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Classical 101

Beethoven as Starbucks Barista?

Many stories have been told about the difficulty of making a living as a composer.  Modeste Mussorgsky had a civil service job, Charles Ives sold insurance, Alexander Borodin was a chemist, and Leroy Anderson decided a career in music would never pay the bills, so he studied linguistics - mastering 9 languages - eventually accepting a teaching job before giving music one more try. Beethoven might have had a career as a barista, or at least could have opened a coffee house.  It is said that, whenever he made a cup of coffee, he meticulously counted out 60 coffee beans. Talk about quality control!  Inventory would have taken days. One of the things which makes music so interesting, beyond listening, is the lives of the composers and performers themselves.  For instance, Mozart is said to have written the overture to Don Giovanni on the morning of the day it was to premiere...while nursing a massive hangover. Here are some other quirky little tidbits about some of classical music's favorite luminaries. Read Bizarre Composer Facts (Classic FM)