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Mozart: A Life


The apparently effortless delight of Mozart's music seems so godlike in its inspiration that critics often give way to awe. The result is that Mozart ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Mozart: A Life

Overall customer rating: 3.000

Contains insights, but also annoys

by ghmus7 on May 24, 2008

Manyard Solomon's works on Beethoven, Schubert, Ives and Mozart have led many to proclaim his as "the leading musicologist/biographer of our time'" As a reader, there is much delight in discovering much interesting material regarding his personality, the situation surrounding the presentation of new works, Mozart's working habits' travels and other areas, however, this is a pschological biography, and there is really little in-depth understanding of the music. The author settles for a kind of 'emotional saran - wrap' approach which tells the reader little regarding how the music is constructed and why it was meaningful for Mozart to choose this particular path, an how that is became 'emotional' ontology of the work at hand. Solomon seems to assume that the work which Mozard is composing at aparticular time reflect Mozart's emptional state at that time. But this is an out-moded concept that has been shown to be false. Mozart penned some of his most joyful confident works (such as some of the piano concertos) when in a depressing personal situation. All the Mozart biographers go ape-**** (no pun intended) when the "scatalogical material'" is discussed, such as the letters with rather funny references to bodily functions. Here Solomom induges in theries a la Freudian which are somewhat silly, and rather strained pschologically. Why can't we just accept the fact that Mozat liked jokes about farting! Mozart has never been canonized. Very much worth reading but can get annoying if you are not a Freudian. The tone of the book is depressing, bordering on nihilistic. Especially when describing Mozart's father, one can think that Leopld apsolutley did nothing positivr ever for him son, and always merley a o pain to him, whom Wolfgang wanted to escape. It is clear, even from a cursury reading of the facts of Mosart's life, that he did nit have a life-giving relationship with his father. Wolfgang was to struggle between his onw desired and the guilt-laden pleading of his father not to move farther away form him. It if clear that this was a major iten in Wolfgang's psyce, and every biographer has commented on this. But it des seem a little annoying to have to revert to a freudian model of 'fathers' and sons' to make sense of their evolving relationship. It seems to me that the author feel that Mozars was merely "filled with rage' during his relationshio as a late teen-ager with his father, and this seems a little extreme. Every son goes through a period of invivdualization and seperation from his father, and even the greatest musical genious in western music had to also.

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