My symphonies would have reached Opus 100 if I had but written them down... Sometimes I am so full of music, and so overflowing with melody, that I find it simply impossible to write down anything.
Nature best teaches how to pray, and how to reverence all the gifts the Almighty has given us. She is like a vast outspread handkerchief, embroidered with God's eternal name, on which we may dry alike our tears of sorrow and of joy; she turns weeping into ecstasy, and fills our hearts with speechless, quiet reverence and resignation.
The flame that is naturally clear always gives the most light and heat. If I could blend my talent for poetry and music into one, the light would burn still clearer, and I might go far.
An evil fate has deprived me of the full use of my right hand, so that I am not able to play my compositions as I feel them. The trouble with my hand is that certain fingers have become so weak, probably through writing and playing too much at one time, that I can hardly use them.
I feel so entirely in my element with a full orchestra; even if my mortal enemies were marshalled before me, I could lead them, master them, surround them, or repulse them.
Mendelssohn I consider the first musician of the day; I doff my hat to him as my superior. He plays with everything, especially with the grouping of the instruments in the orchestra, but with such ease, delicacy and art, with such mastery throughout.
My indifference to money and my spendthrift ways are disgraceful. You have no idea how reckless I am; how often I practically throw money out of the window. I am always making good resolutions, but the next minute I forget and give the waiter eightpence.
The poet sees better than other mortals. I do not see things as they are, but according to my own subjective impression, and this makes life easier and simpler.
Thus it is ever in life. The aims we once pursued no longer satisfy us; we aim, we strive, we aspire, until sight fails, and mind and body find rest in the grave.
It is the curse of talent that, although it labors with greater steadiness and perseverance than genius, it does not reach its goal, while genius already on the summit of the ideal, gazes laughingly about.
Music - so different from painting - is the art which we enjoy most in company with others. A symphony, presented in a room with one other listener, would please him but little.