Tag Archives: music

Review of “Fracture: Stories of How Great Lives Take Root in Trauma”

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Fracture: Stories of How Great Lives Take Root in Trauma Matthew Parris, 2020. The lives of people who seem to be endowed with extraordinary abilities have long been a source of fascination. The famous Italian physician, researcher, and founder of the science of criminology, Cesare Lombroso, professed this […]

Ludwig van Beethoven: music and medicine

Michael Yafi Chaden Yafi Houston, Texas, United States   Beethoven home and surrounding area. Photos by Michael Yafi. December 2020 marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. The causes of the composer’s deafness and his death at the age of fifty-six have remained unknown, even after an autopsy carried out soon […]

Sergei Rachmaninoff: the dichotomy of life and music

Michael Yafi Chaden Yafi Houston, Texas, United States   Rachmaninoff. Photo by Bain News Service. between ca. 1915 and ca. 1920. Library of Congress Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), a Russian composer, was known for having very large hands. With a span that covered twelve white keys on the keyboard (the interval of a thirteenth), he could […]

Gymnopédie

Mark Tan Northwest Deanery, UK   First phrase of Gymnopédie. Erik Satie, 1888. Gymnopédie No. 1. Public domain Oblique et coupant l’ombre un torrent éclatant Ruisselait en flots d’or sur la dalle polie Où les atomes d’ambre au feu se miroitant Mêlaient leur sarabande à la gymnopédie [English translation]: Slanting and shadow-cutting a bursting stream […]

“Moonlight” and silence

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Woman at the Piano. 1875/76. Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The Art Institute of Chicago. At seventeen, I knew little about the limitations or losses that might cause a person to second-guess a vocation, deeply held belief, or identity. Perhaps those questions about the unknowable future inhabit the soul of […]

Richard Dadd: art and madness

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Portrait of British painter Richard Dadd (1817-1886) showing painting Contradiction: Oberon and Titania. Henry Hering. circa 1856. Source Unknown. Public Domain due to age. Is there anything so extravagant as the imaginations of men’s brains? Where is the head that has no chimeras in it? . . . Our knowledge, […]

The lost art and the hidden treasure

Jennifer Bingham Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania   It is the moment we catch ourselves wishing someone had mentioned how many pieces were in this puzzle that we look up to find progress. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels. The puzzle box is empty and the pieces are scattered across the table. After all, a puzzle was never meant […]

Medical innovations made by doctors during the Napoleonic Wars

Craig Stout Aberdeen, Scotland   The Battle of Waterloo (1815), oil painting by William Sadler. Pyms Gallery, London. The Napoleonic Wars (1799 to 1815) brought great upheaval and turmoil to Europe, with as many as 2.5 million soldiers and 1 million civilians losing their lives. French military physicians, principally Dominique Jean-Larrey, made significant contributions to […]

Nicolo Paganini – a case of mercury poisoning?

Nicolo Paganini, the greatest violin virtuoso ever, was born in the Republic of Genoa in 1782. At age five he learned to play the mandolin and at seven the violin. When his city was invaded by the French revolutionary army in 1796 his family fled the city but later returned, and by age eighteen Paganini […]

Maurice Ravel’s neurologic disease

The French composer Maurice Ravel appears to have suffered from a localized neurological disease that spared higher brain functions but interfered with the basic activities of living. In neurological parlance this translates itself into loss of the ability to speak (aphasia), write (agraphia), read (alexia), or carry out complex brain directed movements or tasks (apraxia). […]