewski.

"I never practice."--Fritz Kreisler

February 26, 2005 at 07:37 PM · 'I never practice.' -- John Lanceley

February 26, 2005 at 07:42 PM · lol, nicely put, John.

February 26, 2005 at 07:42 PM · You can find a whole bunch of Heifetz quotes from www.jaschaheifetz.com

All of the quotes in this thread are on there (or at leats the one's said by the greatest violinist, ever)

February 26, 2005 at 10:00 PM · I can vouch for this one!

"By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong. "

Charles Wadsworth


"Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes."

Andy Warhol


"If they can't hum it after we play it, it's not for us."

Lawrence Welk


"There's a basic rule which runs through all kinds of music, kind of an unwritten rule. I don't know what it is. But I've got it."

Ron Wood


I love this one!

"I would rather play 'Chiquita Banana' and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve." -Xavier Cugat


"I am not handsome, but when women hear me play, they come crawling to my feet." -Niccolo Paganini




February 26, 2005 at 11:43 PM · Sir Thomas Beecham:

"Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands - and all you can do is scratch it"

February 27, 2005 at 01:10 AM · LOL

February 27, 2005 at 01:51 PM · James -- you need to make clear that Beecham was talking to a cellist.

Beecham, while clutching from behind the breasts of a diva -- "Madame, if only these were brains."

February 27, 2005 at 03:33 PM · there is no substitute for perfect intonation - szigetti


no weaknesses, not ever - galamian talking about rabin


wonderful violinist, michael, whats his name? - milstein talking about rabin


all tone comes from the wrist - auer


life is a fight - francescatti


I never fell out of love with his sound - perlman talking about oistrakh

February 27, 2005 at 04:10 PM · (From the "Lexicon of Musical Invective," Nicolas Slonimsky):

I played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms. What a giftless bastard! It annoys me that this self-inflated mediocrity is hailed as a genius. Why, in comparison with him, Raff is a giant [note from Scott- who the hell is Raff??] not to speak of Rubinstein, who is after all a live and important human being, while Brahms is chaotic and and absolutely empty dried-up stuff.

(Tchaikovsky's Diary, Oct. 9, 1886)

February 27, 2005 at 04:36 PM · oh speaking of brahms here is a quote of brahms: "I apologise if there is anyone in this room I have not offended"

ps brahms WAS a genuis and theres no need to use that word

February 27, 2005 at 04:31 PM · Good for him! A man after my own heart. That reminds me of one I will have to paraphrase, since I can't remember where I read it (online somewhere):

When Bruch finished his first violin concerto, he played the score on the piano for Brahms, whom he admired. At the end he asked, "What did you think?" Brahms thought for a moment, then reached over to feel the paper it was written on. "Well, it is written on very nice paper..."

February 27, 2005 at 07:02 PM · Hi,

I can't believe nobody has brought up this story yet, as I've heard it countless times. A passer-by saw Jascha Heifetz after a concert in New York and (not knowing it was him) asked him how to get to Carnegie Hall, to which he simply responded "Practice" and kept on walking.


February 27, 2005 at 09:19 PM · Otto Klemperer ran across Fischer Dieskau during the Vienna festival. Maestro, says the singer, I had a dream the other night: Bach himself was praising me for my performance in the Matthew passion.

2 days later, they meet again: Fischer, says the maestro, I had a dream last night: I was talking to Bach and he told me that he didn't know you.

February 27, 2005 at 09:24 PM · Another Klemperer-Fischer story: During the Edinburgh festival, F.Dieskau goes to Klemperer and asks if he will do him the honor of attending to the concert he is going to conduct 2 days later (his first appearance as a conductor). Answers Klemperer:I am sorry, Fischer, but this is precisely the evening when I will sing "Die Winterreise"

February 27, 2005 at 10:34 PM · "music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not nearly enough for music." - sergei rachmaninoff

February 27, 2005 at 11:07 PM · Sir Thomas Beecham (paraphrased): 'Start together. Finish together. The public doesn't care what happens in between.'

