Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2008

A very nice collection of quotes by Kyle Gann, collected by his students. My favourites are:

One of the ways you know you're developing as a composer is when people start performing your pieces better.

- this is so true and I take it to mean that if a piece sounds badly played, it's usually your fault as the composer (OK Maybe not always!)

I can write a good piece of music in three weeks. A bad one takes me six months.

One can prove by analysis that, in reality, Webern's music is highly unified. But art isn't about reality: it's about appearances.

- I love that one.

Mystery is easily achieved. It's clarity that's difficult.

Subtleties tend to get lost in performance. That's why Beethoven was so successful - he didn't put any subtleties in his music.

I don't get this one, though:

Stravinsky was the master at sustaining a musical idea.

Isn't Stravinsky's success based on the fact that he knows when to stop an idea? One day I hope to ask Mr Gann about that one.



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