Bill Cutler said:
>What a bummer! Ludwig didn't die from syphilis and had all the fun that
>implies. All he did was drink wine to get his buzz and died early because
>he insisted on drinking it from his favourite lead cup. We could have
>had 15 or 20 Beethoven symphonies (instead of 9 and one uncompleted one),
>but he had to go and drink from a poisonous vessel. From now on, I'm
>drinking my booze out of glasses only.
Although lead was used in pewter cups in the 1800's it was not thought
to be the major cause of Beethoven's poisoning. One of the possible
conclusions of the forensic group that did the analysis (at least as
presented in the Martin book) was that Beethoven preferred a particular
type of white wine which was treated with a process of exposure to lead
on purpose. This was supposed to improve the taste and make young wines
taste like older, better wines. This wine was known as "plumbed wine"
(not plum wine). By about 1810, "plumbed wine" production was greatly
reduced because the population was beginning to notice health effects,
but it was still available to Beethoven.
The speculation of what Beethoven may have, or may have not written if
he had not been affected by his deafness and constant severe gastrointestinal
problems is a debate that will undoubtedly survive well beyond the life
of this list. Did Beethoven's tormented life create the genius? Would
he have been a mediocre composer if he had perfect health and a loving
wife? The debate goes on!