Music: The Master's Voice

What was on Beethoven's mind during those mundane moments when he was not working on the Ninth Symphony or the C Sharp Minor Quartet? Women, for one thing. The wife of a certain conductor, Beethoven once confided to a friend, had "a magnificent fanny from the side." Another concern in Beethoven's bachelor household was how to obtain writing paper, domestic help and food—fish, oysters and Hungarian wines were his special favorites—as cheaply as possible. That was important, since Beethoven was one of the greatest penny pinchers who ever lived. He was delighted to receive a fountain pen that held ink for...

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