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I got a recommendation to read this from the Teaching Company lecture on Mozart s life The professor said this was the best book on Mozart. Mozart A Life is the well researched biography of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and was a finalist in for the Pulitzer in 1996 This narrative reads like a novel with Mozart s musical scores and notes throughout as we follow him through his early childhood in Salzburg to his acclaimed performances in the capitals of Europe as a child prodigy It follows him as he moves to Vienna, marries and continues to have success not only in Vienna but in Prague and Germany, as a promising young composer It als Mozart A Life is the well researched biography of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and was a finalist in for the Pulitzer in 1996 This narrative reads like a novel with Mozart s musical scores and notes throughout as we follow him through his early childhood in Salzburg to his acclaimed performances in the capitals of Europe as a child prodigy It follows him as he moves to Vienna, marries and continues to have success not only in Vienna but in Prague and Germany, as a promising young composer It also shadows his deepening melancholia as he works on his final work Requiem before his premature death at the age of 36 This will deepen the appreciation I will have when listening to Mozart s music in the future I have read this book many times, and it always strikes me what a profoundly human connection Maynard Solomon has with his subject, Wolfgang Mozart At times, Solomon s analysis may veer a bit heavily toward the Freudian, but there is no denying that Leopold Mozart was a profound influence on his son and maintained a hold on him throughout his life Solomon delves into that conflict, showing that Mozart was not as the eternal child but a man struggling to be autonomous and independent.He found I have read this book many times, and it always strikes me what a profoundly human connection Maynard Solomon has with his subject, Wolfgang Mozart At times, Solomon s analysis may veer a bit heavily toward the Freudian, but there is no denying that Leopold Mozart was a profound influence on his son and maintained a hold on him throughout his life Solomon delves into that conflict, showing that Mozart was not as the eternal child but a man struggling to be autonomous and independent.He found his own voice in his music, and Solomon s examination of the Fearful Symmetries especially in Mozart s second movements provide insight into Mozart as an artist, as a thinking and feeling man It helps to have recordings of the music Solomon references.Solomon also is well versed in Mozart s historical context, and knows that it is necessary to place Mozart in the context of the Enlightenment His examination of the plots and characters of the great operas perhaps givescredit to Mozart than to the librettists Lorenzo da Ponte and Emmanuel Schikaneder than is proper, but it does give insight into the type of libretto Mozart preferred stories that include the quiet subversion of established norms, the affirmation of humanity s dignity and goodness.I was impressed with the narrative arc Solomon found in Mozart s life one which makes his early death truly tragic It seems it so often happens that people who die young die when they are coming to a turn in their lives, struggling through troubles, trying to make good with their loved ones Such was Mozart s death, and Solomon shows that his death was not just a loss to the musical world, but over, it was a great loss to his family and friends Mozart was a beloved man, not because of his talent but because of his humanity, in whose service he placed his genius Just a note in regards the Good Reads reviewer who doesn t know how much of this is based on fact Solomon is meticulous in documenting his sources take a look at the extensive notes and bibliography , many of which are Mozart s correspondence with his family and of historical record He also examines the differences between Mozart s several biographies, giving different points of view and analyzing what might be conjecture rather than fact Where there are no facts, such as a period of time when Mozart was traveling without his wife and there is no documentation of where he was or what he did, he states this As with all nonfiction, critical reading skills are important when judging the scholarship and accuracy of this book, and, in my view, Solomon, a professor at Julliard, lives up to his reputation as an excellent and innovative academic Almost as good as Solomon s biography of Beethoven possibly even better because of the number of myths Solomon debunks I particularly liked the analysis of Mozart s finances in the final years he didn t die a pauper as the myth goes , but was successfully working himself out of some tough times If he had survived he died in December, 1791 , 1792 would probably have been his best year financially Mozart s death itself wasn t a result of any poisoning by Salieri or some other rival eve Almost as