he died when I was thirteen years old. it was the first experience I had of a person dying, a person close to me.  an interesting fellow, my grandfather.  he was, as some wag said of all Spaniard men, "short and choleric".  indeed. 
he was also a French and Classics teacher and scholar, a big music lover.  he loved my grandmother dearly, but I have no doubt he'd run away with Maria Callas in a New York second.

to him I owe a love of reading, a passion for Egyptian and Greco-Roman arts and a deep appreciation of Beethoven's music – especially the joy that mounts and spills over the symphonies. 

the first and last movements of Beethoven's 7th are glorious, and overwhelming with joy.

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19 thoughts on “influences

  1. Beethoven's 7th is one of the most amazing works ever. My sis and daughter saw it performed in London by the Cambridge Student Symphony Orchestra….it was completely transporting. I will never ever forget the magic of that performance nor the fact that the conductor was nearly passing out when it was done from sheer emotional impact!

  2. aw, thanks, HB. he was not my only influence but is the one I remember most intensely – I was the first-born grandchild and we were very lore has it that I learned to read by myself from spending evenings sitting on my grandfather's lap as he read the paper.

  3. and a lot of his piano sonatas and string quartets, too. I used to like the whole Sturm und Drang thing much more than I do now, though…. i guess I'm more of a Chopin/Debussy/Ravel-type person, on the whole. I think Beethoven was brilliant, but for me, he's best in small doses!

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