Stravinsky and Sibelius

It’s coming up on 11:00 PM and I’m suffering from a bit of eye strain, but it’s still not too late for a Music Monday. So I’m going to hand it over to two great composers doing some trash-talking about music critics.

Robert Craft: What do you mean when you say that critics are incompetent?

Igor Stravinsky: I mean that they are not even equipped to judge one’s grammar. They do not see how a musical phrase is constructed, do not know how music is written; they are incompetent in the technique of the contemporary musical language. Critics misinform the public and delay comprehension. Because of critics many valuable things come too late.

— Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft, Conversations with Igor Stravinsky (London: Faber and Faber, 1959), 107.

And more succinctly:

Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.

– Jean Sibelius

Any questions? 😆

Stravinsky placing flowers at Sibelius’ grave in Finland, 1961:


2 thoughts on “Stravinsky and Sibelius

  1. Yeah – nice approach – critics – blechh – Teddy Roosevelt also had an often quoted comment about critics and boxers in the ring – but I like these

    • artmodel says:


      I looked up the Teddy Roosevelt quote and boy was it worth it! I assume this is the one you were referring to:

      “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

      Good stuff. Thanks for commenting!


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