February 28, 2005 at 01:31 AM · This is one of the oldest and most often told of violinist stories, but it's one of the best, so for those of you who've never heard it before:

Fritz Kreisler, hearing the young Jascha Heifetz for the first time, turned to his friend pianist Josef Hofmann and, pulling at his collar, said, "Awfully hot in here, isn't it?" To which Hofmann replied, "Not for pianists!"

February 28, 2005 at 01:40 AM · Greetings,


it was Elman who made that comment anout the heat. Kreisler heard Heifetz for the first time at a dinner in his honor. After which he quipped `Gentlemen, we can now all break our fiddles across our knees.`

Anyway, they are all old geezers...



February 28, 2005 at 01:50 AM · I thought that was Elman.

Kreisler talking about Josef Hassid (paraphrased) A great violinist comes every 100 years; A Hassid, every 200 years.

Which to me doesn't make sense because there was Oistrakh, Milstein, Heifetz, Szerying, etc. etc. all in about the same time.

Kreisler talking about Heifetz after hearing him - the rest of us might as well break our fiddles over our knees.

February 28, 2005 at 01:53 AM · Dammit, you got to it before me.

February 28, 2005 at 01:56 AM · Greetings,

of course. I am an old geezer.



February 28, 2005 at 02:45 AM · Gentlemen,

You are correct. It was Elman, not Kreisler. Also, it was Godovsky rather than Hofmann. That's what I get for quoting from memory. Oh well, it's still a good story.

February 28, 2005 at 02:48 AM · Greetings,

the page turner on both occasions was Mattias.Cheers,


February 28, 2005 at 04:31 AM · Lizst was accompanying a cellist amateur on a concert. The cellist played really bad so Lizst decided to play very loud. So, the cellist whispered to him: "What are you doing, maestro? I can't hear myself." So, Lizst whispered back replying: "Oh! Then you're the only happy person on this concert!" (Mattias is witness...)

February 28, 2005 at 04:54 AM · That's a good one.

February 28, 2005 at 04:54 AM · Ah yes... my dad once told me this story of Paganini but I don't know if it was true. It was announced that he was to play on a Strad somewhere and everyone was all excited to see the strad. Well when he played everyone was amazed at the beautiful sound that was coming out of the strad. At the end of the performance, he took the violin and smashed it on his knee. Everyone was appalled. Obviously, it turned out that he was actually playing on a crappy violin.

February 28, 2005 at 04:57 AM · Oh and my teacher told me this one of Paganini. There was a young violinist (don't know who it is) who thought he was better than Paganini so he challenged him to a concert or something. He played his own composition which was extremely difficult. When it was Paganini's turn, he played a C major scale. It's possible that he also included thirds, octaves, arpeggios, tenths, etc. And he won.

February 28, 2005 at 09:56 AM · Fact: an enemy of Brahms onces rented the flat above Brahms'and hired students to pound out his music in a distasteful way around the clock. Brahms was forced to move.

February 28, 2005 at 12:22 PM · The description 'mad, bad and dangerous to know' was a reference to Liszt.

February 28, 2005 at 02:42 PM · I don't get it. Which part of him was Jewish?

February 28, 2005 at 03:20 PM · I believe his father was Jewish but his mother was not.

February 28, 2005 at 03:24 PM · Oh come on, moderator-- it was a joke, which is the only sane response to an unanswerable question.

February 28, 2005 at 03:49 PM · "Mad, bad, and dangerous to know" is usually identified as Lady Caroline Lamb's assessment of Lord Byron.

February 28, 2005 at 03:55 PM · Another Heifetz story, very possibly apocryphal:

Heifetz arrived at the last minute for concert at Carnegie Hall and had to use the back door and freight elevator. When the elevator arrived, the operator told Heifetz that he'd have to use the passenger elevator like everyone else. Heifetz said, "Don't you know who I am? I'm Jascha Heifetz, and I demand that you take me up right away!" To which the elevator operator replied, "I don't care if you're Stuff Smith, you still got to use the other elevator."

February 28, 2005 at 06:13 PM · Oh, is it Molly? Cheers - I retract my last offering (except I can't demerit myself)... although I did like the idea of Liszt being that kind of character; he was so good-looking. Oh well.

