"Music is the sound of the universal laws promulgated. It is the only assured tone. There are in it such strains as far surpass anyman's faith in the loftiness of his destiny. Things are to be learned which it will be worth the while to learn."
"When my hoe tinkled against the stones, that music echoed to the woods and the sky, and was an accompaniment to my labor which yielded an instant and immeasurable crop. It was no longer beans that I hoed, nor I that hoed beans; and I remembered with as much pity as pride, if I remembered at all, my acquaintances who had gone to the city to attend the oratorios."
"I cannot say what poetry is; I know that our sufferings and our concentrated joy, our states of plunging far and dark and turningto come back to the world--so that the moment of intense turning seems still and universal--all are here, in a music like the music of our time, like the hero and like the anonymous forgotten; and there is an exchange here in which our lives are met, and created."
"Take any noble musical air, and you find, on examining it, that not one even of the faintest or shortest notes can be removed without destruction to the whole passage in which it occurs; and that every note in the passage is twenty times more beautiful so introduced, than it would have been if played singly on the instrument. Precisely this degree of arrangement and relation must exist between every touch and line in a great picture. You may consider the whole as a prolonged musical composition: its parts, as separate airs connected in the story; its little bits and fragments of colour and line, as separate passages or bars in melodies; and down to the minutest note of the whole--down to the minutest touch,--if there is one that can be spared--that one is doing mischief."
"For the moment, the jazz is playing; there is no melody, just notes, a myriad tiny tremors. The notes know no rest, an inflexibleorder gives birth to them then destroys them, without ever leaving them the chance to recuperate and exist for themselves.... I would like to hole them back, but I know that, if I succeeded in stooping one, there would only remain in may hand a corrupt and languishing sound. I must accept their death; I must even want that death: I know of few more bitter or intense impressions."
"Every actor and musician has a text upon which to base his art, but he can treat the text in one of two ways. The difference liesin how much the performer believes his own work can be "notated." In music, this means asking how far the system of musical signs printed on the page can actually represent the music the composer heard in his head. If you believe these signs--the notes, the loud and soft markings, tempo indications--are an adequate language, then in performing the piece you concentrate on realizing in sound what you, the performer, read. If you believe music cannot be adequately notated, then your task in the performance is to find what is missing from the printed page. The actor has a similar choice. He can treat the text either as a set of suggestions for a character in Shakespeare's or Ibsen's mind, suggestions which cannot be ignored, but leave him much freedom, or he can treat the text as bible which, once understood, will tell him how to act."
"It had been a moving, tranquil apotheosis, immersed in the transfiguring sunset glow of decline and decay and extinction. An old family, already grown too weary and too noble for life and action, had reached the end of its history, and its last utterances were sounds of music: a few violin notes, full of the sad insight which is ripeness for death."
"Whenever [Leonard Bernstein] entered or exited a country he would fill in on his passport form not composer or conductor, but musician. Of course people in the press spent a lot of Lenny's life telling him what he should have done; he should have been a concert pianist, he should have composed more.... And people wouldn't let him live his own life. But he created his own career, in his own image."