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Wagner Quotes


"Wagner is the Puccini of music." - J B Morton

"Please write music like Wagner, only louder." - Samuel Goldwyn

"I dig Strauss and Wagner. Those cats are good." - Jimi Hendrix

"Whoever wants to understand National Socialist Germany must know Wagner." - Adolf Hitler

"We've been listening to Wagner, which is so great." - Bernadette Peters

"Wagner has lovely moments but awful quarters of an hour." - Gioachino Rossini

"Wagner festival was [Adolf Hitler] time with the Wagner family. [Eva Braun] asked once to attend but he forbade it and that was that, she never asked again." - Gretl Braun

"I did not care for Wagner. My tastes are more classical. Der Fuhrer had no musical taste and liked Wagner because of the bombastic Teutonic glories." - Hans Frank

"As Mark Twain said, 'I love Wagner - if only they'd cut out all that damned singing!'" - Edward Abbey

"The music of Wagner imposes mental tortures that only algebra has the right to inflict." - Paul Bins, comte de Saint-Victor

"I hate you, Richard Wagner . . . but I hate you on my knees." - Leonard Bernstein

"Wagner has some great moments, but a lot of miserable half hours." - Mark Twain

"Western culture is what gave us Mozart, and Da Vinci, and Wagner, and Beethoven." - Milo Yiannopoulos

"Monsieur Wagner has good moments, but awful quarters of an hour!" - Gioachino Rossini

"Film contains potentialities for the combination of all the arts such as Wagner never dreamt of." - Ralph Vaughan Williams

"I can't listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland." - Woody Allen

"I love you, Michael Wagner." "Forever?" he asked. "Forever," I said." - Judy Blume

"Wagner manages to convey emotion with music better than anyone, before or since." - Stephen Hawking

"I grew up taking piano lessons and liking Wagner when I was in second grade." - Tom Verlaine

"Richard Wagner, a musician who wrote music which is better than it sounds." - Richard Wagner

"Wagner is a composer who has beautiful moments but awful quarter hours." - Gioachino Rossini

"Mr. Wagner has beautiful moments but bad quarters of an hour." - Gioachino Rossini

"After conducting Wagner, Beethoven's triple concerto is like taking an Alka Seltzer." - Zubin Mehta

"Mageeba: Do you know what I mean by a relatively free press, Mr. Wagner? Wagner: Not exactly, sir, no. Mageeba: I mean a free press which is edited by one of my relatives." - Tom Stoppard

"Wagner exploited all forms of expression at a composer's disposal - harmony, dynamics, orchestration - to the extreme. His music is highly emotional, and at the same time Wagner has extraordinary control over the effect he achieves." - Daniel Barenboim

"Richard Wagner commenting on the music of Ludvig Van Beethoven: He was a Titan, wrestling with the Gods." - Ludwig Van Beethoven

"The score is doing a lot of work. It's like Wagner. It's like a yak carrying people." - Nico Muhly

"He (Honus Wagner) was the nearest thing to a perfect player no matter where his manager chose to play him." - John Mcgraw

"The way to get a ball past (Honus) Wagner is to hit it eight feet over his head." - John Mcgraw

"...there isn't often anything in Wagner opera that one would call by such a violent name as acting." - Mark Twain

"Everyone says you have to be a specialist, and if you conduct Wagner you cannot conduct Mozart - this is nonsense." - Georg Solti

"Remember, Those who have the gift of faith are growth-oriented, goal-oriented, optimistic, and confident. - C. Peter Wagner." - Phil Pringle

"Did Wagner really accomplish the first step towards the kitschy 'fetishization' of music that reaches its apogee in classical Hollywood?" - Slavoj Zizek

"Wagner used to read the libretti of his operas to his friends; I am glad I was not there." - Ralph Vaughan Williams

"For me Wagner is impossible... he talks without ever stopping. One can't just talk all the time." - Robert Schumann

"I can't listen to that much Wagner, ya know ? I start to get the urge to conquer Poland." - Woody Allen

