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Happy endings of classical composers?

Posted By: justpin

Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/05/13 07:11 PM

Just reading a bit of history of classical period composers..

Did ANY of them have a happy ending?

Off my head:

Chopin died poorly alone, almost penniless than a student of his had to cover his rent.

Bach died ill alone, in an unmarked grave penniless with just a few books and instruments to his name.

Beethoven died horribly ill with severe tinnitus.

Brahms died horribly of liver cancer bed ridden and severely ill and unable to play

Mozart died horribly ill in and was buried in an unmarked grave .

Schubert died very young horribly ill.

Or is it just completely normal in the classical age i.e. other normal people were dying in the same manner?

The thing is Rachmaninoff who lived in the 20th century also died of a horrible illness.

Posted By: Allard

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/05/13 07:32 PM

Thanks for the motivation! :p
Posted By: BenPiano

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/05/13 07:46 PM

Medical treatment was poor. They got sick and died.

So, what *is* a happy ending?

"My friends, I'm sorry to inform you that your favorite composer in this romantic period has died yesterday. He fell off his unicorn whilst attempting to jump over a rainbow. However, it should be said he was smiling the entire way down. May he rest in pieces."


Posted By: Andy Platt

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/05/13 08:16 PM

Picking just two pre-modern composers: Haydn & Bach. Both lived long (for the time) and "did all right."

When I was young, I thought that Poverty was a country where musicians went .... wink
Posted By: Whizbang

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/05/13 08:47 PM

"Starting out with anal..." and now "Happy endings". What on earth is happening to these forums anyway?!
Posted By: sinophilia

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/05/13 08:50 PM

Liszt had quite a long and full life! But yes, I had the same impression while listening to Prof. Robert Greenberg's lectures on music history.
Posted By: wouter79

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/05/13 09:41 PM

What's a happy ending? Maybe dying because of overdose? LOL
Posted By: EdwardianPiano

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/05/13 10:45 PM

Liszt must have been the longest living composer of the nineteenth century! Bet it was his genes..
Posted By: MaryBee

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/06/13 04:18 AM

My piano teacher is a composer. I told him that I don't think he'll ever be a truly great composer, because he doesn't come from a disfunctional family, he doesn't have a life-threatening illness, nor doesn't he have any bizarre personality traits. Talent and hard work will only take you so far. laugh
Posted By: Derulux

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/06/13 08:54 AM

Sorry, thought this thread was about something completely different... hey-o! laugh

I would think that most people die from illness, particularly before the advent of modern medicine. One of the great fallacies in "life expectancy" predictions is that we're making our lives longer because the average age at which people die is higher now than ever before.

Well, there is some truth to it: the average person will live much longer, thus giving us a greater number. But the max age really hasn't been touched at all. It was not uncommon for some people (like Liszt) to live well into their 80's back when the average life expectancy was something like 35-40 years.

The statistics even show that, if someone in the time survived to age 21, it was likely they would survive to age 64. So, a lot of people were dying young, of illness and probably from war/fighting.

In that light, I don't think it's any surprise that the cross-section of composers follows the same pattern as the rest of the world. wink
Posted By: -Frycek

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/06/13 11:57 AM

Liszt, while he lived a long full life, also died horribly alone, neglected by his daughter, a case of elder abuse. Read Alan Walker's short book about the death of Liszt. (As if one needed another reason to despise Wagner - - )
The Death of Franz Liszt

Chopin, on the other hand, while he did die broke, died in a most upscale Paris apartment, comforted by his closest friends, his sister, and half the fashionable world of Paris. He knew he was much loved, even if George never showed.
Posted By: Sam S

Re: Happy endings of classical composers? - 02/06/13 01:25 PM

I think the original poster is being a little pessimistic, and needs to do a little more research, or at least look at things from the perspective of the times.

Brahms also lived a long (for the times) and successful life and was only sick at the very end. He died rich and well respected.

Even Mozart, while he died young, did not have that bad a life. He made a lot of money, and spent it all (and more). He did what he loved to do and had great fun at it. Because he started so young, you could say that he had already lived a lifetime before he turned 30. Did everything always go his way? No, but that's rare for anyone. His death was certainly not anything out of the ordinary for Vienna at the time.

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