Morning Glories - Composers and Coffee

October 8, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Every weekday morning at 10 a.m., the hosts at Classical MPR play a stand-out work based on the theme for the week. We call them Morning Glories. Different composers had different approaches to their morning brew. This week, we are playing works inspired by coffee.

Mendelssohn at the coffeehouse (from a letter to his family):

Every morning I have to write, correct and score till one o'clock, when I go to Scheidel's coffee house in Kaufinger Gasse, where I know each face by heart and find the same people every day in the same position: two playing chess, three looking on, five reading the newspapers, six eating their dinner — with me making up the seventh.

Beethoven was a bean counter: he demanded exactly sixty coffee beans in each cup.

And then there's Virgil Thomson, who boiled coffee in a saucepan and filtered it through a sock.

MFK Fischer, from Pity the Blind in Palate in her collection Serve it Forth:

Frederick the Great used to make his own coffee, with much to do and fuss. For water he used champagne. Then, to make the flavour stronger, he stirred in powdered mustard.



Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 1


Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 ("Pastoral"): 1st Mvt.


Virgil Thomson: Symphony on a Hymn Tune


Frederick the Great: Flute Concerto


Bach: "Coffee" Cantata

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