Dr. John Taylor treated Bach and Handel with disastrous results, perhaps causing the death of both composers. Did it impact the course of Western music?
Hindsight IS, after all, 20/20.
Terrifically informative post, and so well-written. Thank you!
Fascinating history, well told. Thank you. Reminded me of the fantastic book “Destiny of the Republic” about president Garfield’s assassination and death. He probably would have survived if the doctors had left him alone!!
Medicine was a real crapshoot before the mid 20th century. It's not for nothing that homeopathy took off - sure, it doesn't do anything, but it wouldn't actually make you worse, like most 18th and 19th century medical treatments.
Interesting article. Who knew? From Frank Zappa to Bach and Handel in the same week! Brilliant.
Ted, you may recall Will Friedwald's assertion, which at first I thought to be satirical, that Mitch Miller was trying to kill off popular music by assigning songs to Frank Sinatra during Sinatra's last years at Columbia which were so awful poor Sinatra was known to have vomited after one of those sessions. If Will Friedwald was right about Mitch Miller, Dr Taylor was the inadvertent but far more successful Mitch Miller of his era.
To say nothing for the poor birds .....
Excellent! Story and the accounting!
I don't know what it was like 250 years ago for young aspiring composers like Haydn and Mozart, but JS simply towers over CPE.
I never heard this story before! Poor Bach and Handel.
I have yet to find any of your commentary, opinions and musings less than fascinating, enlightening and enriching.
I began, in my early teens (intuitively, rather than objectively) becoming a regular reader of arts critique. My childhood, youth and younger adulthood were spent in Houston Texas and we had an embarrassment of riches in the arts reviews of various contributors to the Houston Post.
As time went on I expanded to the arts critique of numerous additional publications of all sorts. The very best of those writers seem to almost always offer helpful and artful - even poetic - reflections on the artworks under consideration but, also, on life itself.
I thank you for continuing to contribute to that flow of cultural nourishment.
Very interesting and thought provoking, thank you Ted.
“Taylor used the blood from slaughtered pigeons as eye drops, and often applied a baked apple to the eye with a bandage.”
Just felt compelled to highlight this…
Wow. The blind leading the blind.
The doctor (snake oil salesman) clearly had a hand in the demise of the two great composers but I'm not sure he was solely responsible for the end of Baroque. I have an impression 1700 - 1750 as more of a transition period and of J.S. Bach being part of it, but nothing I could prove.
A lot of baroque music seems quite stilted but J.S. seems to stand out from his contemporaries because of his melodic invention, sense of harmony and great use of compound time signatures.
One of the first jazz albums I bought in the 60,s was Jaques Loussier Plays Bach No5 (I still have it)
His compositions still seem fresh and great vehicles for Jazz improvisation (as he was a great improviser himself).
much appreciation for another enlightening post...