Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827)

My feelings about Beethoven have a long history. The nuns in Catholic school often told me that I reminded them of  a young Beethoven but that had more to do with my hairstyle (similar to this day) and other physical characteristics. I doubt that my nascent musicianship at that time inspired their comments. This was, by the way, the first time I heard the name.

Later, at the age of 22, while hitchhiking through Europe I ended up by chance in Bonn, Germany. All I had with me was a small satchel and my guitar and very little money. I was taken in by a musician and his girlfriend. This musician (Hans Rehse) is still my friend all of these years later. I did not know at the time that Bonn was Beethoven’s birthplace. Of course I visited the Beethoven house and statue in Bonn and later the Beethoven grave site in Vienna.

All of this stimulated my interest in “the great deaf one” as Ravel called him. Every winter for some reason my interest in Beethoven is reawakened. Presently I am listening to the Second Symphony, Second Piano Concerto and the Grosse Fuge on my daily 3.6 mile jog.

There is little doubt in my mind that Beethoven is among the immortal musicians and most possibly the greatest.

Antonio Carlos Jobim (1927-1994)

Antonio Carlos Jobim is one of my favorite composers. I am often surprised at how many people don’t recognize the name because I am certain almost anyone over the age of 35 knows at least some of his tunes whether they realize it or not.

Jobim’s most well known compositions are The Girl from Ipanema, Desafinado, How Insensitive, One Note Samba, Corcovado, Aguas De Marco, Once I Loved and Wave. And there are many, many more.

There is a gem of an album called The Unknown (Antonio Carlos Jobim). This album has an interesting history.The story is that this album is the product of a private commission by the Odebrecht Corporation to be released in an extremely limited edition then distributed as Christmas gifts to a favored few. The album was unavailable to the general public for quite some time until finally released in Brazil only in limited edition by the corporation. Now it is available to all. There are 24 tracks on this album and this is a good place for anyone to sample the master’s work.

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