— Paul Hindemith, from A Composer’s World
— Benjamin Britten, from On Winning the First Aspen Award
I’ve drawn Britten’s remark out of context, and it’s not quite so music-reproduction-technophobe as may appear. He goes on to make the point that specificity of place, occasion and audience intensifies the power of a piece of music, though most of his examples — a Bach Cantata, Winterreise, Don Giovanni — have texts as drivers.
Music boasts no Henri Rousseau, no Grandma Moses. Naiveté doesn't work in music. To write any sort of a usable piece presumes a minimum kind of professionalism. Mussorgsky and Satie are the closest we have come in recent times to a primitive composer, and the mere mention of their names makes the idea rather absurd.
— Aaron Copland, from The Creative Mind and the Interpretive Mind
And the birthday boy:
It can’t be any new note. When you look at the keyboard, all the notes are there already. But if you mean a note enough, it will sound different. You got to pick the notes you really mean.
— Thelonious Sphere Monk (10 October, 1917 – 17 February, 1982)