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From the acclaimed composer and biographer Jan Swafford comes the definitive biography of one of the most lauded musical geniuses in history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. At the earliest ages it was apparent that Wolfgang Mozart’s singular imagination was at work in every direction. He hated to be bored and hated to be idle, and through his life he responded to these threats wi From the acclaimed composer and biographer Jan Swafford comes the definitive biography of one of the most lauded musical geniuses in history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. At the earliest ages it was apparent that Wolfgang Mozart’s singular imagination was at work in every direction. He hated to be bored and hated to be idle, and through his life he responded to these threats with a repertoire of antidotes mental and physical. Whether in his rabidly obscene mode or not, Mozart was always hilarious. He went at every piece of his life, and perhaps most notably his social life, with tremendous gusto. His circle of friends and patrons was wide, encompassing anyone who appealed to his boundless appetites for music and all things pleasurable and fun. Mozart was known to be an inexplicable force of nature who could rise from a luminous improvisation at the keyboard to a leap over the furniture. He was forever drumming on things, tapping his feet, jabbering away, but who could grasp your hand and look at you with a profound, searching, and melancholy look in his blue eyes. Even in company there was often an air about Mozart of being not quite there. It was as if he lived onstage and off simultaneously, a character in life’s tragicomedy but also outside of it watching, studying, gathering material for the fabric of his art. Like Jan Swafford’s biographies Beethoven and Johannes Brahms, Mozart is the complete exhumation of a genius in his life and ours: a man who would enrich the world with his talent for centuries to come and who would immeasurably shape classical music. As Swafford reveals, it’s nearly impossible to understand classical music’s origins and indeed its evolutions, as well as the Baroque period, without studying the man himself.


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From the acclaimed composer and biographer Jan Swafford comes the definitive biography of one of the most lauded musical geniuses in history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. At the earliest ages it was apparent that Wolfgang Mozart’s singular imagination was at work in every direction. He hated to be bored and hated to be idle, and through his life he responded to these threats wi From the acclaimed composer and biographer Jan Swafford comes the definitive biography of one of the most lauded musical geniuses in history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. At the earliest ages it was apparent that Wolfgang Mozart’s singular imagination was at work in every direction. He hated to be bored and hated to be idle, and through his life he responded to these threats with a repertoire of antidotes mental and physical. Whether in his rabidly obscene mode or not, Mozart was always hilarious. He went at every piece of his life, and perhaps most notably his social life, with tremendous gusto. His circle of friends and patrons was wide, encompassing anyone who appealed to his boundless appetites for music and all things pleasurable and fun. Mozart was known to be an inexplicable force of nature who could rise from a luminous improvisation at the keyboard to a leap over the furniture. He was forever drumming on things, tapping his feet, jabbering away, but who could grasp your hand and look at you with a profound, searching, and melancholy look in his blue eyes. Even in company there was often an air about Mozart of being not quite there. It was as if he lived onstage and off simultaneously, a character in life’s tragicomedy but also outside of it watching, studying, gathering material for the fabric of his art. Like Jan Swafford’s biographies Beethoven and Johannes Brahms, Mozart is the complete exhumation of a genius in his life and ours: a man who would enrich the world with his talent for centuries to come and who would immeasurably shape classical music. As Swafford reveals, it’s nearly impossible to understand classical music’s origins and indeed its evolutions, as well as the Baroque period, without studying the man himself.

30 review for Mozart: The Reign of Love

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Oliver

    This is an exhaustive biography of Mozart (832 pages) that covers his life in intricate detail and examines the brilliance of his music as well as the complexities of his character and family life. The book also dispels the many historical inaccuries and myths that been ingrained into the public consciousness over the years through liberties taken in film and theatrical depictions as well as gossip. Fortunately for biographers, Mozart's life was well-documented through letters. Indeed, his fathe This is an exhaustive biography of Mozart (832 pages) that covers his life in intricate detail and examines the brilliance of his music as well as the complexities of his character and family life. The book also dispels the many historical inaccuries and myths that been ingrained into the public consciousness over the years through liberties taken in film and theatrical depictions as well as gossip. Fortunately for biographers, Mozart's life was well-documented through letters. Indeed, his father, realizing his son's talents and the importance of his legacy, made a concerted effort to record the minute details of their travels, performances and the public's reaction to them. The author does a remarkable job at describing life during this time. The first half of the book, which details the many “concert tours” that Mozart and his sister Nannerl made beginning when Mozart was only five years old, is particularly vivid. The book is as much a biography of Mozart's father (Leopold) as it is him, detailing his drives and desires to immortalize his son. Mozart's relationships with his sister, mother and wife are also closely examined. The descriptions of life during the time is also quite fascinating. The only part of the book I didn't enjoy were the lengthy and technical descriptions of Mozart's work. Readers who have a knowledge of music will no doubt find these analyses worthwhile (the author is a musician himself) but non-musicians like myself, will probably begin skimming. An appendix of musical forms in Mozart's time, bibliography, works cited and an index of musical compositions is included.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robert Sheard

