Western classical composer Handel ‘was binge eater and problem drinker’

April 2nd, 2009 - 12:26 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr.2 (ANI): Western classical composer George Frideric Handel was a binge eater and problem drinker.

According to a study reported by The Times, Handel’s gargantuan appetite resulted in lead poisoning that eventually killed him 250 years ago this month at the age of 74.

For 20 years before his death, he had been fighting severe health problems, including blindness, gout, bouts of paralysis and confused speech, the paper quoted David Hunter, music librarian at the University of Texas and author of more than 60 articles on Handel, as saying.

Surprisingly little is known about Handel’s private life, but evidence from portraits and contemporary descriptions support the theory that he began to suffer from lead poisoning in 1737, when he temporarily lost the use of his right hand, an incident previously attributed to a stroke.

In search of a cure, he travelled to Aachen, where he was immersed up to his chin in hot spring water.

Handel continued to have attacks and recoveries until, on the evening of April 13, 1759, he announced that he would no longer receive guests as he had “done with the world”. He died the following morning at the house in Brook Street, Mayfair, where he had lived for 36 years.

The building in London is now the Handel House Museum and Dr Hunter’s theory is explained in the catalogue to its forthcoming exhibition Handel Reveal’d. (ANI)

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