(and from a few others)

Home 9 Composers 9 Larry Nickel 9 COMPOSER QUOTES

This is a somewhat “private” page – by Larry Nickel, who is a Christian (a Christ follower under construction). Larry says, “As a composer, I’m in good company – read the quotes below. Did you know that over 90% of the most monumental choral works are written about God and for God’s glory by composers who were committed believers?  See here.  However, I believe that all good things come from God, that we are all God’s children – (whether we believe in God or not) – and so I’ve heard amazing music by people who don’t believe in God at all. It’s all created from the same source – the Great Creator.”


Silence is the pause in me when I am near to God.
Arvo Pärt

God, for me, is manifest, and my conception of music derives from this conviction. God being present in all things, music dealing with theological subjects can and must be extremely varied. 2) I’m a composer because I love music, and a Christian because I believe. 3) I’ve imposed the truths of the Faith on the concert room. 4) My faith is the grand drama of my life. I’m a believer, so I sing words of God to those who have no faith.
Olivier Messiaen

The further one separates himself from the precepts of the Christian Church, the further one distances himself from the truth. Only God can create. I make music from music.
Igor Stravinsky

Most of the forward movements of life in general … have been the work of essentially religiously-minded people.
Charles Ives

Why should we not enter into our inheritance in the church as well as the concert hall?
Ralph Vaughan Williams

The Spirit of God is not something less than God, – it is God.
Edward Elgar

The end of all good music is to affect the soul. 2) The modern composer builds upon the foundation of truth. 3) Music is spiritual. The music business is not.
Claudio Monteverdi

Do not wonder that I am so religious.  An artist who is not could not produce anything like this.  2) I like praying there at the window when I look out on the green and at the sky. I study with the birds, flowers, God and myself.
Antonin Dvorak

In my study I can lay my hand on the Bible in the pitch dark. 2) All truly inspired ideas come from God. 3) The powers from which all truly great composers like Mozart, Schubert, Bach and Beethoven drew their inspirations is the same power that enabled Jesus to do his miracles.
Johannes Brahms

Someday I will have to give an account of myself.  How would the Father in Heaven judge me if I followed others and not Him?
Anton Bruckner

My purpose in writing cantatas is not so much to comfort the believer but rather to arouse the potential convert.
Cesar Frank

Christianity’s founder was not only wise, but divine.  To believe in Him means to emulate Him, to hope for redemption, to strive for union with Him.  2) I am convinced that there are universal currents of Divine Thought vibrating the ether everywhere and that any who can feel these vibrations is inspired.
Richard Wagner

I pray to God that He may powerfully illumine your heart through His faith and His love. You may scoff at this feeling as bitterly as you like. I cannot fail to see and desire in it the only salvation. Through Christ alone, through resigned suffering in God, salvation and rescue come to us. 2) The ardent longing for the Cross, and the elevation of the Cross have always been my true, my innermost vocation. 3) Music’s purpose is “to ennoble, to comfort, to purify man, to bless and praise God.”
Franz Liszt

Oh, how good God is!
Frederic Chopin

The impressions of the spiritual experiences gave my future life its form and content.
Gustav Mahler

“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist. 2) Nature best teaches how to pray, and how to reverence all the gifts the Almighty has given us. She is like a vast outspread handkerchief, embroidered with God’s eternal name, on which we may dry alike our tears of sorrow and of joy; she turns weeping into ecstasy, and fills our hearts with speechless, quiet reverence and resignation.
Robert Schumann

Pray to God that He might create is us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us.
Felix Mendelsohn

It sometimes seems to me as if I do not belong to this world at all.  2) I deplore music that engenders in people not love but madness: which rouses them to scornful laughter instead of lifting their thoughts to God.
Franz Schubert

1) In whatsoever manner it be, let me turn to God and become fruitful in good works.  2) Nothing higher exists than to approach God more than other people and from that to extend His glory among humanity. 3) I will place all my confidence in your eternal goodness, O God! My soul shall rejoice in Thee, immutable Being. Be my rock, my light, forever my trust.  Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.
Ludwig van Beethoven

