Richard Strauss



Here are some famous and not-so-famous quotes by the composer, giving an idea of his views on music and his colleagues.

"I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer."

"The human voice is the most beautiful instrument of all, but it is the most difficult to play."

"Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them."

"Bear in mind that you are not making music for your own pleasure, but for the pleasure of your audience."

"Don't perspire while conducting - only the audience should get warm. "

"I want to be able to depict in music a glass of beer so accurately that every listener can tell whether it is a Pilsner or a Kulmbacher. "

"Ideas, like young wine, should be put in storage and taken up again only after they have been allowed to ferment and to ripen."

"When you think you have reached the limits of prestissimo, double the pace."

On conducting: "If you can just barely hear the French horns on stage, the balance is perfect."

On the music of Arnold Schoenberg: "He'd be better off shoveling snow. "

"I shall never be converted, and I shall remain true to my old religion of the classics until my life's end."

To his daughter-in-law during his final days: "Its a funny thing Alice, dying is just the way I composed it in Tod und Verklärung. "

"Building brand name is key. That's what America is all about."  

On Brahms: "I always get so angry with Brahms--he is so overrated. He doesn't have enough ideas."

On writing good endings: "It's very difficult. Beethoven and Wagner knew how to do it. Only the great composers can do it. I can do it."

His answer to the question 'what is a genius?':  "Not every talent has genius, but every genius also has talents in him, as part of his abilities."

Strauss's opinion of jazz: "I have already heard some in Europe. Very interesting, especially the rhythms."

Strauss on American women:  "They are all wonderfully beautiful."

Strauss on the 'American school of composing':  "There aren't any schools; there are only talents and geniuses."

Strauss on his favorite song:  "Traum durch die Dammerung, composed in five minutes while waiting for my wife."

Strauss on his favorite tone poem: "Those that show me and my opinions most clearly: Zarathustra, Quixote, Sinfonia Domestica."

Strauss on Vienna:  "People are deceitful everywhere. But in Vienna they are so pleasant about it."

Arturo Toscanini on Richard Strauss and his relationship with the Nazis: “To Richard Strauss, the composer, I take off my hat--to Richard Strauss, the man, I put it on again.”

Strauss on working with the Nazis: “I made music under the Kaiser, and I will survive under this lot, as well. I just sit here in Garmisch [his home, outside Munich] and compose. Everything else is irrelevant to me.”

Strauss on Joseph Goebbels:“I consider the Jew-baiting by Goebbels a disgrace to German honor.”

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