The title really does tell the story. This week, we thought we would put together some top X (sometimes two, sometimes ten) compendiums – historical and genealogical of course – of useless knowledge and bizarre trivia for your entertainment.
Monday’s offering is ‘Decomposing composers: ten causes of death’…. cunningly placed in death date order:
1. Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): a stroke, after undergoing an unsuccessful operation on his eye
2. George Frederic Handel (1685-1759): septicaemia as a result of unsterile equipment used to remove his cataracts
…. and how many people have had laser eye surgery in this century?…
3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791): Bright’s disease, a degenerative kidney disease
4. Franz Schubert (1797-1821): typhoid
5. Franz Liszt (1811-1886): pneumonia
6. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893): cholera
7. Johannes Brahms (1833-1897): cancer of the liver
8. Claude Debussy (1862-1920): cancer of the rectum
9. Alban Berg (1885-1935): blood poisoning from an infected insect bite
10. Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943): malignant melanoma
Just goes to show that most illnesses and diseases have been around for centuries – here’s to finding more cures in the twenty-first.