You Can’t Handel the Truth

“A famous lock of hair — the subject of a book and a documentary — was not Beethoven’s. It was from an Ashkenazi Jewish woman. The study also found that Beethoven did not have lead poisoning, as had been widely believed. Nor was he a Black man, as some had proposed. And a Flemish family in Belgium — who share the last name van Beethoven and had proudly claimed to be related — have no genetic ties to him.” They learned all that and a whole lot more from a lock of hair a dying man asked friends to clip for remembrance. Gina Kolata in the NYT (Gift Article): DNA From Beethoven’s Hair Unlocks Medical and Family Secrets. When reading news and assorted hot takes, it’s worth noting that we’re still piecing together the cause of death for a guy who died in 1827. Looking Bach, the truth was Haydn in plain sight.

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