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Constant Lambert (1905 – 1951)


English conductor, critic and modernist composer.
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Constant Lambert
The average English critic is a don manqué, hopelessly parochial when not exaggeratedly teutonophile, over whose desk must surely hang the motto (presumably in Gothic lettering) "Above all no enthusiasm".
Lambert quotes
Music, from being an ordered succession of sounds, has become a matter of "sonorities", and anyone who can produce a brightly coloured brick of unusual shape is henceforth hailed as an architect.
Lambert
The Appalling Popularity of Music.




Lambert Constant quotes
To the seeker after the new, or the sensational, to those who expect a sinister frisson from modern music, it is my melancholy duty to point out that all the bomb throwing and guillotining has already taken place.
Lambert Constant
The composer is now faced, not with further experiment but with the more difficult task of consolidating the experiments of this vertiginous period. He is like a man in a high-powered motor-car that has got out of control. He must either steer it away from the cliff's edge back to the road or leap out of it altogether. Most modern composers have chosen the latter plan, remarking, as they dexterously save their precious lives: "I think motor-cars are a little vieux jeu – don't you?"
Constant Lambert quotes
There is a definite limit to the length of time a composer can go on writing in one dance rhythm (this limit is obviously reached by Ravel towards the end of La Valse and towards the beginning of Bolero).
Constant Lambert
Nothing is so common as to see a political upheaval pass practically unnoticed merely because the names of the leaders and their parties remain the same.
Lambert Constant quotes
The whole trouble with a folk song is that once you have played it through there is nothing much you can do except play it over again and play it rather louder. Most Russian music, indeed, consists in ringing changes on this device, skilfully disguised though the fact may be.
Lambert
Revolutionaries themselves are the last people to realize when, through force of time and circumstance, they have gradually become conservatives. It is scarcely to be wondered at if the public is very nearly as slow in the uptake.
Lambert Constant
Once embarked on a course of sensationalism, the composer is forced into a descending spiral spin from which only the most experienced pilot can flatten out in time.
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