good as Solomon s biography of Beethoven possibly even better because of the number of myths Solomon debunks I particularly liked the analysis of Mozart s finances in the final years he didn t die a pauper as the myth goes , but was successfully working himself out of some tough times If he had survived he died in December, 1791 , 1792 would probably have been his best year financially Mozart s death itself wasn t a result of any poisoning by Salieri or some other rival even though Mozart did have a paranoid fantasy that he d been given a slow acting poison , but a recurrence of a disease probably scarlet fever that had almost killed him in childhood His so called pauper s funeral and unmarked grave wasn t the result of poverty, but was apparently the fashion among young men of a free thinking, Masonic bent.If you re interested in music, this book is essential If you ve seen Amadeus, it s a necessary antidote Superb biography and surprisingly gripping read Both the era and the personalities of the principles Wolfgang and his father Leopold, as well as the mother to a lesser extent are vivid I read and listen to pieces of the music as I go Solomon is so insightful about the psychological cross currents in the family Leopold must rank right up there with Kafka s father in the bad dad sweepstakes I am a novice listener don t know much about music, but I know what I like with no special know Superb biography and surprisingly gripping read Both the era and the personalities of the principles Wolfgang and his father Leopold, as well as the mother to a lesser extent are vivid I read and listen to pieces of the music as I go Solomon is so insightful about the psychological cross currents in the family Leopold must rank right up there with Kafka s father in the bad dad sweepstakes I am a novice listener don t know much about music, but I know what I like with no special knowledge of classical music I was having to look up things like how a Divermento is different from a Sonata or a Concerto But Solomon s reflections on and interpretations of Mozart s music have enhanced and deepened my own listening and I m only about 200 pages into this big biography Here is a beautiful sentence Although some of us may want simply to give ourselves to this music rather than to tax it with bootless questions, others may want to speculate about the sources and meanings of this strange mixture of beatitude and terror Page 194 This lovely sentence is nestled in several pages of reflection about Mozart s Adagio movements, the strange mixture of beatitude and terror, with connections to a wide variety of thinkers on art and meaning, why we listen or view art, why it is essential to our being I love this book and recommend highly.I can hardly recall when I have enjoyed reading a bookBoth the author and Wolfgang are good company I learned about so many things I d never thought about before Unlike us, Mozart and his contemporaries didn t grow up listening to a classical music All music then was contemporary music Mozart,or less, invented the Concerto form and innovated radically in ways that are hard to hear counterpoint, key changes, tempo variations because I just hear it whole For us, it s not a challenge to like Mozart, most people do like Mozart, but now I appreciatewhat I am actually listening to The books states that Mozart overflowed with melodic ideas That I can hear As for the author, yes, he does outline a psychoanalytic take on Mozart and the music But I really appreciate how he presents it as an account, not necessarily the only account nor a definitive account, but coherent and thoughtful nonetheless In 35 years of life Mozart composed over 600 works, and some major ones in his last months He had a wife, children, many friends, he was a Mason, he traveled widely His relationships were complicated and some were broken sister , his finances were a mess, he wrote letters all the time It staggers the mind He is always present in the music of course, but the book made him live for me as I followed his life Would give this 3.5 stars if possible Solomon is brilliant when sticking with close readings of Mozart s music and his account of Mozart s last years is both coruscating and a needed reimagining of that time of his life His application of Freudian criticism to the life is problematic much of it turns on not surprisingly Mozart s relationship to Leopold, his demanding father Solomon sees this relationship as what defines Mozart s life but his analysis is based too much on assumptions that I Would give this 3.5 stars if possible Solomon is brilliant when sticking with close readings of Mozart s music and his account of Mozart s last years is both coruscating and a needed reimagining of that time of his life His application of Freudian criticism to the life is problematic much of it turns on not surprisingly Mozart s relationship to Leopold, his demanding father Solomon sees this relationship as what defines Mozart s life but his analysis is based too much on assumptions that I don t think are born out by the letters he cites Solomon knows the