Category Archives: Music
From Igor Stravinky’s Autobiography: “For me, as a creative musician, composition is a daily function that I feel compelled to discharge. I compose because I am made for that and cannot do otherwise. Just as any organ atrophies unless kept … Continue reading
How did Beethoven become Beethoven? “The ‘personality’ of such a man as Beethoven is a slowly developed synthetic whole. It is formed by the gradual combination of its constituent elements into an organic unity. For the development of a personality … Continue reading
To start — three sensitive commentators on the meaning of Beethoven’s music. * Hermann Hesse, the Nobel-Prize-winning novelist, in Steppenwolf, contrasting Mozart to Beethoven (and to Kleist, who committed suicide at age 34): “You have lent a deaf ear to … Continue reading
The philosophical nature of art, as illustrated by Dmitri Shostakovich’s comments on the purpose of his music, from his autobiographical Testimony.
When Mstislav Rostropovich was already an accomplished cellist at age 19, he began teaching at the Moscow Conservatory: “But it was also obvious to me that the most important priority was to educate my pupils to love music. And parents … Continue reading
Dmitri Shostakovich tells this story of Alexander Glazunov‘s astounding musical memory. Glazunov was one of Shostakovich’s teachers in St. Petersburg, and by all accounts his ability to retain and recapitulate music was perfect. Here’s the practical joke played upon a … Continue reading
According to Shostakovich: “Rimsky-Korsakov used to say that he refused to acknowledge any complaints from composers about their hard lot in life. He explained his position thus: Talk to a bookkeeper and he’ll start complaining about life and his work. … Continue reading