Ich weiß für mich, dass ich, solang ich mein Erlebnis in Worten zusammenfassen kann, gewiss keine Musik hierüber machen wuerde.
If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.
Variant: For myself I know that, as long as I can summarize my experience in words, I would certainly not make any music about it.
Letter to Max Marschall (1896-03-26)
The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause.
A symphony must be like the world. It must embrace everything.
The longer you live and the more you learn, the more clearly you will feel the difference between the few men who are truly great and the mere virtuosi.
Don't bother looking at the view — I have already composed it.
If you think you're boring your audience, go slower not faster.
The important thing is never to let oneself be guided by the opinion of one's contemporaries; to continue steadfastly on one's way without letting oneself be either defeated by failure or diverted by applause.
What's best in music is not to be found in the notes.
Was ihr Theaterleute euere Tradition nennt, das ist nichts anderes als eure Bequemlichkeit und Schlamperei.
What the theater folks call tradition is nothing more than their laziness and sloppiness.
You couldn't imagine how this will sound!
To Natalie Bauer-Lechner of his third symphony
Try to imagine the whole universe beginning to ring and resound.
On the finale of his eighth symphony "Res Severa Verum Gaudia" (To Be Serious is the Greatest Joy)