Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Category: Music Box

  • Arnold Schoenberg’s String Trio Op. 45: Notes on “My Fatality”

    James L. FranklinChicago, Illinois, United States On August 2, 1946, the Austrian-born composer Arnold Schoenberg suffered a near fatal heart attack at his home in Los Angeles. Despite the fragile state of his health, on August 20th he was able to resume work on a string trio that had been commissioned by Harvard University. Schoenberg…

  • The power of singing in Alzheimer’s patients

    May LysterDublin, Ireland Throughout the gradual decline of one’s memory and behavior, the ever-changing world can become difficult to understand and comprehend. Around the world, approximately 24 million people currently have Alzheimer’s disease. However, the number of friends and family indirectly affected by this degenerative disease is considerably higher. The experience of watching a loved…

  • Did Georges Bizet die from a broken heart?

    Nicolas RoblesBadajoz, Spain Georges Bizet (born Alexandre César Léopold Bizet in Paris on October 25, 1838) was a Romantic French composer. Because he made harsh demands on himself, he produced few finished works. Many were withheld by the composer himself and recovered posthumously, such as his Symphony in C Major (1855). Born into a family…

  • The musical and medical journey of Jean Sibelius

    Michael YafiChaden YafiHouston, Texas, United States The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957), one of the twentieth century’s greatest composers, was known for his ability to capture the stark beauty of his country’s landscapes through his unique, austere musical style. Born into a family with diverse talents, his father, Christian Gustaf, served as a municipal and…

  • Did Chopin die from tuberculosis?

    Philip LiebsonChicago, Illinois, United States Frederic Chopin, remembered for his brilliant piano works, suffered from a chronic illness leading to a short life of only thirty-nine years. Yet he lived longer than Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, or George Gershwin. Born in a suburb of Warsaw, he was sickly even as a youth and appeared on the…

  • How did deafness affect the creativity of Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770–1827)?

    Ting-Hsian (Denis) Chen Newcastle-under-Lyme, United Kingdom Introduction Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) is one of the most revered composers in the history of Western music despite the onset of hearing loss early in his career.1,2 Beethoven’s works are traditionally categorized into three periods: early, middle, and late. Increasing deafness forced adaptation and eventually propelled Beethoven’s work from…

  • What caused Offenbach’s death?

    Nicolas RoblesBadajoz, Spain Born in Cologne in 1819, Jakob Eberst (Jacques) Offenbach showed early musical talent. His father taught him to play the violin when he was six years old, and at the age of nine, he began to play the cello. At fourteen, he was accepted as a student at the Paris Conservatory directed…

  • Two composers named Arlen

    Avi OhryTel Aviv, Israel “Medicine to produce health must examine disease; and music, to create harmony,must investigate discord.”– Plutarch (AD 46–120), Demetrius, sec I Harold Arlen,1 composer of popular music, was born in 1905 in Buffalo, New York, as Hyman Arluck, the child of a Jewish cantor. After singing in a local synagogue choir, he…

  • Gioachino Rossini: Opera, cuisine, and gonorrhea

    Nicolas Roberto RoblesBadajoz, Spain Born in a family of musicians in Pesaro, Italy, Gioachino Rossini1 displayed inordinate talent from an early age, encouraged by his mother Anna, a notable singer, so that by the age of six, he was already playing the triangle in his father’s musical group. In 1799, Rossini’s father was sent to…

  • The financial affairs of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    After more than 200 years, the music of the great genius Mozart has remained unsurpassed and the interest in various aspects of his life continues unabated. Most medical authorities now believe that he died from Henoch-Schönlein nephritis with severe edema, hypertension, and neurological complications in the form of a stroke.1 There is perhaps less agreement…