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“Edison failed 10, 000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.” – Napoleon Hill, American author
Musicians’ response to violence
This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.  — Leonard Bernstein, 25 November 1963 Christopher Buchenholz, “An Artist’s Response to Violence”, Leonard Bernard Office, Accessed 18 March 2022.
Nick Cave on the creative process
What makes a great song great is not its close resemblance to a recognizable work. Writing a good song is not mimicry, or replication, or pastiche, it is the opposite. It is an act of self-murder that destroys all one has strived to produce in the past. It is those dangerous, heart-stopping departures that catapult […]
Impromptu (Sibelius)
Title: Impromptu (Op. 97, no.5) Composer: Jean Sibelius (arr. Greg Smith) Instrumentation: Trombone and piano Product medium: PDF score and part
Achieving your aims
“Those who have achieved all their aims probably set them too low.” – Herbert von Karajan, conductor Herbert von Karajan – Official Homepage. Accessed 20 March 2016.
Hough and Schnabel on piano rolls
I want to believe in piano rolls. The idea that we can insert an object into a present-day piano and hear long-dead pianists and composers perform again as if they were in the same room is a tantalisingly attractive prospect. It has a magical aura about it. But, I’m afraid, it’s a conjuring trick, or […]
Brahms on inspiration
Johannes Brahms wrote to Clara Schumann. whom he greatly admired: It is from you that I am constantly learning that one cannot obtain vital force out of books, but only out of one’s soul.  One must draw inspiration not from without, but from within. Cited in: Goss, Madeleine & Schauffler, Robert (1943) Brahms The Master. […]
Mozart on Craft
“People are mistaken, if they think that my art has come easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has devoted so much effort in the study of composition as have I. There is scarcely a famous master in must whose works I have not diligently, and often repeatedly, studied.” – Mozart, in […]
The best of every man
“I have believed the best of every man. And find that to believe is enough to make a bad man show him at his best, or even a good man swings his lantern higher.” – William Yeats, Deirdre
A monkey on his shoulder
Cellist Walter Joachim spend some time in Calcutta, India. He recalled: “I bought a monkey with which to amuse myself. We played. He was sitting on my shoulders for hours when I was practising.” Joachim practised at least one or two movements of a Bach suite. “I started my day usually with Bach or a […]