Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Play and Quote List: Sir Thomas Beecham

Handel: Hallelujah Chorus

"It is quite untrue that British people don't appreciate music. They may not understand it, but they absolutely love the noise it makes."

Mozart: Symphony no. 41 (Part of a 1934 set of Mozart Symphonies that for eighty years has never been excelled.)

"A musicologist is a man who can read music but not hear it."

Beethoven: Fourth Symphony

"Beethoven's late quartets were written by a deaf man and should only be listened to by a deaf man."

Schubert: Fifth Symphony 

(On the dotted rhythms in the first movement of Beethoven's 7th Symphony)
"What can you do with it, it's like a lot of yaks jumping about."

Berlioz: Harold in Italy

"There are two golden rules for an orchestra. Start together, finish together. The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between."

Mendelssohn: Italian Symphony

(When asked by the musicologist Neville Cardus what he thinks of Bach.)
"Too much counterpoint. What is worse: Protestant counterpoint!"

Verdi: Otello - Act IV

(to a soprano):
"Your voice reminds me of a cart racing down a hill with the break on."

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde Act II Love Duets

(to a tenor playing Tristan)
"Have you ever made love?"
"Yes, Sir Thomas."
"Well concerning your acting technique and observing your grave and deliberate movements to our dear Isolde, I am reminded of that estimable quadruped, the hedgehog."

Gounod: Faust

"I have just been around the world and have formed a very poor opinion of it."

Brahms: Symphony no. 3 (perhaps my favorite performance of it...)

"The Harpsichord sounds like two skeletons copulating on a corrugated tin roof."

Borodin: Polovtsian Dances

"Try everything once except folk dancing and incest."

Bizet: Carmen 

(Upon rehearsing Don Quixote by Massenet, he complained to the Soprano that she came in too late, she replied that the star Bass, Feodor Chaliapin, enacted his death too soon.)
"Madam. In my opinion no opera star has ever died too soon."

Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite

(About the very long and 'deep' Bruckner Seventh Symphony)
"In the first movement alone I took note of six pregnancies and four miscarriages."

Dvorak: Symphony no 8:

(to a female cellist) "My Dear Madam, you hold between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands, and all you can do is scratch it."

Grieg: Peer Gynt

"Bass trombone, you're out of tune."
"The bass trombonist hasn't arrived yet."
"Oh. Well when he arrives tell him he's out of tune."

Chabrier: Espana

"Brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away."

Faure: Pavane

(when passing a gravestone that read: Here lies a fantastic organist and excellent musician.)
"What? Both in the same grave?"

Delius: North Country Sketches

(about Vaughan Williams' Pastoral Symphony)
"A city life for me!"

Strauss: Four Last Songs

"No composer has written as much as 100 bars of worthwhile music since 1925."

Sibelius: En Saga

"Have you heard any Stockhausen?"
"No. But I once trod in some."

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