February 28, 2005 at 06:57 PM · For what it's worth, Scott, I don't find your comment offensive.

Uh oh. I hope I don't get a demerit for that.

February 28, 2005 at 07:44 PM · Does anyone know why you can't respond to archived discussions unless you view all the posts on each thread?


February 28, 2005 at 09:54 PM · My favorite Brahms story: An obscure composer comes to Brahms one day clutching a manuscript. He says to Brahms with great pride, "I've written a march in memory of our dear departed Gounod." Brahms glances at the manuscript, and mutters, "It would have been better if you had died and Gounod had written the march."

March 1, 2005 at 01:19 AM · Another Heifetz story. He went to a rehearsal of the Beethoven Violin concerto (don't know who with) and the conductor took it very slow. He looked at his watch and started to play in the middle of the introduction.

March 10, 2005 at 07:34 PM · I think it was the humorist Bennett Cerf who had a story about an orchestra that had difficulty getting its members together for rehearsals.

At the dress rehearsal for a major concert, the conductor asked the leader of the first violins to stand, and said, "I want to recognize this performer as the only member of this orchestra who has come to every rehearsal". The first violinist bowed and replied, "I thought it was the least I could do, as I won't be here the night of the performance".

Jack Benny is said to have been a capable violinist, though he spoofed all the things that can go wrong. He wrote a theme song "Love in Bloom" and also had a vocal "When you say I beg your pardon, then I'll come back to you - When you ask me to forgive you, I'll return."

March 10, 2005 at 09:30 PM · There is a famous exchange between harpsichordist Wanda Landowska and pianist Rosalyn Tureck concerning Landowska's interpretation of Bach and her playing Bach on the harpsichord. Responding to Tureck's criticism, Landowska stated "That's fine dear. You play Bach your way, and I'll play Bach his way." (Full disclosure -- Landowska is a relative of mine).

March 11, 2005 at 03:39 AM · Squeeze, don't jerk the trigger. -Roy Rogers

March 11, 2005 at 06:37 PM · Couple of Beethoven quotations:

1. A violinist was complaining about the difficulty of some of the String Quartets(I capitalize it because listening to them borders on a religious experience) and Beethoven responded: "When my muse hits me, I don't care about your violin."

2. One of Beethoven's composition students complained to him, "Sir, you tell me again and again not to use parallel 5ths in my pieces, but in this quartet, you use parallel 5ths!" Beethoven replied, "Ah yes, but I'm Beethoven."

March 11, 2005 at 06:55 PM · Somebody remember this better for me and correct the inaccuracies, but those Beethoven quotes put me in mind of another story I've heard about Beethoven who was walking somewhere and insulted a nobleman by not giving his due acquiescence (he didn't bow or something). The friend he was walking with made a remark about how offensive that was, and Beethoven responded "There are hundreds of nobles, but only one Beethoven." This may be slightly inaccurate, I'm only relating it in the hopes someone will correct me and we can get the whole story.

March 11, 2005 at 08:00 PM · Not a famous quote, but I kind of enjoyed it. The other day, I had just dropped my daughter off at her school, and I and several parents (of string players) were walking away along with the chorus teacher, who also happens to be a pianist.

Someone made the sort of offhand comment I've heard pretty often about how difficult intonation is on a stringed instrument and how easy it is to play the piano in comparison -- you play an A and an A is there, you play an E and an E is there. The chorus teacher/pianist stopped, mildly exasperated, and said "Sure, you hit an E and an E is there, but are YOU there?"

Good point, I thought.

Still, good luck telling a bunch of parents of violinists that the violin isn't the hardest instrument to play in the world!

March 12, 2005 at 06:30 PM · Kimberlee, I believe it was Beethoven and a famous poet (Heine?). His companion bowed to the nobleman in the customary fashion and then asked Beethoven why he did not do the same. Beethoven responded, "there are so many of them and just the two of us."

March 12, 2005 at 11:47 PM · Pianist Arthur Schnabel and physicist Albert Einstein, who was a fairly good violinist, were playing a Mozart sonata. Einstein became hopelessly lost at one point. When they stopped, Schnabel asked, "Albert, can't you count?"

