Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdotes about Mozart (4)

Mozart and Haydn

Besides having a very cool name, Mozart was one of the most influential and enduring classical composer who lived a short life and died at the age of 35. He composed over 600 compositions in this time.

One day, Mozart taunted Haydn that the latter would never be able to play a piece which Mozart had just written. Haydn sat at the harpsichord, began to play from the manuscript, and then stopped abruptly. There was a note in the center of the keyboard while the right hand was playing in high treble and the left hand in low bass.

“Nobody can play this with only two hands,” Haydn exclaimed.

“I can,” Mozart said quietly. When he reached the debated portion of his composition, he bent over and struck the central note with his nose.

Anecdotes about Mozart (5)

Mozart and Beethoven

Beethoven arrived in Vienna in the spring of 1787 as a youth of great promise and was taken to play before Mozart. Assuming that his music was a showpiece specially prepared for the occasion, Mozart responded coolly. Beethoven begged him to state a theme on which he could improvise and began playing as if inspired by the Master’s presence, Mozart became engrossed. Finally he rejoined his friends in the next room and pronounced emphatically, “Keep your eyes on that young man. Some day he will give the world something to talk about.”

Anecdotes about Writers (3)

Mark Twain

Mark Twain did much of his writing in bed, irrespective of the time. One day, his wife entered the bedroom to inform him that a reporter had arrived to conduct an interview.

When Twain made no effort to get out of bed, she intervened: “Don’t you think it will be a little embarrassing,” she rhetorically remarked, “for him to find you in bed?” “Why, if you think so, Livy,” Twain rhetorically replied, “we could have the other bed made up for him.

Anecdotes about Writers (4)

Oscar Wilde

Once while on a lecture tour to the U.S., Oscar Wilde was asked by a customs officer in New York whether he had anything to declare. “No, I have nothing to declare,” Wilde replied, “except my genius.”

Anecdotes about Writers (5)

Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s son Patrick asked his father to edit a story he had written.

Hemingway went through the manuscript carefully, then returned it to his son. “But, Papa,” cried Patrick in dismay, “you’ve only changed one word.”

If it’s the right word,” said Hemingway, that’s a lot.”

Anecdotes about Writers (1)


Isaac Asimov

Once an editor rejected a story of Isaac Asimov and called it “meretricious.”

The word is from the Latin meretrix, meaning “prostitute,” so that the implication was that Asimov was prostituting his talent and was writing a bad story that would get by on his name alone because he was too lazy to write a good one. Later the story was sold elsewhere and received considerable acclaim.

Swallowing his annoyance, Asimov said mildly, “What was that word you used?”

Obviously proud at knowing a word he felt Asimov didn’t know, the editor enunciated carefully, “Meretricious!” Whereupon Asimov replied, “And a Happy New Year to you.”

Anecdotes about Writers (2)

George Bernard Shaw

The celebrated dancer Isadora Duncan once wrote to George Bernard Shaw declaring that, given the principles of eugenics, they should have a child together.

Think of it!” she enthused. “With my body and your brains, what a wonder it would be.”

Yes,” Shaw replied. “But what if it had my body and your brains?”

Anecdotes about Rabbis (4)


Rabbi Landau has always been secretly sad that he’s never been able to eat pork. So one day, he flies to a remote tropical Island and books into a hotel. “No one will find me here,” he said to himself. On the first evening, he goes to the best restaurant and orders the ‘roast pork special’. While he’s waiting, he hears someone call his name. Rabbi Landau looks up and sees one of his congregants walking towards his table. What unbelievably bad luck – the same time to visit the same restaurant on the same island!

Just at that moment, the waiter puts on his table a whole roasted pig with an apple in its mouth and says, “Your special, sir.” Rabbi Landau looks up sheepishly at his congregant and says, “Would you believe it – you order anapple in this restaurant and look how they serve it!”

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