Last modified on 14 September 2014, at 12:17

Giuseppe Verdi

To copy the truth can be a good thing, but to invent the truth is better.

Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (c. 1813-10-09 – 1901-01-27) was an Italian composer, responsible for many of the greatest operas of the 19th century, including Il trovatore, La traviata, Un ballo in maschera, Don Carlos, Aida and Otello.

QuotesEdit

  • Tornate all'antico e sarà un progresso.
    • Let us turn to the past: that will be progress.
    • Letter to Francesco Florimo, January 5, 1871, cited from Francesco Florimo Riccardo Wagner ed i wagneristi (Ancona: A. G. Morelli, 1883) p. 108; translation from Charles Osborne (ed. and trans.) Letters of Giuseppe Verdi (London: Victor Gollancz, 1971) p. 169.
  • Io non posso ammettere, né nei cantanti, né nei direttori la facoltà di creare, che come dissi prima, è un principio che conduce all'abisso.
    • I deny that either singers or conductors can "create" or work creatively – this, as I have always said, is a conception that leads to the abyss.
    • Letter to Giulio Ricordi, April 11, 1871, cited from Franco Abbiati Giuseppe Verdi (Milano: Ricordi, 1959) vol. 3, p. 448; translation from Franz Werfel and Paul Stefan (eds.), Edward Downes (trans.) Verdi: The Man in His Letters (New York: L. B. Fischer, 1942) pp. 301-2.
  • Io…vorrei che il giovane quando si mette a scrivere, non pensasse mai ad essere né melodista, né realista, né idealista, né avvenirista, né tutti i diavoli che si portino queste pedanterie. La melodia e l’armonia non devono essere che mezzi nella mano dell'artista per fare della Musica, e se verrà un giorno in cui non si parlerà più né di melodia né di armonia né di scuole tedesche, italiane, né di passato né di avvenire ecc. ecc. ecc. allora forse comincierà il regno dell'arte.
    • I wish that every young man when he begins to write music would not concern himself with being a melodist, a harmonist, a realist, an idealist or a futurist or any other such devilish pedantic things. Melody and harmony should be simply tools in the hands of the artist, with which he creates music; and if a day comes when people stop talking about the German school, the Italian school, the past, the future, etc., etc., then art will perhaps come into its own.
    • Letter to Opprandino Arrivabene, July 14, 1875, cited from Julian Budden Le opere di Verdi (Torino: E.D.T., 1986) vol. 2, p. 60; translation from Josiah Fisk and Jeff Nichols (eds.) Composers on Music (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1997) p. 126
  • Copiare il vero può essere una buona cosa, ma inventare il vero è meglio, molto meglio.
    • To copy the truth can be a good thing, but to invent the truth is better, much better.
    • Letter to Clara Maffei, October 20, 1876, cited from James P. Cassaro (ed.) Music, Libraries and the Academy (Middleton, Wisconsin: A-R Editions, 2007) p. 218; translation from the same source.
  • Si rinunci per moda, per smania di novità, per affettazione di scienza, si rinneghi l'arte nostra, il nostro istinto, quel nostro fare sicuro spontaneo naturale sensibile abbagliante di luce, è assurdo e stupido.
    • If we let fashion, love of innovation, and an alleged scientific spirit tempt us to surrender the native quality of our own art, the free natural certainty of our work and perception, our bright golden light, then we are simply being stupid and senseless.
    • Letter to Clarina Maffei, April 20, 1878, cited from Franco Abbiati Giuseppe Verdi (Milano: Ricordi, 1959) vol. 4, p. 79; translation from Franz Werfel and Paul Stefan (eds.), Edward Downes (trans.) Verdi: The Man in His Letters (New York: L. B. Fischer, 1942) p. 345.
  • Gli artisti veramente superiori giudicano senza pregiudizi di scuole, di nazionalità, di tempo. Se gli artisti del Nord e del Sud hanno tendenze diverse, è bene siano diverse.
    • Really superior artists judge without being prejudiced by school, nationality or period. If the artists of north and south exhibit different tendencies, it is good that they are different!
    • Letter to Hans von Bülow, April 14, 1892, cited from Franco Abbiati Giuseppe Verdi (Milano: Ricordi, 1959) vol. 4, p. 440; translation from Charles Osborne (ed. and trans.) Letters of Giuseppe Verdi (London: Victor Gollancz, 1971) p. 249.


MisattributedEdit

  • Avrai tu l'universo, resti l'Italia a me.
    • You may have the universe if I may have Italy.
    • This is from Verdi's Attila, Prologue, sc. 1, but the words are by Verdi's librettist Temistocle Solera; translation from Michael A. Musmanno The Story of the Italians in America (New York: Doubleday, 1965) p. 255.

External linksEdit

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