March 13, 2005 at 10:29 AM · Tom,

That's a really good one!


March 13, 2005 at 11:26 AM · Sue, yours reminded me of another Beecham quote

on Beethoven's 7th.

What can you do with it?- Its like a lot of yaks jumping about.

On the serious side I very much like Jack Brymer's (clarinetist) quote

"It happens very rarely, but when it happens it's worth waiting for, that the instrument becomes part of your body."

March 14, 2005 at 04:15 AM · I actually read this quote while doing some research on Beethoven.

During Beethoven's younger years, he admired Haydn with all his heart, and one day walking down the street Beethoven ran into Handel after a recent performance of Beethoven's music. Handel said [roughly] "Dear fellow, that was some good music" Completely humbled Beethoven said "Why thank you very much sir, but of course nothing compared to your 'Messiah.'"

Handel, completely appalled that his masterpiece was even compared to this lowly composer, scoffed "Of COURSE it's not better than my Messiah! Nothing you ever write can be compared to my masterpiece!"

March 14, 2005 at 05:12 AM · You really made me laugh... Handel died in 1759 and Beethoven was born in 1770... What street did they meet???

March 14, 2005 at 05:18 AM · I think they saw each other through crystal balls, although that may have been another recent thread....

March 14, 2005 at 05:36 AM · I'd wish to have one...

March 14, 2005 at 06:16 AM · it`s a guy thing. we like to see what`s coming.

March 14, 2005 at 08:08 AM · Buri,

That was really below the belt...


March 14, 2005 at 08:33 AM · LOL

March 14, 2005 at 01:57 PM · Here is one that actually happened to my father, who was a great lover of music and knew several important modern composers. One of those was a modern serialist named Arthur Berger. My father did not care a whole lot for Berger's music (Berger knew this) but out of loyalty would buy each record that came out of any composer friend's music. One day he was in a record store to get Berger's latest and ran into Berger. Berger asked him what he was getting, and he responded, "your latest record." Berger then said, "You know, Frank, you won't like this one any better than the last one."

March 14, 2005 at 07:53 PM · Tom, I like this one. BTW newer heard his music. My bad...

Buri, LOL, you made my face red...

March 14, 2005 at 10:18 PM · i have a million beethoven anecdotes, but i like this one best.

he was premiering his own piano concerto (i think it was second). anyhow he asked czerny to page turn for him, who of course agreed. however as soon as he turned the first page the music dissolved into scribbls, pictures, written words and all manner of oddities. czerny was very confused, and in addition beethoven started glaring at him for not turning the page at the right timne.

March 14, 2005 at 10:21 PM · A real friend is someone who makes sure at least one person buys your record.

March 14, 2005 at 11:47 PM · True knowledge of sound carries with it great power. It allows one to travel without moving.

joska soos

March 14, 2005 at 11:47 PM · True knowledge of sound carries with it great power. It allows one to travel without moving.

joska soos

March 15, 2005 at 01:07 AM · F'*$^%&" Vieuxtemps - John Lanceley

Whooops im not famous!

March 15, 2005 at 01:21 AM · Infamous is close,John

March 15, 2005 at 01:31 AM · A contemporary of Schnabel, who was another well-known pianist, when told that Schnabel had been rejected for conscription into the army replied, "Of course. The man has no fingers."

And, apropos of nothing related to music (except perhaps there was some playing in the background): Winston Churchill as approached by a woman at a party who said, "Sir Winston, you are drunk," to which Winnie replied, "And you, madam, are ugly. The difference between us is in the morning I shall be sober."

March 15, 2005 at 02:06 AM · Greetings,

I have never liked that quote much for its connotations regarding what women are supposed to be, but I did once use a variation of it to a real pranny in a bar here in Japan. This guy started off with the usual `can I practice my English?` but was clearly showing off to his mates. About ten secodns into the conversation he remarked `you are fat` to whic I answered `yes, but I can diet. You are a moron and always will be.`

The Churchill story I prefer is when he spat out a piece of hot food burning his mouth at a state banquet, commenting afterwars `any other damn fool would have swallowed that.` George Bush senior could have used that one after throwing up on the Japanese Prime Minister.



