After playing the violin for the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, Albert Einstein asked, "Did I play well?" "You played relatively well," replied Piatigorsky
The sound of a harpsichord -- two skeletons copulating on a tin roof in a thunderstorm."--Sir Thomas Beecham
"I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws."--Charles Baudelaire
"In the first movement alone, I took note of six pregnancies and at least four miscarriages."--Sir Thomas Beecham on Bruckner's Seventh Symphony
"What can you do with it? It's like a lot of yaks jumping about."--Sir Thomas Beecham on Beethoven's Seventh Symphony
"Schoenberg is too melodious for me, too sweet."--Bertolt Brecht
"I would like to hear Elliot Carter's Fourth String Quartet, if only to discover what a cranky prostate does to one's polyphony."--James Sellars
"Exit in case of Brahms."--Philip Hale's proposed inscription over the doors of Boston Symphony Hall
Someone commented to Rudolph Bing, manager of the Metropolitan Opera, that "George Szell is his own worst enemy." "Not while I'm alive, he isn't!" said Bing.
"Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands and all you can do is scratch it."--Sir Thomas Beecham to a lady cellist.
"We cannot expect you to be with us all the time, but perhaps you could be good enough to keep in touch now and again."--Sir Thomas Beecham to a musician during a rehearsal
"Her voice sounded like an eagle being goosed."--Ralph Novak on Yoko On
"Parsifal -- the kind of opera that starts at six o'clock and after it has been going three hours, you look at your watch and it says 6:20."--David Randolph
"One can't judge Wagner's opera Lohengrin after a first hearing, and I certainly don't intend hearing it a second time."--Gioacchino Rossini
"I liked the opera very much. Everything but the music."--Benjamin Britten on Stravinsky's The Rakes's Progress
"Her singing reminds me of a cart coming downhill with the brake on."--Sir Thomas Beecham on an unidentified soprano in Die Walküre
"I hope to hear similar works of more substantial length from this composer", Igor Stravinsky, upon hearing John Cage's "4 minutes 33 seconds".