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Last Updated: Monday, 30 August 2004, 18:01 GMT 19:01 UK
Mozart 'may have had Tourette's'
Mozart apparently showed evidence of the condition in his music
A new Channel 4 documentary is to suggest that Mozart suffered from the compulsive obsessive disorder Tourette's Syndrome.

The claims have been made by British composer James McConnel, who himself has the condition.

McConnel says the clues are to be found in letters written by Mozart as well as his music.

Symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome can often include uncontrollable swearing and facial tics.

McConnel says that Mozart's fascination with wordplay and obsession with clocks, shoe sizes and gadgets, as well as his documented twitching all pointed to him being a Tourette's sufferer.


"Tourette's is a constant battle between chaos and control, having a compulsion and trying to control it, and that translates into music," he said.

"Mozart let his music run off in chaotic directions but then always brought it back under control."

However, McConnel, who is from Norfolk, says that even if Mozart had had the condition, it was not the root cause of his talent.

"He was a genius and while Tourette's syndrome may have affected the way in which his genius manifested himself, he would have been a brilliant composer without it."

Producer Marion Milne said the documentary would take a positive look at the composer's life.

"We are not seeking to discredit Mozart but celebrate who he was and his extraordinary achievement," she said.

The programme will be screened on Channel 4 in October.

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