March 15, 2005 at 07:24 AM · Another Churchill one:

Some MPs were talking rather too loudly while Churchill was nearby. One said, refering to Churchill, "You know, the old man is beginning to go mad." At which point Churchill swung round and said, "And I suppose the old man has begun to go deaf too?"


March 15, 2005 at 08:14 AM · Tchaik wrote his violin concerto for one of the greatest violinists of his time to play. The violinist called it unplayable and refused. Tchaik's second choice violinist played the concerto instead. A prominent critic wrote, "The violin is not played but rather beaten black and blue." Tchaik had the last laugh.

March 15, 2005 at 03:51 PM · Kreisler and Rachmaninov were playing a sonata in Carnegie Hall. At one point, Kreisler became lost, and Rachmaninov marked time with chords and arpeggios. Kreisler leaned over to Rachmaninov and said "I'm lost. Vere are ve?" To which Rachmaninov replied nonchalantly: "Carnegie Hall".

March 15, 2005 at 06:53 PM · "Is Wagner a human being at all? Is he not rather a disease?" - Nietzsche

"A musical talent is like having six fingers on one hand. You're born with it, you're different because of it, you can't do a thing about it." - Zabach

"'Parzifal' is an opera which starts at 5 30 and, when you look at your watch three hours later, it says 5 45." - Puccini

"'Butterfly' or 'Boheme', I can't tell them apart." - Wagner

"Dr. Brahms," said Johann Strauss' wife (widow?), "would you be so kind as to autograph my fan?" Brahms wrote the first few measures of the "Blue Danube" and, underneath, signed "Unfortunately not by Johannes Brahms."

Violin - n - an instrument for the tickling of human ears by the friction of a horse's tail on the entrails of a cat. (Devil's Dictionary)

"Harpsichords make a sound like two skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof." - Beecham

Enescu was once asked, by one of his students, to accompany him for his debut recital. As Enescu was almost as fine a pianist as he was a violinist - something that never ceased to amaze me - he agreed. However, Cortot (I think. It might have been another, equally renowned pianist) suddenly showed up at Enescu's door, having come unexpectedly into town for a recital of his own the following day. As he and Enescu were friends and wanted to spend some time together, Enescu suggested that Cortot (or other) come to the student's recital, turn pages for the piano, and subsequently head out for dinner. Cortot agreed. Enescu's violin student was, naturally, overawed by the heavy starpower on the stage and, evidently, so was the critic. For the following day, the shortest review in history appeared in the papers. It was precisely three sentences long:

"Last night there was a remarkable recital at the Athenaeum. He who should have been playing the violin played the piano; he who should have been playing the piano turned pages. And he who should have been turning pages played the violin."

And finally, possibly apocryphal: Karajan gets into a cab in Berlin. "Where to?" asks the cabbie. Karajan starts to answer, then pauses and thinks for a moment. "You know," he finally says, "it doesn't really matter. I'm in demand everywhere."

March 15, 2005 at 06:59 PM · Use the violin to make music,never use music just to play the violin!!!!!!!!!!!


March 15, 2005 at 08:39 PM · Another Klemeperer story:

In the 50ies, he was in Vienna recording with the Vienna symphony for the Vox label, whose artistic manager was George Mendelsonn. Klemperer took him one day to Vienna's largest record store to check if his LPs were available.

So he asks the clerk for the Pastoral symphony conducted by Klemperer: Sorry sir, we don't have this version, but we do have Furtwängler, Karajan, Toscanini...No, I want Klemperer answers the conductor, nothing else.He then asked for Mahler's second symphony under Klemperer...unavailable...and so on for 2 or 3 other works. Eventually, the manager is called, and asks "excuse me sir, but why are you so insistent in getting Klemperer's recordings?"

Because I am Klemperer!!, answers the conductor.

And I suppose the gentelman next to you must be Beethoven?, ironically says the manager.

