In a way, a book comparing Stephen Sondheim’s career with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s looks like an interesting and sensible idea. But, on reflection, it just shows how hopelessly slack any standards of judgment in this area are. It is a bit like comparing Mozart with Salieri. (Phillip Hensher, The Observer)
This was the most readily available quote using this analogy, but I’ve heard it a hundred times from various sources. The problem with it is that anyone using it instantly betrays their complete ignorance of Classical music. Only someone whose entire understanding of Mozart’s biography was based on the movie Amadeus would ever use that analogy. For one thing, Salieri was far from the talentless mediocrity that Amadeus makes him out to be. He was actually one of the most talented composers of his day. Granted, he wasn’t a Mozart-level genius, but…I hate to break it to you idolators…neither is Sondheim. A closer analogy for what they think they’re saying might be Wagner and Meyerbeer, but of course no-one is going to touch _that_ one with a ten-foot pole.