I was sorry to read of the death of Don Campbell, aged 65. We clashed on radio several times over two books that he wrote – The Mozart Effect and The Mozart Effect for Children – in which he argued with great passion that playing one particular composer to babies in the womb on would create little Einsteins and foster world peace. The hypothesis originated in 1991 with a Frenchman, Dr Alfred A. Tomatis. Don merely added sauce.
Many bought the idea, for a while. A governor of the state of Georgia, Zell Miller, ordered Mozart tapes to be distributed to pregnant mothers.
But the evidence failed to stand up to rigorous testing and the success proved ephemeral. There is simply no reason that Mozart should do more good or harm to babies than Haydn or Hindemith, though I’d advise you to keep them clear of Webern and Babbitt until after their first birthday.
Don was a passionate populist and polemicist. Our arguments were always respectful and good-natured.