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John Ogdon - cause of death
#2860756 06/20/19 07:47 AM
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Hello all.

I'm a moderator for a facebook page (Great Historical Piano Recordings) and a debate has sprung up. One member commented that Ogdon hanged himself. I'd read in several sources that his cause of death was pneumonia, and that he also suffered from diabetes which had not been diagnosed. These sources include three obituaries from the New York Times and other sources, as well as "Piano Man: a life of John Ogdon", by Charles Beauclerk which is considered the definitive biography. I also googled for John Ogdon suicide and found nothing to support these claims.

Of course, those of us who know Ogdon's story are already aware of his struggles with schizophrenia, and many will know that he attempted suicide several times.

My question to our group is: Have any of you heard information from a reputable source that Ogden's cause of death was suicide?


Hank Drake

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Re: John Ogdon - cause of death
Hank Drake #2860762 06/20/19 08:05 AM
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According to his widow Brenda Lucas in an interview, he had pneumonia and complications from neglected diabetes when he died. I have never heard anyone suggest he committed suicide. It's a long time ago, but if I remember correctly, she said that his mental illness was incorrectly diagnosed, and that he had bipolar disorder and not schizophrenia. He was receiving effective psychiatric treatment and was apparently in good mental health when he died.

Re: John Ogdon - cause of death
johnstaf #2860766 06/20/19 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
According to his widow Brenda Lucas in an interview, he had pneumonia and complications from neglected diabetes when he died. I have never heard anyone suggest he committed suicide. It's a long time ago, but if I remember correctly, she said that his mental illness was incorrectly diagnosed, and that he had bipolar disorder and not schizophrenia. He was receiving effective psychiatric treatment and was apparently in good mental health when he died.


Thank you John. Pneumonia is what I've heard all these decades. But some people love to spread rumors with no supporting evidence.

Misdiagnosis of schizophrenia when the patient actually has bi-polar disorder was distressingly common but is fortunately less so today. It's quite possible Schumann was bi-polar and not schizophrenic.


Hank Drake

Admin: https://www.facebook.com/groups/VladimirHorowitzPianist

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell
Re: John Ogdon - cause of death
Hank Drake #2861074 06/20/19 11:33 PM
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From what I have read Schumann had a severe mood disorder, probably Bipolar.The disease
which is known to run in families affected quite a few
of Schuman's family members.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 06/20/19 11:34 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: John Ogdon - cause of death
Hank Drake #2861086 06/21/19 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Hank Drake
....Misdiagnosis of schizophrenia when the patient actually has bi-polar disorder was distressingly common but is fortunately less so today. It's quite possible Schumann was bi-polar and not schizophrenic.

I've never come across anything about him supposedly being schizophrenic.
Actually I'm not sure I've come across any specific diagnosis ever stated about him, but I've always (and only) had the impression that he was bipolar, whether because I've seen it so stated or because all the 'mood' stuff I've come across about him just suggested it so strongly.

BTW, I don't very readily come to such specific impressions about diagnosis of historic figures. I'd have to say he's the one and only composer about whom I've had any such specific impression.
I don't even have a diagnostic impression of the president, even though every non-psychiatrist seems to. grin

One of my favorite other composers, Scriabin, is often said in psychiatric circles to have had a major psychiatric disorder, whether schizophrenia or bipolar. I'm not so sure at all that he had either.

Re: John Ogdon - cause of death
Hank Drake #2861882 06/23/19 03:18 AM
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I once read an article in music magazine in which a musicologist came to the conclusion that that Handel
the composer of the Messiah was Bipolar.
He also wrote that based on the characters of his operas Handel was Gay .Although the latter is not regarded at all a mental illness his diagnosis of Handel as Bipolar somehow implied that it was related although perhaps that is not what he meant ?
With Schumann there is apparently far greater evidence to suggest he was Bipolar.

Re: John Ogdon - cause of death
Mark_C #2862411 06/24/19 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
One of my favorite other composers, Scriabin, is often said in psychiatric circles to have had a major psychiatric disorder, whether schizophrenia or bipolar. I'm not so sure at all that he had either.


I think it is quite well known that Schumann had some mental health issues, also.

@Mark_C:

[Extra note]

Wanted to let you know I am back in the forums and had sold the Baldwin SF-10 grand piano (due to various issues) and decided to keep the AvantGrand N2, here:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...sf-10-search-other-info.html#Post2862389

The AvantGrand N2 does not require any maintenance or tuning which is a definite plus.

Re: John Ogdon - cause of death
johnstaf #2862641 06/25/19 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
According to his widow Brenda Lucas in an interview, he had pneumonia and complications from neglected diabetes when he died. I have never heard anyone suggest he committed suicide. It's a long time ago, but if I remember correctly, she said that his mental illness was incorrectly diagnosed, and that he had bipolar disorder and not schizophrenia. He was receiving effective psychiatric treatment and was apparently in good mental health when he died.


I'm Facebook friends with her, and just two days ago, she just posted that he had schizophrenia, not bi-polar disorder.

This coming August 1st is actually the 30th anniversary of his death. Maybe we could at least have a John Ogdon appreciation thread on August the 1st? Also, sometime down the road, I'd love to play one of his compositions... He was a very good composer for the piano, and a pianist named Tyler Hay recently released a disc dedicated to Ogdon's original piano music. It's worth hearing/buying.

Last edited by Orange Soda King; 06/25/19 02:41 PM.
Re: John Ogdon - cause of death
Orange Soda King #2862700 06/25/19 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Also, sometime down the road, I'd love to play one of his compositions... He was a very good composer for the piano, and a pianist named Tyler Hay recently released a disc dedicated to Ogdon's original piano music. It's worth hearing/buying.

Also it's worth noting that Brenda Lucas recorded a CD of Ogdon's music. (Gamut 528) As you may know, Ogdon wrote prolifically in all forms, even opera! And of course Ogdon recorded one of his piano concertos.

There was criticism in certain quarters (not mentioning names) of the Lucas/Kerr bio 'Virtuoso' with insults and character assassination hurled at her, yet when the much anticipated bio by Charles Beauclerk 'Piano Man' came out, the basic outlines were much the same, just differing in nuance and interpretation.


Jason
Re: John Ogdon - cause of death
Orange Soda King #2862705 06/25/19 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King

I'm Facebook friends with her, and just two days ago, she just posted that he had schizophrenia, not bi-polar disorder.


That's interesting. Thanks for that. I remember a documentary on BBC Radio, around the time Virtuoso was published, and the discussion about a change in his diagnosis. Maybe I'm attributing this to the wrong person, but I do remember her talking about how lithium made him stable. Perhaps I conflated the two things.


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