Franz Liszt on Chopin

Music was his language, the divine tongue through which he expressed a whole realm of sentiments that only the select few can appreciate… The muse of his homeland dictates his songs, and the anguished cries of Poland lend to his art a mysterious, indefinable poetry which, for all those who have truly experienced it, cannot be compared to anything else… The piano alone was not sufficient to reveal all that lies within him. In short he is a most remarkable individual who commands our highest degree of devotion.

Muss es sein? Es muss sein! Es muss sein! (Must it be? It must be! It must be!)
– Ludwig van Beethoven, comment written on the finale of his String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135

Plaudite, amici, comedia finita est. (Applaud, my friends, the comedy is over.)
– Ludwig van Beethoven, on his deathbed, 1827

I’m a revolutionary, money means nothing to me.
– Frédéric Chopin, quoted in Arthur Headley, Chopin (1947)

After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own.
– Oscar Wilde, 1891

Le concert, c’est moi.
– Franz Liszt, writing to the Princess Belgiojoso on his launch of a new kind of public concert: the solo recital; quoted by Alfred Brendel in The New York Review of Books (22 Nov 1990)

A smasher of pianos.
– Clara Schumann on Liszt, quoted in Alan Walker, Robert Schumann: the Man and his Music (1972)

O Mozart, immortal Mozart, how many, how infinitely many inspiring suggestions of a finer, better life have you left in our souls!
– Franz Schubert, Diary, 1816

Mozart should have composed Faust.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Conversations with Eckermann (1827)

He roused my admiration when I was young; he caused me to despair when I reached maturity; he is now the comfort of my old age.
– Gioachino Rossini on Mozart

 

Mozart is sunshine.
Antonin Dvorak, quoted in Otakar Sourek (ed.), Antonin Dvorak: Letters and Reminiscences (1954)

The sonatas of Mozart are unique; they are too easy for children, and too difficult for artists.
– Arthur Schnabel

Mozart in his music was probably the most reasonable of the world’s great composers. It is the happy balance between flight and control, between sensibility and self-discipline, simplicity and sophistication of style that is his particular province… Mozart tapped once again the source from which all music flows, expressing himself with a spontaneity and refinement and breath-taking rightness that has never since been duplicated.
– Aaron Copland, Copland on Music (1960)

It is sobering to think that when Mozart was my age he had already been dead a year
– Tom Lehrer (speaking of Mozart’s early death at the age of just 35 years)

His character was a mixture of tenderness and coarseness, sensuality and candour, sociability and melancholy.
– Johann Mayrhofer on Schubert; quoted in Westrup, Schubert Music (1969)