Thomas Stevens

Dynamics-Part VII (The Lightest and Last of the Dynamics Comments)

  • General Quotes

Four not-so-serious but relevant comments plus a true classic on soft dynamics from four major leaguers of 20th Century classical music.

“Piano (‘p’) does not mean unimportant. It means soft.”-Bruno Walter (1958 rehearsal observed by this writer)

“It [piano-‘p’)] should sound soft, not scared.”-Paul Kletzki (1965)

“Two ‘ps’ [pianissimo] is not only for the bathroom. It also means soft.” Erich Leinsdorf (1983)

"A tentative piano ("p") is like a tentative proposition."-Leinsdorf (1983)

Plus-one classic from the unauthorized quotes (as circulated in the musicians’ underground) from Eugene Ormandy Ormandy, longtime music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra:

“The tempo remains ‘pp’ (pianissimo)."