From the glow of enthusiasm I let the melody escape. I pursue it. Breathless I catch up with it. It flies again, it disappears, it plunges into a chaos of diverse emotions. I catch it again, I seize it, I embrace it with delight... I multiply it by modulations, and at last I triumph in the first theme. There is the whole symphony.
When somewhat at a distance, I cannot hear the high tones of instruments, voices. In speaking, it is not surprising that there are people who have never noticed it, for as a rule I am absent-minded, and they account for it in that way.
I haven't a single friend; I must live alone. But well I know that God is nearer to me than to the others of my art; I associate with Him without fear, I have always recognized and understood Him, and I have no fear for my music,-it can meet no evil fate. Those who understand it must become free from all the miseries that the others drag with them.
You ask me where I get my ideas. That I cannot tell you with certainty. They come unsummoned, directly, indirectly - I could seize them with my hands - out in the open air, in the woods, while walking, in the silence of the nights, at dawn, excited by moods which are translated by the poet into words, by me into tones that sound and roar and storm about me till I have set them down in notes.