Miscellany and Trivia

What Bach Is for Me

Witten by Albert Schweitzer, in 1905, at the age of 30.

“Bach is an affirmation. He reassures me that in art, as in life, truth cannot be ignored or subdued. Art does not need any human promotion; it will realize itself by its own strength when its time has come. We need this faith in order to live. Bach had it. Under poorest material conditions, without getting tired or discouraged, without appealing to the world to take notice of his work, without doing anything to preserve it for the future, his single concern was to create what is true.”

“His works are great and he is as great as his works. They teach us to be still, to be collected.”

Read more: What Bach Is for Me

Anecdote Joy Mills

When addressing a group of theosophists in Europe some years ago:

“The odd thing with most theosophists is, if they were given the choice, that instead of actually entering Nirvana, they’d prefer to only talk about it.”


(Picasso recalls his mother’s ambitions for him.)

“When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as Pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”


On one occasion when Dylan Thomas had been drinking and talking freely for some time, he suddenly stopped. “Somebody’s boring me,” he said. “I think it’s me.”


On a train journey in the American Midwest, Schweitzer was approached by two ladies. “Have we the honor of speaking to Professor Einstein?” they asked. “No, unfortunately not,” replied Schweitzer, “though I can quite understand your mistake, for he has the same kind of hair as I have.” He paused to rumple his hair. “But inside, my head is altogether different. However, he is a very old friend of mine—would you like me to give you his autograph?” Taking a slip of paper from his pocket he wrote: “Albert Einstein, by way of his friend, Albert Schweitzer.”


In the fall of 1971, Maria Callas taught a series of master classes titled “The Lyric Tradition.” Callas was 48 at the time and had not performed in public for several years. Paul Thomason, who teaches classes in opera in the Extension Division of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, attended these classes as an observer. Following is one of his recollections of the great Callas as teacher.

Callas had very little sense of humor. The only truly funny moment I remember came when she was working with a young soprano on Violetta’s “Addio del pasato” from the last act of Verdi’s “La Traviata.” The heartbreaking aria ends with a five-note phrase that is repeated four times, the last time going up to a high A. The score indicates that the last note is to be sung very, very softly. It is quite difficult to pull off.

Read more: ANECDOTE MARIA CALLAS (1923–1977)


In a zoo in California, a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny size, they died shortly after birth.

The mother tiger after recovering from the delivery suddenly started to decline in health, although physically she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother’s cubs, perhaps she would improve.

Read more: A PIGER TALE


Edison was asked to sign a guest book that had the usual columns for name and address, as well as one for “Interested in.” In this last column Edison entered the word: “Everything.”

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