No, it's Mendelsonn, answers Klemperer!!!!

March 16, 2005 at 01:29 AM · Might have appeared on another thread, but Steve Martin (among others probably) is credited with saying: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." It sounds like a joke at first...

March 16, 2005 at 03:50 AM · Johannes Brahms wrote this response to a music critic:

Dear ______ :

I am sitting in the smallest room of my house.

Your review of the premiere of my third symphony is before me.

Soon it will be behind me.


March 16, 2005 at 06:10 PM · Ted, I think that was Max Reger.

March 17, 2005 at 02:48 AM · Not someone famous per se, but my own teacher, reminding me about gradually speeding up a passage:

"Practicing a passage very slowly then rushing to practice it very fast is the most depressing thing a violinist can do. He wonders 'I practiced it slow, why isnt it working.' He will be depressed thinking he simply cannot play the passage. You have to be sure to practice the speed of a passage gradually with a metronone. After all, if you do slow and then fast practice, who will do the in between work?"

March 17, 2005 at 03:20 AM · I just realized that I have a "quote book" in which I write down anything that especially impresses me. There was a CBC radio interview between Peter Gzowski and Isaac Stern and I jotted down as best I could the following snippets:

Gzowkski: "How do you transcend the notes on the page, and what is on your mind when you play?"

Stern: "Music isn't made up of playing the notes that are on the page. Muis is what happens between those two dots one before the other; that millisecond before you get there. (says "hello" as an example) two sounds: How did I get from one to the other? That's what music is all about. That's what music means. It is the sound of where you are, where you've just come from, and where you're going; and how you manage all three necessities."

Gzowski: asks how the soul and feel of music and the composer's music are brought to the listener.

Stern: "If I didn't grab it, you wouldn't get it. You have to be completely immersed in the idea that this is the most important thing, the most beautiful thing that you're doing at the moment. That's why I can never answer the question, 'What is your favourite piece?', because what I'm playing at the moment has to be my favourite piece."

(Isaac Stern, interviewed just before his 75th birthday)

March 17, 2005 at 03:05 AM · Not a musician, but acting as a patron of musicians, Gottfried van Swieten wrote on Jan. 3, 1799

"Insofar as music is concerned, I have returned altogether to those times when it was considered necessary to study an art soundly and thoroughly before practising it. In this conviction I find nourishment for both spirit and heart; and this gives me strength when I have been cast down by further evidence of the decline of the arts."

And we're talking about the decline of the arts NOW?

March 17, 2005 at 05:58 AM · A reporter once asked Casals why he played Bach so much, and Casals told him, "Because Bach is my best friend."

March 29, 2005 at 02:40 AM · NERO really didn't play the VIOLIN - he played an instrument like the LUTE, historians say - something of an ancestor to the guitar. If anyone really is knowledgeable about early stringed instruments before Amati-Stradivarius-Guarnieri - it would be nice to know more.

But many people believe the old story that Nero fiddled while Rome burned - violinists still have to live it down. There was an amusing - well acted TV commercial a few years ago, where an attendant comes to Nero, who is practicing on a violin, with the message, "Nero, don't you know 'Rome is burning'?" - And Nero answers "I'll try to play it if you'll hum the tune!"

Can anyone identify the actor who played Nero as a violinist?

March 29, 2005 at 03:05 AM · Hi,

A classic quote from Heifetz: "A violinist should always be happy when he is playing. If he is playing well, he should be happy that he is playing well. If he is not playing well, he should be happy because it will soon be over!"


March 29, 2005 at 03:10 AM · A quote from Galamian:

No; shorter, shorter.


March 29, 2005 at 03:18 AM · As the curtain closes on this thread, here are some more quotes, real or not. I think my favorite might be "Your first piece should be one you could play with a tiger chewing your leg off."


March 29, 2005 at 10:15 AM · There were famous violins before Stradivari&Co. Marcin Groblicz from Poland made his first violins about 1550, and the first classical styled (in the shape we know now) was made by him about 1620. It's said "Groblicz's violins have sound often compared to the greatests instruments of Italian makers". That's it:




(made in the first half of XVII century)



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