It’s well documented that in the classical music realm, the egos that accompany the talent can get a little out of control. Here we’ve collected 20 harsh insults that great composers gave to other great composers.
1. Tchaikovsky on Brahms “Brahms is just some chaotic and utterly empty wasteland.” Source 2. Beethoven on Rossini “Opera seria is ill-suited to the italians. you do not know how to deal with real drama.” Source 3. Rossini on Wagner’s Lohengrin “One can’t judge Wagner’s opera Lohengrin after a first hearing, and i certainly don’t intend hearing it a second time.” Source 4. Prokofiev on Stravinsky “Bach on the wrong notes.” Source 5. Stravinsky on Rachmaninov “He was a six and a half foot scowl.” 6. Berlioz on Handel “A great barrel of pork and beer.” Source 7. Clara Schumann on Liszt “That is just meaningless noise – not a single healthy idea anymore, everything confused, a clear harmonic progression is not to be found here any longer.” Source 8. Vaughan Williams on Mahler “A very tolerable imitation of a composer.” Source 9. Bizet on Wagner “He is endowed with such insolent conceit that criticism cannot touch his heart – admitting that he has a heart, which I doubt. ” Source 10. Schoenberg on Strauss “The expressions he uses are as banal as a cheap song.” Source 11. Fauré on Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major “Truncated, ill-balanced, and, in a nutshell, a failure.” Source 12. Saint-Saëns on Debussy “He cultivated an absence of style, logic, and common sense.” Source 13. Mendelssohn on Berlioz “Indifferent drivel, mere grunting, shouting and screaming back and forth.” Source 14. Tchaikovsky on Borodin “He can’t compose a single line without somebody’s help.” Source 15. Brahms on Liszt “The compositions are getting more and more terrible..my fingers often itch to pick an argument, and to write anti-Liszt. ” Source 16. Schumann on Wagner “He cannot write or think out four consecutive bars of beautiful, or even good music.” Source 17. Copland on Vaughan Williams “Listening to the fifth symphony of ralph vaughan williams is like starring at a cow for 45 minutes.” Source 18. Stravinsky on Messiaen “All you need to write like him is a large bottle of ink.” Source 19. Louis Schneider on Debussy’s La Mer “The audience expected the Ocean. Something big, something colossal, but they were served instead with some agitated water in a saucer. ” Source 20. Britten on Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress “I liked the Opera very much. Everything but the music. ” Source