Friday, May 11, 2012

Insanity

Apparently I have developed a local fan base as I received a message from a reader (who reads my blog on her phone on the bus ride to work) reminding me to post soon since I've been a little tardy as of late.  I have good reason for it since work has been a bit hectic. One might even use the word "insane".  This actually had me thinking back to a few days ago, when as I was looking through my music collection I started to realize just how many composers in my little musical library actually did go insane.  It makes for an interesting list.

1.  Robert Schumann was a German composer who, after botching an experiment to improve his manual dexterity by slicing tendons in his hand (mmm...yummy), later went insane, and threw himself into the Rhine River.  He was rescued but died in an asylum.

2.  Alexander Scriabin (don't we all remember him?) apparently went insane too.  He didn't throw himself into a river like dear Robert or make any attempts at suicide that I'm aware of though.  His exit from this world was a lot less dramatic as he died from an infected shaving cut (seriously).

3.  Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer who, though living to the ripe old age of 90 suffered from bouts of depression and destroyed the score of his 8th Symphony by burning it.  Today, only a few scattered fragments remain.

4.  Bedrich Smetana, considered the father of Czech romantic music, got a double whammy as he went both deaf and insane.

5.  Antonio Salieri, went insane in old age and raved about how he had killed Mozart.  This led to a play by Pushkin, and a 1979 play by Peter Shaffer which in turned served as the basis for the 1984 award-winning movie "Amadeus".  Salieri's rep took quite a knock as a result of this and really muddied the waters when it came to understanding the relationship between the two.

6.  Eric Satie was rather reclusive and a pack rat to boot.  After he died they found his home full of umbrellas that he evidently never used.

7.  Alessandro Stradella is a little-known Italian composer, known more today for his many love affairs than his music.  Now, Stradella didn't go insane BUT he was killed by hired assassins after having extra-curricular activities with the daughter of a certain nobleman.  Now, that's nuts.

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