music and shows it on some measure by measure examination and explains it well for the non specialist Recommended for that reasonthan anything else Given the Freudian structure that he imposes on Mozart s life, Solomon s analysis of Don Giovanni beginning with the confrontation between the Commendatore and Giovanni and the Requiem could be required reading for fans of the composer Solomon has earned his reputation on the strength of this work and his Beethoven biography He takes a methodical and in depth approach to these difficult projects.Part forensic biography, part Freudian conjecture, part musicology, and part myth buster, Solomon works hard on his craft In this Mozart biography, the key highlight is the father son relationship Mozart s father Leopold was the prototypical Hollywood parent who capitalized on his gifted son Both Mozart s parents were musicians, as Solomon has earned his reputation on the strength of this work and his Beethoven biography He takes a methodical and in depth approach to these difficult projects.Part forensic biography, part Freudian conjecture, part musicology, and part myth buster, Solomon works hard on his craft In this Mozart biography, the key highlight is the father son relationship Mozart s father Leopold was the prototypical Hollywood parent who capitalized on his gifted son Both Mozart s parents were musicians, as was his older sister Marianne With his two talented children, Leopold traveled throughout Europe on grand tours that lasted years Mozart in particular was recognized as a child prodigy and his reputation and name become known throughout the courts and the music circles of Europe.Small in stature, possessed with a quick and often banal wit, and prolific, Mozart stands at the highest levels of musics stars Leopold came from modest beginnings and was fixated on money He would constantly fret and complain to his high spirited son about the costs and challenges in staying financially afloat These complaints were often exaggerated as Leopold was careful with his spending and was opportunistic in cashing in on the fame of his famous son Solomon concludes that Leopold loved Mozart dearly As Mozart transitions from child prodigy to rock star status, Leopold works to delay the inevitable separation as love, fame, and independence temps his son away from his influence Mozart s two earliest love affairs were dashed by Leopold s disapproval Mozart, the loving and obedient son, endures his father s overbearing and controlling impulses Rather than direct confrontations, both father and son take a passive aggressive approach to show displeasure or explain away hurtful behavior Mozart, finally fed up, marries Constanze Weber, the younger sister of his first love Aloysia, without his father s consent Mozart endured a few career challenges in his life He had to overcome his early fame to establish himself as a mature composer and musician Later in life, he experienced setbacks and reversal as the whims of the musical public shifted He ended his life with financial strain, butdue to poor money management than a rejection of his work Mozart died at the age of 35, just a few years after the death of Leopold His frenetic pace and early start offset his early death He left the world with hundreds of his compositions of which many have entered into the perennial canon of music lore Solomon investigates the Mozart myths Did Leopold write some of Mozart s compositions when he was a child Was Mozart a profligate lover and unfaithful to his wife Was Mozart impoverished at the time of his death Was Mozart truly an eternal child Was Mozart poisoned Solomon speculates that Leopold probably contributed to some of Mozart s early compositions, but that Mozart was clearly a supernatural talent and quickly surpassed his father s talent Solomon guesses that Mozart did stray from his marital bed, but that his sexual excesses were probably less than some of hissalacious biographers claim Although Mozart was struggling financially at the time of his death, he was still producing music that was popular and produced significant income Solomon believes the eternal child myth is exaggerated, but leaves the door open to the question His controlling father served as a guiding force to temper his exuberant son After Leopold s death, Mozart may have reverted to childish and unwise behavior when faced with freedom from his critical parent Regarding the poisoning question, Solomon touches on the matter but has no medical evidence to support this myth.Solomon uses the many letters between father and son, Mozart to his sister, and Mozart to his wife to study this enigmatic genius Mozart was fond of word play, encryption, double entendre, bathroom humor, and riddles He was an enthusiastic and active member of the free masons Mozart lived an abundant life despite its short duration He captured fame, experience great love, produced enduring work and established his mark of one of the greatest geniuses in history Joy, love, loss, inner turmoil, romance, betrayal and hope are among the emotions that Mozart s music symbolizes While