Mozart: A Life

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HarperCollinsPublishers, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 640 pages
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.

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User Review  - Kirkus

Finally, a Mozart biography that evokes a believable portrait of a striving, powerfully creative human being. Solomon, author of the ground-breaking life of Beethoven (1977), now turns his attention ... Read full review

Mozart: a life

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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 ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

Maynard Solomon's books on Beethoven and his renowned writings on Mozart, Schubert, and Ives led a contributor to Music & Letters to name him "the leading musicologist-biographer of our time." His classic biography, Beethoven, has been translated into seven languages and his Beethoven Essays received the Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society for best book of the year in 1989. Mr. Solomon, who lives in New York, has taught at Columbia, Harvard, and Yale Universities.

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