Mozart: A Life
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. Narrative chapters alternate with rich and imaginative in-depth explorations of issues crucial to understanding Mozart - his antic disposition, his penchant for the bawdy, his enigmatic Zoroastran riddles, his perplexing adoption of the code name "Adam", his brilliance as an impresario, his tangled finances, his Masonic creed, and his rending contest with his father, which continued to shadow him even after Leopold Mozart's death in 1787. And in a series of highly original chapters, Solomon probes such musical topics as the finding of Mozart's personal voice in his early serenades; the innovative character of his slow movements; the blend of strangeness and ecstasy in some of his most beautiful instrumental works; and the disquieting effect of his later operas.