"There's a man in Mobile who remembers that Honus Wagner hit a triple in Pittsburgh 46 years ago. That's baseball." - Ernie Harwell

"You might say that Richard Wagner was the Queen Victoria of Europe. He had musical children everywhere!" - Zubin Mehta

"I just can't listen to any more Wagner, you know...I'm starting to get the urge to conquer Poland." - Woody Allen

"I am honored to have John Lloyd called the Black Wagner. It is a privilege to have been compared with him." - Honus Wagner

"yes, Wagner and the storm intermix with the wine as nights like this run up my wrists and up into my head and back down into the gut" - Charles Bukowski

"To them belong, not only the truly great statesmen, but all other great reformers as well. Beside Frederick the Great stands Martin Luther as well as Richard Wagner." - Adolf Hitler

"I cannot work and listen to Wagner at the same time, nor Mahler, nor Beethoven's late quartets. I enjoy listening to Chopin's piano music when I work." - I. M. Pei

"In Bach, Beethoven and Wagner we admire principally the depth and energy of the human mind; in Mozart, the divine instinct." - Edvard Grieg

"Most snoring is composed by Beethoven or Wagner, although a few times Wiggs had heard heavy metal rock performed on the somnambulate bassoon." - Tom Robbins

"There are probably many people in Israel who believe that Wagner, who died in 1883, lived in Berlin in 1942 and was friends with Hitler." - Daniel Barenboim

"I maintain that Western popular culture at its best is worthy of respect and should be cherished as much as the operas of Wagner." - Ibn Warraq

"Beethoven, Wagner, Bach, and Mozart settled down day after day to the job in hand. They didn't waste time waiting for inspiration." - Ernest Newman

"I find little in the works of Beethoven, Berlioz, Wagner and others when they are led by a conductor who functions like a windmill." - Franz Liszt

"Is Wagner a human being at all? Is he not rather a disease? He contaminates everything he touches - he has made music sick." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"I thought of America as Natalie Wood and Bob Wagner sprawled on the edge of a Hollywood swimming pool biting into the same red apple." - Bharati Mukherjee

"I name (Honus) Wagner first on my list, not only because he was a great batting champion and base-runner, and also baseball's foremost shortstop, but because Honus (Wagner) could have been first at any other position, with the possible exception of pitcher. In all my career, I never saw such a versatile player." - John Mcgraw

"I think I have a pretty good ear. I mean, even just starting with, like, Austin Powers, where I did young Robert Wagner. People were, like, "How do you imitate Robert Wagner? What does he sound like? What does that even involve?"." - Rob Lowe

"If Wagner lived today, he would probably work with film instead of music. He already knew back then that the Great Art Form would include a sort of fourth dimension; it was really film he was talking about." - Harmony Korine

"I went to the Bach Choir concert and heard Mozart's Requiem. I did not rise warmly to it. Then I heard an extract from Parsifal which I disliked very much. If Bach wriggles, Wagner writhes..." - Samuel Butler

"I wish I could write librettos for the rest of my life. It is the purest of human pleasures, a heavenly hermaphroditism of being both writer and musician. No wonder that selfish beast Wagner kept it all to himself." - Sylvia Townsend Warner

"Ah! My dear friend painting is to us what the music of Berlioz and Wagner was before us - a consolatory art for sore hearts! And yet there are only a few like you and me who feel it!!!" - Vincent Van Gogh

"Up to the age of 14 I had not heard a note of anything before 1750, never heard a note of Bach, never heard anything after Wagner, and never heard any real jazz." - Steve Reich

"Art has become more than painting, sculpture or music: art is more than Van Gogh painting a landscape or Wagner composing an opera. The whole of reality itself has become the object of art." - Paul Virilio

"What terrible harm Wagner did by interspersing his pages of genius with harmonic and modulatory outrages to which both young and old are gradually becoming accustomed and which have procreated d'Indy and Richard Strauss." - Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

