by Roger Pratt
A remarkable number of composers over the years have died very young.
The list of those who died in their 30’s is long – Mozart, Bellini, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Bizet, Schubert, Purcell, Gershwin.
The Spanish composer Arriaga, often known as the ‘Spanish Mozart’, died when he was only 19, and yet still managed to complete an opera, a symphony, several string quartets and a range of church music.
The strangest of the lot was probably the English composer Jeremiah Clarke. Suffering from unrequited love for an aristocratic lady, he decided to commit suicide. He considered either drowning or hanging himself, and tossed a coin to decide. The coin landed in the mud on its side, so he shot himself instead – aged only 23.