Beethoven s music instills feelings of angst and violent emotions, Mozart s music is filled with exuberant love, optimism and majestic beauty Solomon attempts to decipher the music as it relates to the moods, intentions and subliminal messages from Mozart Genius is difficult to understand, but Solomon, as with his Beethoven biography, succeeds on many levels Solomon is careful with his subject He does not take advantage of theinteresting Mozart myths to entertain his readers Instead he offerspragmatic theories on Mozart s important relationships, his career choices, his emotional state and his financial status using supporting documents and letters to substantiate these ideas Without theinteresting and speculative myths, Solomon s biographies are a tad dry Considering the limits of understanding historical figures whose stories have been distorted over time to make themfolksy, Solomon provides a realistic and careful study of his larger than life subjects i don t know how much of this is based on fact, but it makes learning something about mozart s life and made it a great story i guess it is a good place to start if you are a fiction reader who wants to learn something about a real person. Solomon s Mozart A Life was published in 1995 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for biography Solomon co founded Vanguard Records, has taught at Columbia, Yale, Harvard and the Julliard School of Music, and authored several books including a highly regarded biography of Beethoven.Two things are immediately clear when reading this biography it is built upon a foundation of assiduous and likely painstaking researchand it is not for the fain Solomon s Mozart A Life was published in 1995 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for biography Solomon co founded Vanguard Records, has taught at Columbia, Yale, Harvard and the Julliard School of Music, and authored several books including a highly regarded biography of Beethoven.Two things are immediately clear when reading this biography it is built upon a foundation of assiduous and likely painstaking researchand it is not for the faint of heart Solomon s narrative is neither an easy to follow chronological treatment of Mozart s life nor a particularly colorful one Instead, it is fact and conjucture dense, thematic and disappointingly dry with a puzzling predilection for psychoanalysis.Most readers will conclude there is much about Mozart s life which is simply unknowable but that Solomon diligently unearthed and analyzed every available bit of information Unfortunately, the resulting narrative too often resembles the transcript of a tedious college lecture with little historical context, too much supposition and speculation, and almost no sense of narrative vibrancy Very few readers will find the book hard to put down.Great biographies generally provide robust introductions to a subject s family as well as his or her most important friends and colleagues In this case Solomon provides only the barest of disclosure relating to anyone other than Mozart s father whose presence throughout the book is pervasive , his sister who receives her own admittedly excellent chapter and Mozart himself His mother and wife receive minimal coverage and his six children rarely appear at all.Instead, the author exhibits a curious fascination with Mozart s finances a preoccupation so unrelenting that one might suspect the author of being a forensic accountant in a past life But if this unyielding focus on 18th century accounting appeals to some readers, what they may be disappointed not to find is a thorough and systematic analysis of Mozart s musical compositions.In addition, despite its Pulitzer imprimatur this biography fails to paint a cohesive or richly textured portrait of it subject Readers unfamiliar with Mozart s life are unlikely to finish this book feeling as though they really understand him or have a good sense of what made him tick In the end, he seems oddly inert and unexpectedlyuninteresting.But Solomon s biography is not without its high points His focus on Mozart s relationship with his father, though far too Freudian, is interesting The chapter on his relationship with his sister and their eventual estrangement is fascinating And the chapter covering Mozart s Masonic membership provides revealing insight into his character and motivations But the pages which explore Mozart s Zoroastran riddles may be the most unexpected and intellectually compelling of the book.Overall, Maynard Solomon s Mozart A Life is a fact and conjecture rich biography of one of the 18th century s most creative and unsettled artists But if Mozart s life was multi hued and utterly captivating as I suspect it was Solomon almost entirely fails to capture that magic And in the end his biography of Mozart, which is likely to appeal only to a narrow audience, is disappointingly dry and dull.Overall rating 2 stars ^DOWNLOAD KINDLE ☔ Mozart ↟ On the occasion of Mozart s two hundred and fiftieth birthday, read Maynard Solomon s Mozart A Life, universally hailed as the Mozart biography of our time