Mozart – His Life and Times, published by Paganiniana Publishers is a delightful coffee table book. The glossy hard cover flaunts a full eight by eleven inch colored profile of Mozart – his eyes glaring intelligently ahead, his lips slightly pinched as though in deep concentration, and his hair pushed straight back, wild and unruly.
The book contains drawings, quotes from personal letters written by Mozart, diary entries, copies of his original sheet music, many portraits of Mozart, his family, other famous musicians he befriended, and members of the Royal Courts of various regions where he performed. Also included are sketches of local European landscapes as they appeared during Mozart’s lifetime, pictures of palaces, cathedrals, and opera houses.
Mozart had a short life, a mere 35 years, but he made a universal contribution to the world of music. He was playing whole pieces (minuets and concertos) by the time he was four years old and was a published composer by age seven.
He was mentored by Johann Sebastian Bach’s son Johann Christian and they frequently improvised together. “Bach would take the young boy on his knees, and in this way they played together, alternating on the same clavier, for two hours without interruption, in the presence of the King and Queen.” (Pg. 41)
If you appreciate classical music and enjoy listening to Mozart, you will enjoy this book.
Aside from a detailed description of all the events in his musical career, the book also showcases his personal life. “He was seventeen and behind him were the easy successes of his childhood and boyhood. He was still the same Wolfgang, gay, nonsensical, untidy, and unrealistic, impulsive, scatty and warmhearted.” (Pg. 69)
He was honored and beloved by his audiences and contemporaries including the renowned Josef Haydn but In spite of Mozart’s love of music and dedication to his profession, life was not always easy or pleasant. And not everyone honored Mozart. At the age of twenty-five he was thrown out of the regional palace by his boss, the Archbishop of Salzburg, Colloredo von Schrattenbach. “Colloredo had him propelled out of the palace literally with a kick on his behind.” (Pg. 89)
Read about his marriage, home life, and social life. Relish the fact that in his personal life, Mozart was just a highly vulnerable mortal young man because, in contrast, as Einstein once said (Pg. 31) “As an artist, or a musician, Mozart was not a man of this world.” He was clearly a genius!
Rated 5 Stars.
I use a rating scale of 1 to 5. Books rated 1, I seldom finish. Books rated 2, I usually finish but would never recommend to anyone. 5 is the highest rating.