Category Archives: Quotes

A defense against mediocrity

“And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach – a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity – on each page we discover things which we thought were born only … Continue reading

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We are trapped in time

“With music, we are trapped in time. Each note is gone as soon as it has sounded, and it never can be recontemplated or heard again at the particular instant of rightness. It is always too late for a second … Continue reading

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No tortoisian ambling, please

“Slow practice can be a complete waste of time if the mind is not working quickly. Simply to trawl through passages like a contented tortoise is a waste of the felt on your piano’s hammers. Good slow practice is more … Continue reading

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Practice and listen and practice and listen

… and win a Nobel prize along the way. Especially if bassoon is your instrument. In an interview with Thomas Südhof, Nobel prize winner for medicine and physiology, his bassoon teacher gets the credit for teaching him how to do something … Continue reading

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The only calibration that counts

“The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they … Continue reading

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Chopin on Scarlatti: “He sometimes reaches even Mozart.”

“My colleagues, the piano teachers, are dissatisfied that I am teaching Scarlatti to my pupils. But I am surprised that they are so blind. In his music there are exercises in plenty for the fingers and a good deal of … Continue reading

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“You think about the music … how lucky you are to be performing it”

There was an amusing interview with pianist Mitsuko Uchida in The Guardian last month. I happily discovered I share a couple of non-piano passions with her – the Tour de France and sudoku (“It keeps your mind alert but with … Continue reading

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“One note follows another with complete inevitability”

Leonard Bernstein plays through – on piano and with an orchestra – some fragments and sketches that Beethoven rejected when composing his Fifth Symphony. It’s a fascinating look at what might have been. Or might not have been. And it … Continue reading

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Music from the head

“The new kind of music seems to create not from the heart but from the head. Its composers think rather than feel. They have not the capacity to make their works exalt – they meditate, protest, analyze, reason, calculate and … Continue reading

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The silence and the sound

Sadness gives depth.  Happiness gives height.  Sadness gives roots.  Happiness gives branches.  Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth.  Both are needed, and the … Continue reading

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Heartrending melancholy

“At the Symphony concert, Casals played, one of the most marvelous musicians who ever lived! The sound of his cello is of heart-rending melancholy. His execution unfathomable. At times going outward from the depths, at times going inward, into the … Continue reading

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I emerge along with the bats

“I tend to follow a very nocturnal sort of existence, mainly because I don’t much care for sunlight. Bright colours of any kind depress me, in fact, and my moods are more or less inversely related to the clarity of … Continue reading

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