Mozart A Life-Maynard Solomon-hardcover

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Mozart: A Life is based on an unsurpassed knowledge of the documentary sources, including numerous documents that have not previously appeared in any biography of the composer. It offers a beautifully written and absorbing narrative of Mozart's life, from his birth in 1756 and childhood in Salzburg to the extraordinary decade of acclaimed performances in the capitals of Europe, where he was honored by royal families and adoring audiences, to his emergence as a prolific young composer, his status as Salzburg's favorite son in the 1770s, his conquest of Vienna, his marriage there, his financial vicissitudes, his later journeys to Prague and Germany, his deepening melancholia, his final triumphs, and his premature death in 1791.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Beethoven biographer Solomon here presents a revisionist biography of Mozart, which his publisher claims is the first full-scale biography in nearly 40 years. Certainly it is a major work in terms of heft and range. Solomon will have none of the "divine child" approach, limning instead a man growing up under the shadow of an impossibly demanding father who was at once overprotective and jealous of his son's vast gifts. There is a great deal of psychological probing into the agonies of their relationship, much of it sensible; and Solomon paints an indelible portrait of Mozart's last years, begging for money, guilty about his deprived wife Constanze, resentful of being virtually cut out of his father's will, yet still heroically forging a new musical aesthetic. He also clears up much of the mystery about the bizarre Requiem commission, and the burial in the "pauper's grave." He is convinced that Mozart and his cousin "the Basle," recipient of many of the infamous smutty letters, were lovers for a time; and the portrait of the composer that emerges is of an extraordinarily sensitive, liberal-minded (the Masonic material is superb), extravagant but responsible person who has been much belittled by biographers beginning almost immediately after his death. Solomon also writes acutely about what was daringly new, and wonderfully enduring, about Mozart's music. Only a certain lack of flow between the chapters suggests the origin of much of this material in lectures. Illustrations. BOMC selection.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Solomon (music, Stonybrook Univ. and Harvard) follows up his well-received Beethoven (LJ 11/15/77) with another ambitious biography. The author explores Mozart's life and works with a wealth of facts that were culled from 18th-century sources as well as from the most recent scholarship. Mozart and his family emerge in a new light from this mass of well-chosen detail through Solomon's own convincing interpretation of events and relationships. Appropriate musical and pictorial examples, which will appeal to both scholarly and casual readers, accompany the text. The author closes the book with an impressive, well-annotated bibliography and indexes of Mozart's compositions by Kochel number and by common name. Recommended for music collections in both academic and public libraries. [BOMC main selection; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/94.]-James E. Ross, Seattle P.L.
--James E. Ross, Seattle P.L.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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