19th-century Composer Quotes
Our peasant music, naturally, is invariably tonal, if not always in the sense that the inflexible major and minor system is tonal. (An "atonal" folk-music, in my opinion, is unthinkable.) Since we depend upon a tonal basis of this kind in our creative work, it is quite self-evident that our works are quite pronouncedly tonal in type. I must admit, however, that there was a time when I thought I was approaching a species of twelve-tone music. Yet even in works of that period the absolute tonal foundation is unmistakable.
An Englishman will take you into a large room, beautifully proportioned, and will point out to you that it is white- all over white- and somebody will say what exquisite taste. You know in your own mind, in your own soul, that it is not taste at all˘that is the want of taste˘that is mere evasion. English music is white and evades everything.
If nobody likes your work, you have to go on just for the sake of the work. And you're in no danger of letting the public make you repeat yourself. Every artist ought to pray that he may not be "a success". If he's a failure he stands a good chance of concentrating upon the best work of which he's capable.
The melodic curves of speech are an expression of the complete organism and of all phases of its spiritual activities. They demonstrate whether a man is stupid or intelligent, sleepy or awake, tired or alert. They tell us whether he is a child or an old man, whether it is morning or evening, light or darkness, heat or frost, and disclose whether a person is alone or in company. The art of dramatic writing is to compose a melodic curve that will, as if by magic, reveal immediately a human being in one definite phase of his existence.
My piano is to me what a ship is to the sailor, what a steed is to the Arab. It is the intimate personal depository of everything that stirred wildly in my brain during the most impassioned days of my youth. It was there that all my wishes, all my dreams, all my joys, and all my sorrows lay.