"If one has not heard Wagner at Bayreuth, one has heard nothing! Take lots of handkerchiefs because you will cry a great deal! Also take a sedative because you will be exalted to the point of delirium!" - Gabriel Faure

"When you think about a composer you know like Wagner or Pier Boulez or something like that most of the issues a composer is working with are about discreet, notated music that someone else will play." - DJ Spooky

"Run from the Furies, and they find you, as if fear were a homing device, as if literature itself, on contemplating the abyss, were an invitation to jump into it, while Wagner whistles." - John Leonard

"Peter Wagner, my son, just won the Bel-Air Junior Club Championship. Parred the last three holes. One-putts, up and down. Us Wagners don't hit greens. We chip and putt." - Jack Wagner

"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

"I don't think I was ever particularly mean. I can certainly think of some idiotic exchanges I've had. I was accused of destroying pop music, like Wagner destroyed opera - a guy in Germany started ranting that at me." - Elvis Costello

"I am under no illusion that I will ever be the greatest opera composer in the world, with Wagner and Verdi and Strauss before me. I think my work could fit very nicely into musicals, though." - Rufus Wainwright

"And my singing, I don't think I could sing Wagner or opera, but I could probably carry a tune. I was in a musical once, but it was never performed." - Wallace Shawn

"Even though it doesn't look like it, I run. On a treadmill. And I bounce around to all the songs on my iPod - the Pixies, Wagner, Richard and Linda Thompson, even books on tape. Just not self-help ones." - Bill Hader

"My favorite composers are the ones that tell the story. I love Wagner. I love Mahler. Prokofiev. The programmatic music. I listen more to classic rock because I don't like the contemporary music very much." - Patti Lupone

"Renaissance cowboy/raconteur Pop Wagner ...deadpan funny ...his presence is like meeting Woody Guthrie and Will Rogers riding a single, many colored horse. Pop is a kind of 'textile genius' who is able to spin, at once, both yarn and rope." - Ron Miles

"When I was a kid, I looked at art as a way of blending everything. One of my favorite composers is Wagner - who coined the term "gesamtkunstwerk," or "total art work." That's what was going on in the 19th century, and the 20th century just kept it going." - DJ Spooky

"Maybe this is why so many serial killers work in pairs. It's nice not to feel alone in a world full of victims or enemies. It's no wonder Waltraud Wagner, the Austrian Angel of Death, convinced her friends to kill with her. It just seems natural. You and me against the world..." - Chuck Palahniuk

"I love Italian opera - it's so reckless. Damn Wagner, and his bellowings at Fate and death. Damn Debussy, and his averted face. I like the Italians who run all on impulse, and don't care about their immortal souls, and don't worry about the ultimate." - David Herbert Lawrence

"When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing. I told him I wanted to be a real Major League baseball player, a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he'd like to be President of the United States. Neither of us got our wish." - Dwight D Eisenhower

"I love Italian opera - it's so reckless. Damn Wagner, and his bellowings at Fate and death. Damn Debussy, and his averted face. I like the Italians who run all on impulse, and don't care about their immortal souls, and don't worry about the ultimate." - D H Lawrence

"The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Bach and Mozart settled down day after day to the job in hand with as much regularity as an accountant settles down each day to his figures. They didn't waste time waiting for inspiration." - Ernest Newman

"I have witnessed and greatly enjoyed the first act of everything which Wagner created, but the effect on me has always been so powerful that one act was quite sufficient; whenever I have witnessed two acts I have gone away physically exhausted; and whenever I have ventured an entire opera the result has been the next thing to suicide." - Mark Twain

"I felt, "Oh, film is a great art because I can pull in music and visual imagery, and it has its literary aspects and drama." Film was a sort of Wagnerian synthesis of the arts, as opposed to opera, which Wagner had thought would be. That's another art form that has seen its best days." - James Toback

"A lot of musicians are going to have to retrain. It's nonsense to say that traditional classical music is more complex. Contemporary pieces by Harrison Birtwistle are much harder to play than Mozart or Wagner. I know a lot of people don't want to hear that." - Joanna MacGregor