The vibrations on the air are the breath of God speaking to man’s soul. Music is the language of God. We musicians are as close to God as man can be. We hear his voice, we read his lips, we give birth to the children of God, who sing his praise. That’s what musicians are.
Ludwig van Beethoven

God is ever before my eyes.  I realize his omnipotence and I fear His anger; but I also recognize his compassion, and His tenderness towards His creatures.
Wolfgang Mozart

Let us put our trust in God and console ourselves with the thought that all is well, if it is in accordance with the will of the Almighty, as He knows best what is profitable and beneficial to our temporal happiness and our eternal salvation.
Wolfgang Mozart

Since God has given me a cheerful heart, He will forgive me for serving Him cheerfully.
Franz Joseph Haydn

Never was I so devout as when I composed The Creation. I knelt down each day to pray to God to give me strength for my work….When I was working on The Creation I felt so impregnated with Divine certainty, that before sitting down to the piano, I would quietly and confidently pray to God to grant me the talent that was needed to praise Him worthily.
Franz Joseph Haydn

It pleased the Almighty, to whose great will Holy Will I submit myself with Christian submission.
George Frederic Handel

I shudder to think of that God would do something like that through me…. (reflecting on the Messiah)
George Frederic Handel

Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with his gracious presence. 2) Music’s only purpose should be for the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit. 3) Music is an agreeable harmony for the honour of God and the permissible delights of the soul.
Johann Sebastian Bach

I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.
Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach frequently initialed his blank manuscript pages with the marking, ‘J.J.’ (‘Help me, Jesus’) or I.N.J. (‘In the name of Jesus’). At the manuscript end, Bach routinely initialed the letters S.D.G. (‘Soli Deo Gloria’, ‘To God alone, the glory’).

Next to the Word of God – music deserves the highest praise.  She is mistress and governess of those human emotions – to pass over the animals – which govern men as masters or, more often, overwhelm them.  No greater commendation than this can be found – at least, not by us. For whether you wish to comfort the sad, to terrify the happy, to encourage the despairing, to humble the proud, to calm the passionate, or to appease those full of hate – and who could number all these masters of the human heart, namely, the emotions, inclinations, and affections that impel men to evil or good? – what more effective means than music could you find?
Martin Luther

The relation between practical and spiritual spheres in music is obvious, if only because it demands ears, finger, consciousness and intellect.
Luciano Berio

I am a religious person…restoring the legato of life. Life divides man into many pieces. There is no weightier occupation than
the recomposition of spiritual integrity through the composition of music.”
Sofia Gubaidulina – Russian composer

My way towards God has been to write music. 2) I’ve been very lucky all my life because the writing and the faith seem to go together. 3) I always go back to what Plato said, that Heaven and Earth were once joined and there was one single primordial being, God.
John Tavener

May God be with me! May Heaven bless this New Year. May it be a year of fruitfulness, of peace and prosperity; may it be a year of peace and unity for all mankind; may the world be freed of cholera.
Giacomo Meyerbeer

Sincere composers believe in God.
John Philip Sousa

Music is God’s gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven.
Walter Savage Landor

If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: ‘The only proof he needed for the existence of God was music.
Kurt Vonnegut

It may well be that some composers do not believe in God. All of them, however, believe in Bach
Béla Bartók

God created music as a common language for all men. It inspires the poets, the composers and the architects. It lures us to search our souls for the meaning of the mysteries described in ancient books.
Khalil Gibran

To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist.
Robert Schumann

You know what music is? It’s God’s little reminder that there’s something else besides us in the universe; harmonic connection between all living being, everywhere – ever the stars.
Robin Williams (August Rush)

All music already exists. When God created the world, He created everything.  It’s up to us as artists to find that music.
John Tavener

Music and art and poetry tune the soul to God.
Thomas Merton

God can only be comprehended as love. In Bach, the vital cells of music are united as the world is in God.
Gustav Mahler

Invited or not, God is present.
Carl Jung