Skip to comments.After Mozartís Death, an Endless Coda
Posted on 08/25/2010 10:46:04 AM PDT by La Lydia
Direct medical evidence? None. Autopsy? Not performed. Medical records? Nowhere to be found. Corpse? Disappeared. Yet according to a recent article in an academic journal, researchers have posited at least 118 causes of death for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A modest industry of medical speculation has grown up around the subject, evidence of our fascination with what cut down great creative artists in history. In Mozarts case published speculation began within a month of his death in 1791, and musicologists, physicians and medical scholars have regularly joined the fray ever since.
Dr. William J. Dawson, a retired orthopedic surgeon...bibliographer for the Performing Arts Medical Association, decided to organize the theories. He examined most of the 136 entries in the associations database about Mozarts death, a list by no means comprehensive....
With direct evidence lacking, researchers have had to rely mainly on accounts by Mozarts widow, Constanze Mozart, and her sister...given some decades later. Evidence also comes from an undated document by Mozarts son Karl Thomas and from a description again, decades later by a Viennese doctor who spoke to the physicians who treated Mozart in his final days.
Scholars have also examined accounts of Mozarts ailments in letters written by family members, especially his father, Leopold, to uncover signposts regarding his final sickness. Speculation about an abnormality in the shape of his ear has even led some to suggest that kidney failure was likely, since urinary tract deformities are sometimes related to ear abnormalities....
All this gives rise to a question: Why does the subject arouse such intense interest? ... Part of the reason may lie in the close overlay between music and medicine. A high proportion of doctors seem to play instruments; in fact, Dr. Dawson is an accomplished and active bassoonist...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Let the Mozart sighting reports begin!
OTOH, a high proportion of musicians aren't doctors.
But he divides the causes into five groups: poisoning, infection, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and miscellaneous.
At least he's covering his bases with that miscellaneous.
He’s working with Elvis and Michael at a Dairy Queen in Iowa.
and Antonio Salieri wasn’t there!
and Antonio Salieri wasn’t there!
Hmmm...don’t order the soft serve.
This may be of interest to the folks on the Classical Music Ping List, so... PING!
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Tony is down the street at Olive Garden.
I am waiting for the anti-Masons to chime in.
Actually, Mozart’s body was exhumed (this is how they know all this stuff) but, when his coffin was opened, they found Mozart erasing his music scores.
“Amadeus,” they cried, “what are you doing?”
“Decomposing,” he replied.
Old joke, but I couldn’t resist!
Hope it brought everyone a smile.
I notice that “medical malpractice” wasn’t included!
Didn’t they watch the movie?
He died because Antonio Solieri killed him. Wasn’t anyone
paying attention? (I’ll betcha can’t keep Tom Hulce’s laugh
out of your head the rest of the day.)
Old joke, but still a good one.
That was a great movie. (Lapsing into geezer mode) I don’t know why they don’t make ‘em like that any more.
La Lydia thank you for posting this.
sitetest thank you for the ping to the classical music ping list.
Frankly though I blame Bush.
“Frankly though I blame Bush.”
Um, he was only 35 years old and he was the greatest compsoer of all time. . Can someone come up with a stupider question?
Mozart, Jim Morrison, and Elvis will be sighted somewhere making music.
Elvis and Bigfoot ain’t talkin’...
I love Mozart.
I get my Students interested in Mozart IMMEDIATELY with One of His Early Piano Variations on a Theme, Otherwise Known as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!”
We Do it with a rolling Alberti-Style Left Hand, and it sounds AWESOME!
” That was a great movie. (Lapsing into geezer mode) I dont know why they dont make em like that any more. “
They don’t make a Mozart anymore either ;-)
¨The Decomposing Composers¨
and he was the greatest compsoer of all time.
Very subjective claim. I like Mozart, but he is a little shallow for my taste. Mozart learned quite a bit from Bach, and his music was the better better for it. If I could take music from only one composer to a desert island, I would get tired of Mozart after a while. I never get tired of Bach.
I can instantly identify most major Mozart works. If I hear a random piece from The Well Tempered Clavier, I can identify maybe 25% of them.
A shame he died so young.
True. Bach also wrote amazing music before the age of 35. Mozart's father shepherded him, whereas Bach was an orphan.
I would argue that Beethoven derived from Mozart, or at the very least completed a progression Mozart surely would have rivaled.
Yes, Beethoven learned from Mozart, but also from Haydn and Bach. In Haydn's symphony 82, "The Bear" (1786) I hear very striking similarities to Beethoven's Eroica symphony (1805).
Beethoven wrote that Bach was "the very father of musical harmony." He also said, "Bach sollte nicht Bach, sondern Meer heissen" (Bach should not be called Bach (brook) but Meer (sea).
Mozart was very excited when he heard Bach's motets; in fact on that occasion, he insisted that the scores be produced immediately so he could study them.