"All things considered, I could never have survived my youth without Wagnerian music. For I seemed condemned to the society of Germans. If a man wishes to rid himself of a feeling of unbearable oppression, he may have to take to hashish. Well, I had to take to Wagner..." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Willingham, waiting in the batters box, Wagner ready, the 1-0 pitch, swing and fly ball to left, Floyd under it, he's there, put it in the books, The New York Mets have won the 2006 National League Eastern Division Championship and the party is under way." - Howie Rose

"They say I was the greatest natural hitter of all time. Well that's saying a lot with hitters like Wagner, Cobb, Speaker and Ruth around. I had good eyes and I guess that was the reason I hit as well as I did. I still don't use glasses today." - Shoeless Joe Jackson

"A culture that gave the world the spiritual creations of the Classical Music of Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner and Schubert, the paintings of Michelangelo, and Raphael, Da Vinci and Rembrandt, does not need lessons from societies whose idea of spirituality is a heaven peopled with female virgins for the use of men, whose idea of heaven resembles a cosmic brothel." - Ibn Warraq

"My greatest experiences in the theatre and the most religious experiences in my life - of which going to the opera is one for me - have been with the Romantic composers' repertoire: it's Wagner, it's Strauss, Verdi, Puccini. That era gets me every time." - Rufus Wainwright

"You have to distinguish between things that seemed odd when they were new but are now quite familiar, such as Ibsen and Wagner, and things that seemed crazy when they were new and seem crazy now, like Finnegans Wake, and Picasso." - Philip Larkin

"Sometimes I have the feeling that you are not quite aware-and this honors you-of the historical greatness of your position, that you think too modestly about yourself. Everything you do is destined to be of historic significance. One day, your letters, your decisions, will belong to all mankind, like those of Wagner and Brahms." - Stefan Zweig

"The so-called second New Deal of 1935 - including the Works Progress Administration, Social Security and the Wagner Act legalizing union labor - represented an effort to meet the rising voices demanding a more aggressive government approach to the collapse of national prosperity." - Robert Dallek

"I was at a banquet, and I went into the ladies' room, and I'm in the stall doing my business, and a piece of paper and pen came from outside the door, and she says, 'Ms. Wagner, would you please sign this for me?' And I said, 'Are you kidding me?'" - Lindsay Wagner

"I think there is no work of art which represents the spirit of a nation more surely than "Die Meister Singer" of Richard Wagner. Here is no plaything with local colour, but the raising to its highest power all that is best in the national consciousness of his country." - Ralph Vaughan Williams

"It always makes me sad when I think of how I saw Wagner wasting his vitality, not only by singing their parts to some of his artists, but acting out the smallest details, and of how few they were who were responsive to his wishes." - Anton Seidl

"I sing in languages that I speak. So when I'm singing a Schubert song, I know precisely what every word means and, you know, when it was composed and who was the poet and all of that and whether Strauss or Wagner or French Belioz, Duparc or Debussy or whatever." - Jessye Norman

"In the heart of the Great Depression, millions of American workers did something they'd never done before: they joined a union. Emboldened by the passage of the Wagner Act, which made collective bargaining easier, unions organized industries across the country, remaking the economy." - James Surowiecki

"I never listen to music when I am writing. It would be impossible. I listen to Bach in the mornings, mostly choral music; also some Handel, mostly songs and arias; I like Schubert's and Beethoven's chamber music and Sibelius' symphonies; for opera, I listen to Mozart and in recent years Wagner." - Colm Toibin

"My wife was an opera singer, you know. She bellowed her way through Wagner as a Valkyrie. I married her and made her give up the theatre, to my eternal cost. She was to go on acting for myself alone. A performance at his own expense, lasting for more than twenty years, tends to wear out your spectator." - Jean Anouilh

"What a wonderful work Wagner has done for humanity in translating the toil of life into the readable script of music! For those who seek the tale of other worlds his magic is silent; but earth-travail under his wand becomes instinct with rhythmic song to an accompaniment of the elements, and the blare and crash of the bottomless pit itself." - Richard Wagner

