Sunday 15 September 2019

Mozart 'was not really an alcoholic', says doctor

Wolfgang Mozart
Wolfgang Mozart

In the final portrait of Mozart from 1790, a year before his death, he is painted as puffy and bloated, his face ravaged by alcoholism.

But a new book by a retired British surgeon suggests the Austrian symphonist has been unfairly maligned and did not have a serious drinking problem.

Jonathan Noble, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and former Manchester United club surgeon, began his research hoping to delve into the illnesses which may have sparked works of genius in great composers.

Yet after studying post-mortem reports and medical notes, he found that many did not suffer from the conditions attributed to them. And he concluded that claims of Mozart's alcoholism have "little foundation".

"Alcoholism is inconsistent with serious, sustained musical composition. If you're a true alcoholic, there's no way you can go around composing operas, symphonies or string quartets," he said.

Irish Independent

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