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)