You will set pretty music to pretty words, and will be sung in drawing-rooms with the fame a little more or less that generally attends the compositions of female amateurs. Aim at something higher, as I know you would do, and you will not succeed. Is there any instance in modern times, perhaps in any times, of a female composer who attains even to the eminence of a third-rate opera-writer?

You will set pretty music to pretty words, and will be sung in drawing-rooms with the fame a little more or less that generally attends the compositions of female amateurs. Aim at something higher, as I know you would do, and you will not succeed. Is there any instance in modern times, perhaps in any times, of a female composer who attains even to the eminence of a third-rate opera-writer?

That method is antithetical to Wagner's; a symphonic poem writer is simply a setter of opera texts, one who follows with devout care the book of words put before him with this difference, that the opera-writer must, to some extent at least, consider his words, his singers, his stage, while the composer of symphonic poems can do just as he pleases and consider no one's convenience, shortening this section or lengthening that as the musical exigencies demand, while making use of some tale or a poem as an excuse for writing in a form which in itself is unintelligible and illogical.

All I know of the domestic affairs of the great French opera-writer Grétry is that he left three daughters, one of whom, Lucille, had a one-act opera successfully produced when she was only thirteen years old, and who was precocious enough to make an unhappy marriage and end it in death by the time she was twenty-three.