Artur Schnabel

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Thomas L. Holdcroft
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Artur Schnabel (1882-04-171951-08-15) was a pianist and composer, born in Lipnik in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Lipniki in Poland). He moved to Britain and then America, becoming a US citizen in 1944.


  • Applause is a receipt, not a note of demand.
    • Saturday Review of Literature September 29, 1951.
    • Explaining why he never played encores.
  • The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes – ah, that is where the art resides.
    • Quoted in the Chicago Daily News, June 11, 1958.

My Life and Music (1961)

  • I am attracted only to music which I consider to be better than it can be performed. Therefore I feel (rightly or wrongly) that unless a piece of music presents a problem to me, a never-ending problem, it doesn't interest me too much.
    • Page 121.
    • Often misquoted as "Great music is better than it can be performed".
  • Children are given Mozart because of the small quantity of the notes; grown-ups avoid Mozart because of the great quality of the notes.
    • Page 122.
  • I know two kinds of audience only – one coughing, and one not coughing.
    • Page 202.

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