Sir: Linda Marsden's recollection (letter, 6 October) of 'le tableau de l'operation de la taille' by the 17th- century French composer Marin Marais reminds me in turn of an even more 'pathological' composer: Dr Herman M. Parris of Philadelphia. In 1948 he composed The Hospital, a 10-movement suite describing a young woman's operation for appendectomy. It included movements entitled 'A Pre-operation Prayer' (andantino), 'The Operating Room' (allegro-molto agitato) and 'Anaesthesia' (presto).
Before then, in 1932, Dr Forde McLoughlin of Toronto composed Influenza - A Tone Poem. And, of course, there was George Onslow (1784-1853), who wrote The Bullet Quintet as the result of being struck in the head by a bullet while boar-/wolf-hunting.
Shipley, West Yorkshire