The Quotations of Eugene Ormandy
As collected by the members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
- Now we will play something we have never played before. I didn't mean
that. Mahler wrote it as the 3rd Movement of his 4th Symphony. I mean the
4th Movement of his 1st Symphony - we play it third. The trumpet solo will
be played by our solo trumpet player. It's named "Blumine" - which has
something to do with flowers.
- With us tonight is William Warfield, who is with us tonight.
- ... He is a wonderful man and so is his wife.
- (On the occasion of the death of David Oistrakh) I told him he'd have a
heart attack a year ago, but unfortunately he lived a year longer.
- I conduct faster here so you can see my beat.
- The next movement is still in the factory.
- Think of your girlfriend or boyfriend or whomever you want to.
- At every concert I've sensed a certain insecurity about the tempo.
It's clearly marked quarter note = 80, uhh, 69.
- All of you are ready to start so I must be ready.
- It's not important. It's only important when it's late.
- It's difficult to remember when you haven't played it before.
- I'm conducting slowly because I don't know the tempo.
- I don't want to repeat this 100 times. When you see crescendo, it
- I cannot give it to you so try to watch me.
- I was trying to help you so I was beating wrong.
- The minute you slow down a fraction, you're behind.
- I wrote it the right way so it was copied the wrong way right - I mean
the right way wrong.
- Who is sitting in that empty chair?
- Bass Clarinetist: What note do I have?
EO: The score is written out the way you hear it the way you play it - and
I have to transpose back to normal.
- Tubist: Long note?
EO: Yes, make it seem short.
- I guess you thought I was conducting, but I wasn't.
- The notes are right, but if I listened they would be wrong.
- You have to do two things. Watch it and me.
- Even if the right instruments are not here, we will play it anyway.
It's only a short piece.
- I am thinking it right but beating it wrong.
- I can conduct it better than I count.
- Intonation is important, especially when it is cold.
- It is not together, but the ensemble is perfect.
- Don't ever follow me because I am difficult.
- I purposely gave you a slower tempo, because I did not know what the
right one was.
- Suddenly I was in the right tempo -- but it wasn't.
- Brass, stay down all Summer.
- My bowings are only general.
- After two minutes after this time, and I am already there.
- This is one bar you should take home.
- I never know where I am.
- Tonight is the night when 300 years ago Johann Strauss was born.
That's why this year is important.
- Something went wrong. It was correct when I studied it.
- There was confusion since I stood here 35 years ago.
- During the rests -- pray.
- It has no rhythm, but it will because it's so much faster.
- Don't play louder, just give it more.
- I don't get into politics, general or musical, but just call me if you
get jury duty. Even in New Jersey I was able to help somebody.
- More basses because you are so far away.
- Relax. Don't be nervous. My God, it's the Philadelphia Orchestra!
- You're looking at me so strangely.
- I purposely didn't do anything and you were all behind.
- It can either be too soon or too late or not together.
- I go forward in tempo.
- There is a shadow on every page.
- You know who you are.
- EO: To the Woodwinds: There are no woodwinds at Number 6.
Woodwinds: We're at number 15.
EO: I know. that is why.
- Start 4 and be 42.
- Did you play? It sounded very good.
- I never say what I mean but I always manage to say something similar.
- EO: Percussion a little louder
Percussion: We don't have anything.
EO: That's right, play it louder.
- As pp as possible -- even softer.
- That C major chord is always out of tune. I don't know why -- it can't
- Let me explain what I do here. I don't want to confuse you any more
than absolutely necessary.
- That's the way Stravinsky was -- Bup, bup, bup - The poor guy's dead
now. Play it legato.
- (To William Smith) Did you play?
EO: I know. I heard you.
- Why do you always insist on playing while I'm trying to conduct?
- We can't hear the balance yet because the soloist is still on the
- I think one thing and say another.
- It's hot as hell as can be.
- Start at B. No. Yes. No. Yes. NO.
- Congratulations to each and every one of you for the concert last night
in New York and vice versa.
- Watch me closely -- only one can spoil it.
- Accelerando means in tempo. Don't rush.
- It's so legato it's difficult to splice. Sibelius was famous for that.
- I can see none of you are smugglers, that's why it's so loud.
- You notice I go faster and slower, faster and slower. It is all in
relation to the previous tempo.
- The tempo remains pp.
- Without him here, it is impossible to know how fast he will play it,
- We do not know when he is coming. He is coming tomorrow.
- Someone came too sooner.
- After one performance it will be perfect.
- That's the way it was every time I studied it.
- Serkin was so sick he almost died for three days.
- We have to play it longer because there are no numbers or letters.
- Thank you for your cooperation and vice versa.
- Don't think you are looking at me because you are not.
- I mean what I meant.
- I don't mean to make you nervous but unfortunately I have to.
- Even when you are not playing, you are holding me back.
- Not one of you told me I was too slow - I know I was too slow - why
didn't you tell me?
- He was listening so I don't remember.
- I know this music from memory, not from the music.
- I always feel I do it too slow, but then others do it faster.
- Chorus, I am sorry you have to stand so long, but can you stand again?
- Beauty is less important than quality.
- there is a number missing. I can see it.
- That was perfect. It was just the opposite from what I said yesterday.
- Please follow me because I have to follow him and he isn't here.
- I need one more bass less.
- Yes, the mutes are already on. You took them off in the beginning.
- I am glad you asked me, or am.
- You know me. I'm a maniac when it comes to rhythm.
- I forgive you for shaving yourself.
- It is not as difficult as I thought it was, but it is harder than it
- It's marked accelerando, so you push ahead.
- Q: is that a G or a G# Maestro?
- Why do you always start after my beat then rush to catch up? Do you
want us to stay behind?
- (Before walking on stage) Is the audience all here?
- Tonight I'm going to listen with my ears.
- Muti is going to do the Alpine Symphony this year. He will do it well
because it is not very well known.
- I will beat in six because of the distance.
- It's all very well to have principles, but when it comes to money, you
have to be flexible.
- (In reference to Willy Knappell's death) Death is an awful thing. I
don't believe in it myself.
- (To Kendall Betts) When you have those dark glasses on, I can't tell
whether you're looking at me or doubling.
- Bizet was a very young man when he composed this symphony, so play it
- Start three bars before something.
- Write it down in your own handwriting.
- (To the horns) The trouble is not with you; it is with me. I have to
catch him and then it is too late.
- Let's start at 35 because I don't know where it is.
- This is a very democratic organization, so let's take a vote. All
those who disagree with me, raise their hands.
- (To Cindy Williams, violinist) I don['t think I've ever met you. Are
- If you don't have it in your part, leave it out because there is enough