Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.
Stay with me to-night; you must see me die. I have long had the taste of death on my tongue, I smell death, and who will stand by my Constanze, if you do not stay?
As death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relationships with this best and truest friend of mankind that death's image is not only no longer terrifying to me, but is indeed very soothing and consoling.
All I insist on, and nothing else, is that you should show the whole world that you are not afraid. Be silent, if you choose; but when it is necessary, speak—and speak in such a way that people will remember it.
To talk well and eloquently is a very great art, but that an equally great one is to know the right moment to stop.
It is a mistake to think that the practice of my art has become easy to me. I assure you, dear friend, no one has given so much care to the study of composition as I. There is scarcely a famous master in music whose works I have not frequently and diligently studied.
The only thing--I tell you this straight from the heart--that disgusts me in Salzburg is that one can't have any proper social intercourse with those people--and that music does not have a better reputation...For I assure you, without travel, at least for people from the arts and sciences, one is a miserable creature!...A man of mediocre talents always remains mediocre, may he travel or not--but a man of superior talents, which I cannot deny myself to have without being blasphemous, becomes--bad, if he always stays in the same place. If the archbishop would trust me, I would soon make his music famous; that is surely true.
When I am ..... completely myself, entirely alone... or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how these ideas come I know not nor can I force them.
Melody is the essence of music. I compare a good melodist to a fine racer, and counterpointists to hack post-horses; therefore be advised, let well alone and remember the old Italian proverb: Chi sa più, meno sa—Who knows most, knows least.
You know that I immerse myself in music, so to speak— that I think about it all day long— that I like experimenting— studying— reflecting.
A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.
People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to compositions as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied through many times.
We live in this world in order always to learn industriously and to enlighten each other by means of discussion and to strive vigorously to promote the progress of science and the fine arts.
I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness.
Nevertheless the passions, whether violent or not, should never be so expressed as to reach the point of causing disgust; and music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music.
When I am traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that ideas flow best and most abundantly.
One must not make oneself cheap here - that is a cardinal point - or else one is done. Whoever is most impertinent has the best chance.
I live in a country where music has very little success, though, exclusive of those who have forsaken us, we have still admirable professors and, more particularly, composers of great solidity, knowledge, and taste.
It is a great consolation for me to remember that the Lord, to whom I had drawn near in humble and child-like faith, has suffered and died for me, and that He will look on me in love and compassion.
How sad it is that these great gentlemen should believe what anyone tells them and do not choose to judge for themselves! But it is always so.