In the music world, relationships and love often play a role in the demise of a musician. In this article, you will learn of two composers who died under very different circumstances , one who had a forbidden affair and the other who tried in vain to save his wife from dying.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840 to 1893)
Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer responsible for the ‘Dance with the Sugarplum Fairy’ in the Nutcracker ballet. His works are still prominent within the musical community. He led a double life , one where he wanted to be an open homosexual, but instead, forced himself into loveless relationships with women. He even married, but the couple separated without divorce very shortly. In 1877, he met a devoted fan named Nadezhda von Meck. She was a rather wealthy widow who became his patron. They were kindred spirits, but she insisted that they never meet face to face. They wrote more than 1,000 letters to one another, which revealed a great deal of emotional details about Tchaikovsky. Without warning, Meck ended their correspondences, claiming bankruptcy in 1890. Tchaikovsky was devastated because Meck not only provided financial support, but also an emotional outlet.
Tchaikovsky then spent several years traveling around Europe and composing , dying under mysterious condition just nine days after the premiere of his sixth symphony, the Pathetique. For many years, people thought cholera had killed the composer. Some believe he had taken a sip of unboiled water. Another theory involves a relationship with a young nobleman or royal that he was tutoring, A Court of Honor may have proposed two ways on how to punish the composer. The first was to be exiled from Russia , something that would have crushed Tchaikovsky. The second may have been to commit suicide with a cover-up. It is thought that Tchaikovsky chose suicide so that he could protect his reputation, as well as the reputation of the school. The exact circumstances surrounding his death remain a great mystery.
Enrique Granados (1867 to 1916)
Granados was a Spanish nationalistic composer made famous for his piano suite and opera titled Goyescas. He drew inspiration from the paintings of Francisco Goya and loved infusing his music with the culture and characteristics of Spain. His life was full of success, but he met a tragic end. The premiere of his opera was canceled in Europe because of World War I. Eventually, the premiere was held at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, where it was quite a success. President Woodrow Wilson invited the composer to give a piano recital at the White House. However, this caused him to miss the boat back to Spain. He decided to take a boat to England, boarding a French ferry that would take them to France.
While crossing the English Channel, the ferry was hit by a German U-boat torpedo on March 24, 1916. Even though Granados had a fear of water, he jumped out of the lifeboat in an attempt to rescue his wife, Amparo. They both drowned. In an ironic twist, if they had just stayed in the cabin of the boat that they stayed in, he would have lived. The passengers in that part of the boat survived the attack and did not sink.