It was from Handel that I learned that style consists in force of assertion. If you can say a thing with one stroke unanswerably, you have style; if not, you are at best a marchand de plasir, a decorative litterateur, or a musical confectioner, or a painter of fans with cupids and cocottes. Handel has this power. When he sets the words “Fixed in his everlasting seat,” the atheist is struck dumb; God is there, fixed in his everlasting seat by Handel, even if you live in an Avenue Paul Bert and despise such superstitions. You may despise what you like, but you cannot contradict Handel.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
“Causerie on Handel in England,” Ainslee’s Magazine (May 1913)

Originally a music society lecture given in France. Longer discussion.

Added on 3-Oct-07 | Last updated 3-Oct-07
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Shaw, George Bernard

Thoughts? Comments? Corrections? Feedback?