When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer – say traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep – it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best, and most abundantly. Whence and how they come, I know not, nor can I force them.

-Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


  1. That is a lovely Mozart quote I have never seen. I just reread two books on writing–Stephen King’s On Writing, and Ray Bradbury’s Zen And The Art of Writing.
    They both write about “the muse.” King describes his as smoking a cigar
    in the basement and mostly uttering grunts from time-to-time, while
    Bradbury writes about “feeding a muse,” and “focusing beyond the muse.”
    I had never thought of the muse as one’s subconscious, but Bradbury
    essentially thinks that’s what it is. He says he just laughs when
    people want to know “where he gets his ideas.” He is amazed that people
    think it is something that comes from without, when it is something
    that you find within.

    I have always been amused by George Szell’s comment that Mahler and
    Bruckner are considered together beause they both wrote long
    symphonies, they both wrote nine symphnies, they both hailed from the
    Austro-Hungarian Empire, and both names ended on ‘er.’ He said they
    couldn’t have been more dissimilar.

     While Mahler was a searcher, a deeply intellectual person who was
    intererested in the latest ideas of his time,  Szell said that
    Bruckner could only be described as “the innocent receptacle of divine

     I don’t think Mozart was “innocent,” but he too was a “receptacle of divine grace.”

    I also love Colin Davis’s comments regarding the Requiem. He
    said that someone like Mozart could well have been aware that his life
    was coming to an end, and though his membership in the Masonic lodge
    implied criticism of the Catholic Church you can still hear the fear of
    death in the Dies Irae. I’m just beginning to read H.C. Robbins Landon’s 1791: Mozart’s Last Year, so I may have more to say on this topic soon.

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Please do fill me in on anything that you feel would be of interest from the Robbins book. If you find any quotes you want to share, I want to hear those too!

    I wouldn’t pair Mahler and Bruckner either. But of course that “er” does make them awfully alike!

    And I love “the innocent receptacle of divine grace.” I think I actually might put Mozart in that category. Not that he was innocent in his living, from all I’ve heard, but that he was innocent *of* the divine grace that he was receiving. (Am I making sense?)

    Nice to hear from you!