"The piece dies a natural death. It dies of old age."

"I find that as the piece gets longer, there has to be less material. That the piece itself, strangely enough, cannot take it. It has nothing to do with my patience. I don't know, my patience, how far it goes, you know. And I don't think about what your patience would be. I don't know that. In other words, I don't have a kind of psychological situation. Let's put it this way. I don't have an anxiety that I've got to stop. But there's less going into it, so I think the piece dies a natural death. It dies of old age."

Morton Feldman (Selected Interviews and Lectures, 1964-1987)

Rossini: "The best time to compose an overture"

From a letter, addressee and date unknown.

"Wait until the evening before opening night. Nothing primes inspiration more than necessity, whether it be the presence of a copyist waiting for your work or the prodding of an impresario tearing his hair. In my time, all the impresarios in Italy were bald at thirty. 

"I composed the overture to Otello in a little room in the Barbaja palace wherein the baldest and fiercest of directors had forcibly locked me with a lone plate of spaghetti and the threat that I would not be allowed to leave the room alive until I had written the last note.

"I wrote the overture to La Gazza Ladra the day of its opening, in the theater itself, where I was imprisoned by the director and under the surveillance of four stagehands who were instructed to throw my original text out the window, page by page, to the copyists waiting below to transcribe it. In default of pages, they were ordered to throw me out the window.

“I did better with The Barber. I did not compose an overture, but selected for it one that was meant for a semi-serious opera called Elisabeta. The public was completely satisfied.

“I composed the overture to Contra Ory while fishing, with my feet in the water, and in comapny of Signor Agnado, who talked of Spanish finance. The overture for William Tell was composed under more or less similar circumstances. And as for Mose, I did not write one.”

Godowsky: Piano sonata

And, separately: Marc-Andre Hamelin on his relationship with the piece:

“Living in Canada, it wasn’t terribly easy to find Godowsky’s music. He found some of it in music stores in Montreal, and he made a trip to New York in 1970 and he found a great deal more: there was a music dealer who had a lot of second-hand stuff that had originally belonged to a couple of members of Godowsky’s entourage. And I helped him over the years with whatever else I found.

“But for some reason he’d never been able to secure a copy of the Sonata because he’d never seen it. And he finally went as far as requesting a photocopy of it from the Library of Congress. Not only that, but also a copy of the manuscript, and the sketches. He had to obtain permission from Godowsky’s son. And that’s how he found it.

“Only much, much later, like in the early 1990s, was I able to get an actual copy of it. An original. And at that point, the only recording that existed was on LP, and it was only the first movement. It was played by a lady named Doris Pines, who I don’t think is performing anymore. But this is the early 70s, it’s on the Genesis label. From the very, very little I knew of it, it always seemed to me like it was a work which started very interestingly and that the interest dwindled with each movement. But that was a very uninformed opinion on my part; I mean I really hadn’t delved into it.

“But in 2000, I suddenly got a request. My Godowsky étude recordings had just come out, and I got a letter from Robert Lienau, the original publishers of the Sonata, asking me whether I would write a preface to it because they were going to reprint it. I procrastinated because I didn’t really know the work. So they asked a friend of mine, a musicologist, to write the preface, and that was fine. But their request did cause me to take a second look at the piece. And as I was reading the first movement, I was thinking “Yes, this is really good.” And I was reading the other movements and saying “Oh yeah, this has possibilities.” And already, the thought of a possible relationship with the piece was formed.”