    There's only ever been one criticism of Mozart's music (and it's wrong, of course): "too many notes." That's actually the criticism I have of Swafford's biography. At 740 densely-packed pages, it's at least 250 pages too long because Swafford is really doing two things here where only one was necessary. The first is the actual biography of Mozart's all-too-brief life and miraculous career, starting when he was five years old and a prodigy through to his death at age 35, while racing to finish his There's only ever been one criticism of Mozart's music (and it's wrong, of course): "too many notes." That's actually the criticism I have of Swafford's biography. At 740 densely-packed pages, it's at least 250 pages too long because Swafford is really doing two things here where only one was necessary. The first is the actual biography of Mozart's all-too-brief life and miraculous career, starting when he was five years old and a prodigy through to his death at age 35, while racing to finish his greatest sacred work, his Requiem. But within each chapter, many of which are devoted to the periods of individual tours of Europe or devoted to the periods surrounding the composition of major works, Swafford includes detailed, complicated, and frankly tedious analyses of the musical forms, keys, and the development of individual works, even to the level of individual phrases. It's just "too many notes." A lay reader without an extensive musical theory background is going to get little out of those sections and they completely distract from the wonderful biographical flow of Mozart's life and career. Had he left those sections at a bare minimum, I'd be praising this book much more highly. A real joy to come from reading this biography, however, was the excuse to re-explore much of Mozart's body of work. Just imagine if he had lived another five decades, as his wife did.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    If you’ve ever wanted to read a book about Mozart, to learn about the man and his music, this is the book. No original research: the author builds his narrative from all the most recent and highest quality secondary sources. The author’s unique contribution is the sensitivity, born of his own compositional work, that he brings to music analysis. Despite everything I’ve read about Mozart (and I’ve read a lot), I still learned so much from this book: about what different keys meant to Mozart and h If you’ve ever wanted to read a book about Mozart, to learn about the man and his music, this is the book. No original research: the author builds his narrative from all the most recent and highest quality secondary sources. The author’s unique contribution is the sensitivity, born of his own compositional work, that he brings to music analysis. Despite everything I’ve read about Mozart (and I’ve read a lot), I still learned so much from this book: about what different keys meant to Mozart and how he used them; the wonderful music he wrote to play with his friends; and his marvelous late chamber works. Excellent book that I cannot recommend highly enough!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Dockrill

    Such a good book! There is no argument that Jan Swafford is an extremely talented writer and knows his musicology. I have yet to read his other two books on Brahms and Beethoven, but having just finished Mozart I cannot wait. This book is so in depth taking us from Wolfgang's birth all the way to his death and the journey was like drinking a glass of wine - or whatever your favorite beverage might be. The only parts of the book that I had to slog through a little bit is when he breaks down the me Such a good book! There is no argument that Jan Swafford is an extremely talented writer and knows his musicology. I have yet to read his other two books on Brahms and Beethoven, but having just finished Mozart I cannot wait. This book is so in depth taking us from Wolfgang's birth all the way to his death and the journey was like drinking a glass of wine - or whatever your favorite beverage might be. The only parts of the book that I had to slog through a little bit is when he breaks down the meter on which Mozart wrote his operas and piano concherto's in, this was largely meant for those who are well versed in music notation and bars. I found myself after the first few instances of Swafford explaining it, simply skimming it. But this is no fault of Swafford's of course, what else does someone expect when reading about a musical prodigy. Another thing that was quite nice was that Swafford takes a very nuanced debunking approach to Mozart in that he tries to dispel some of the myths that have come to be attached to his legend since his death. He really makes you stop and think just how unstable trying to make a career for yourself as a musician was in the 18th century. There were no record labels and you had to depend on the relationships you built within the court and hope that you exhibited enough flair when you played that someone might wish to become your patron. But even having found a patron was not necessarily enough as there were many talented musicians within a given city who quite often had their knives out and would be only to eager to sabotage your career. Mozart was certainly a force of nature and really gave me a new respect for his ability and all he had to overcome, and some of the child prodigies of our lifetime - arguably an Elton John for example. All in all I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Mozart even if you don't possess a strong understanding of musical structure, it doesn't take away from the experience at all, but the rest of the story is very rewarding and Swafford really succeeds in bringing Wolfgang to life. I cannot wait to dive into more of Swafford's work as he has gained himself a new loyal reader.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Philip Koslow

