An inter-disciplinary collaboration on music, mortality and ethics.
In 1824, ill and conscious of his own mortality, Franz Schubert incorporated a theme from one his earlier lieder “Der Tod und das Mädchen” (Death and the Maiden) into a new string quartet. Schubert’s emotive musical treatment of Claudius’ poem evokes the intense conflict between struggle and acceptance in the face of death. Medical professionals, especially those who work in palliative care, often have considerable experience of dying and death, and have a view about what would constitute a “good death”. But what does it mean for a death to be good? Is there an objective sense of what would count as a good death? What ethical weight should be placed on the importance of a good death?