- The duty of the words is to say just as much as the music has left unsaid and no more.
- Art for art's sake has never flourished in England. We are often called inartistic because our art is unconscious. Our drama and poetry, like our laws and our constitution, have evolved by accident while we thought we were doing something else, and so it will be with music. The composer must not shut himself up and think about art, he must live with his fellows and make his art an expression of the whole life of the community - if we seek for art we shall not find it.
- Before going any further may we take it that the object of art is to obtain a partial revelation of that which is beyond human senses and human faculties - of that, in fact, which is spiritual? And that the means which we employ to induce this revelation are those very senses and faculties themselves?
- The art of music above all the other arts is the expression of the soul of a nation.
- The business of finding a nation's soul is a long and slow one at the best and a great many prophets must be slain in the course of it. Perhaps when we have slain enough prophets future generations will begin to build their tombs.
- I don't know whether I like it, but it's what I meant.
- The audience is requested not to refrain from talking during the overture. Otherwise they will know all the tunes before the opera begins.
- The attitude of foreign to English musicians is unsympathetic, self-opinionated and pedantic. They believe that their tradition is the only one (this is specially true of the Viennese) and that anything that is not in accordance with that tradition is 'wrong' and arises from insular ignorance.
- Film composing is a splendid discipline, and I recommend a course of it to all composition teachers whose pupils are apt to be dawdling in their ideas, or whose every bar is sacred and must not be cut or altered.
- Film contains potentialities for the combination of all the arts such as Wagner never dreamt of.
- There [is] a feeling of recognition, as of meeting an old friend, which comes to us all in the face of great artistic experiences. I had the same experience when I first heard an English folksong, when I first saw Michelangelo's Day and Night, when I suddenly came upon Stonehenge or had my first sight of New York City - the intuition that I had been there already.
- In the next world, I shan't be doing music, with all the striving and disappointments. I shall be being it.
ralph vaughan williams