Nevertheless the passions, whether violent or not, should never be so expressed as to reach the point of causing disgust; and music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music.
I live in a country where music has very little success, though, exclusive of those who have forsaken us, we have still admirable professors and, more particularly, composers of great solidity, knowledge, and taste.
The happy medium - truth in all things - is no longer either known or valued; to gain applause, one must write things so inane that they might be played on barrel-organs, or so unintelligible that no rational being can comprehend them, though on that very account, they are likely to please.
I hope never to marry in this way; I wish to make my wife happy, but not to become rich by her means, so I will let things alone and enjoy my golden freedom till I am so well off that I can support both wife and children.
All I insist on, and nothing else, is that you should show the whole world that you are not afraid. Be silent, if you choose; but when it is necessary, speak – and speak in such a way that people will remember it.
Melody is the essence of music. I compare a good melodist to a fine racer, and counterpointists to hack post-horses; therefore be advised, let well alone and remember the old Italian proverb: Chi sa più, meno sa – Who knows most, knows least.
I cannot write poetically, for I am no poet. I cannot make fine artistic phrases that cast light and shadow, for I am no painter. I can neither by signs nor by pantomime express my thoughts and feelings, for I am no dancer; but I can by tones, for I am a musician.
As for pupils, I can have as many as I choose, but I do not choose to take many. I intend to be better paid than others, and so I wish to have fewer scholars. It is advisable to hang back a little at first, or it is all over with you, and you must pursue the common highway with the rest.
When I come to reflect on the subject, in no country have I received such honors or been so esteemed as in Italy, and nothing contributes more to a man's fame than to have written Italian operas, and especially for Naples.