It has been said that Brahms was a cruel man. But many mediocre men are
cruel and Brahms was a very gifted master and (as Beethoven) liked to make
jokes on behalf of some of his coleagues as Bruch and Bruckner.
To Tchaikovsky, he was a very crude critic, as the russian master was of
Bruckner seamt a stupid man to his contemporaries, a very naive and
unsophisticated person, humble as a beggar, but a very great symphonist and
religious music composer
Liszt was a "plaboy", Rossini was a very jelaous envious person, Wagner
was a real scoundrel, and Bach was a saint.
Tchaikovsky was very humble, but inspired great respect and musicians
were mesmerized by his personality when handling the baton.
Even to this day Tchaikovsky s critics feel embarrased when looking to
his monuments or listening the greatest interpreters performing his
He is and always will remain one of earth's greatest creators.
Alberto Sáenz Enríquez
Dear Professor Enríquez,
Tchaikovsky "is and always will remain one of earth's greatest creators."
The great composers seem to have been sniping at each other since the
time of Mozart. As you say, Beethoven could be cruel. He told a rival
composer: "I liked your opera. I'm thinking of setting it to music."
Debussy thought very highly of Grieg, but that didn't stop him from
describing the Lyric Pieces as "pink bon-bons stuffed with snow."
Liszt described a shopping trip he'd taken with Chopin in the following
terms: "He hoped to buy some furniture, but he couldn't find what he wanted,
so of course we're in for a full fortnight of depression and 'nerves'."
Wagner of course was an absolutely horrible human being, despite also
being one of earth's greatest creators. But even Wagner could be funny, as
when he wrote of Brahms: "I know famous composers whom you can meet at
concert masquerades, one day in the guise of a ballad singer, the next in
Handel's Hallelujah wig, another time as a Jewish csardas player, and then
again as genuine symphonists dressed up as number ten."
Mozart remarked about a rival composer: "His new sonata isn't totally
devoid of merit, but I happen to know that he was up all night sweating over
It amused Mahler to refer to his 8th Symphony as 'The Barnum and Bailey
Show'. Having heard that Sibelius had described his own 3rd Sympony as
having "nothing, absolutely nothing of the circus about it", Mahler's retort
was that the symphonies of Sibelius were "antediluvian monstrosities."
Finally, Stravinsky said of Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony: "Any fool
could write that, given enough music paper and an inexhaustible supply of
Each one of these brilliantly gifted individuals could have had a
successful career on the stage if he'd run out of inspiration.