"You have to distinguish between things that seemed odd when they were new but are now quite familiar, such as Ibsen and Wagner, and things that seemed crazy when they were new and seem crazy now, like 'Finnegans Wake' and Picasso." - Philip Larkin

"I was so naive in radio technique that I knew nothing about timing. I would write pages on Honus Wagner and then get only half through by the time the show ended. I eventually learned, but there was nobody there to school me." - Waite Hoyt

"Science would not be what it is if there had not been a Galileo, a Newton or a Lavoisier, any more than music would be what it is if Bach, Beethoven and Wagner had never lived. The world as we know it is the product of its geniuses-and there may be evil as well as beneficent genius-and to deny that fact, is to stultify all history, whether it be that of the intellectual or the economic world." - Norman Robert Campbell

"Thankfully, it is getting better for women composers. We now have five women Pulitzer Prize winners in music since 1983: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Shulamit Ran, Melinda Wagner, Jennifer Higdon, and Caroline Shaw. When Marin Alsop was asked what it felt like to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, she said, "I am exceedingly proud to be 'the first' but I am also a bit shocked that there can still be firsts for women in 2013!"" - Barbara Harbach

"I don't know if you've ever seen this film called Elite Squad, which, actually Wagner [Moura] is the one narrating that. Jose Padilha, one of creators of our show, that's where the style comes from. It has a heavy narrator. But I thought about it a lot. You [the viewers] have to work for the show, unless you're bilingual. It's a really aggressive type of filming, it's engaging, you've got to read." - Boyd Holbrook

"What stands most explicitly as critique in Nietzsche's late work in not a development from earlier interests but a return to two problems of enduring personal involvement for him, those of Wagner and of Christianity. Der Antichrist , to take one case, is not a response to a resuscitating public interest in Christian religion; it is primarily a renewed attempt to resolve for himself the question of piety." - John Carroll

"Delacroix , Wagner , Baudelaire all great theorists, bent on dominating other minds by sensuous means. Their one dream was to create the irresistible effect to intoxicate, or overwhelm. They looked to analysis to provide them with the keyboard on which to play, with certainty, on man's emotions, and they sought in abstract meditation they key to sure and certain action upon their subject man's nervous and psychic being." - Charles Baudelaire

"When I was a small boy growing up in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing and as we sat there in the warmth of a summer afternoon on a riverbank we talked about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I told him that I wanted to be a real major-league baseball player, a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he'd like to be President of the United States. Neither of us got our wish." - Dwight D Eisenhower

"My own duty as a not so much to interpret Beethoven, Wagner, or other masters of the past, but to give what encouragement I can to the young musicians of America. I...hope that just as this nation has already surpassed so many others in marvelous inventions and feats of engineering and commerce, and has made an honorable place for itself in literature in one short century, so it must assert itself on of music...To bring about this result, we must trust the very youthful enthusiasm and patriotism of this country." - Antonin Dvorak

"Beethoven and Wagner for many years wrung our hearts. But now we are sated with them and derive much greater pleasure from ideally combining the noise of streetcars, internal-combustion engines, automobiles, and bust crowds than from rehearsing, for example, the 'Eroica' or the 'Pastorale'...away! les ust be gone, since we shall not much longer succeed in restraining a desire to create a new musical realism by a generous distribution of sonorous blows and slaps, leaping numbly over violins, pianofortes, contrabasses, and groaning organs, Away!" - Luigi Russolo

"One day he [Wagner] was batting against a young pitcher who had just come into the league. The catcher was a kid, too . The pitcher threw Honus a curve ball, and he swung at it and missed and fell down. Looked helpless as a robin. I was kind of surprised, but the guy sitting next to me poked me in the ribs and said, 'Watch this next one.' Those kids figured they had the old man's weakness, you see, and served him up the same dish - as he knew they would. Well, Honus hit a line drive so hard the fence in left field went back and forth for five minutes." - Burleigh Grimes