    First, let's get the biographical information corrected....Many years ago on the planet Krypton, Jorel and Lara placed their infant son on a spacecraft enabling it to escape the catastrophe about to consume their planet. Launching it into space without a GPS, it eventually landed in the small yet picture post card alpine village on Earth called Salzburg. Adopted by unsuspecting parents to be the child named Wolfgang at age 5 seemingly, without any musical training, jumped up on a piano bench and First, let's get the biographical information corrected....Many years ago on the planet Krypton, Jorel and Lara placed their infant son on a spacecraft enabling it to escape the catastrophe about to consume their planet. Launching it into space without a GPS, it eventually landed in the small yet picture post card alpine village on Earth called Salzburg. Adopted by unsuspecting parents to be the child named Wolfgang at age 5 seemingly, without any musical training, jumped up on a piano bench and played yet unknown tunes which caused his father to exclaim..."He is a miracle." For the next 35 years and 11 months the lad continued to leap tall buildings at a single bound and enjoyed life like a speeding bullet. Really, could this all be true? Jan Swafford presents us with a different story however in 740 pages of action packed string quartets, operas, symphonies, piano concertos and other assorted musical bon bons all to prove a point that all of this has something to do with "Love." And he does so, convincingly. Building his story on the shoulders of such imminent music thinkers as Maynard Solomon, Alfred Einstein, Volkmar Braunbehrens, Edward Dent, H.C. Robbins Landon and a few others, much of the mythical anecdotes are dispelled. Yes, we know who commissioned the Requiem Mass as Mozart neared death (one Herr Franz von Walsegg), and that Mozart was not poisoned by Salieri and that Mozart's marriage to Constanze was truly a loving relationship. Copious end notes and resource reading citations back up Mr. Swafford's presentation and this tome will likely be the "go to" place when looking for details about Mozart and Da Ponte, Mozart and Schikaneder, Mozart and Opera, Mozart and letters to his father (Leopold) and his sister (Nannerl). And did I mention the piano concerti, wind music and string chamber music. All there and ably noted. A few quotes that may encourage you to explore this wonderful read....Mr Swafford opines on page 469..."To make a broad generalization: music needs both simplicity, for coherence and expression, and complexity, for depth and durability."...."Mozart's surface is often deceptively simple and direct. But often in his finest work...the material is richly varied in shape and rhythm and expression....managed by subtle and complex form." Wise words indeed. Or page 471...."No artist made more of pleasure-made it deeper, more liberated, more sensual-than Mozart." I agree. And in a conclusion on page 733...."From childhood, music was his (Mozart's) native language and his mode of living. He thought deeply but in tones, felt mainly in tones, loved in tones, and steeped himself in the world he was creating with tones. From a life made of music he wove his music into the fabric of our times. More and more toward the end, as he reached toward new territories, his art found a consecrated beauty that rose from love: love of music, love of his wife, love of humanity in all its gnarled splendor, love of the eternal yearning for God in the human heart. His work served all that. Whatever his image of God by the time he reached the Requiem, it was taken up in his humanity, and his humanity was for all time, and it was exalted in his art." Moving sentiments indeed. Thus the streaking comet that blazed the sky on January 27, 1756 and expired in December 1791 left us with the profound image of mankind as a better angel. BTW-the author does not explain the letter "K" appended to each of Mozart's cited compositions. In case you find yourself under assault at your Friday evening cocktail reception and this issue arrises: Just remind all those within earshot that Ludwig von Kochel attempted to organize Mozart's output chronologically in the late 19th century with some success. Since then the list has been revised twice and in its 6th edition. The "K" represents Herr Kochel's initial of his last name. With that one reservation this book is highly recommended.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather Barkley

    Fantastic! I heard of this when Tyler Cowen recommended it as one of the top books of the year. I trust Tyler's lists, however I thought this one looked intimidating due to the length/cover/general vibe of the book. Instead of buying it for myself I bought it for Christmas for my Mom, a former music teacher. Anyway, I posted the link to Tyler's list on my twitter, my Dad saw it, and he coincidentally also decided to buy my Mom a copy for Christmas. So she had two copies on Christmas Day. I took Fantastic! I heard of this when Tyler Cowen recommended it as one of the top books of the year. I trust Tyler's lists, however I thought this one looked intimidating due to the length/cover/general vibe of the book. Instead of buying it for myself I bought it for Christmas for my Mom, a former music teacher. Anyway, I posted the link to Tyler's list on my twitter, my Dad saw it, and he coincidentally also decided to buy my Mom a copy for Christmas. So she had two copies on Christmas Day. I took mine back. At that point, I was like, I might as well read it. I was pleasantly surprised how readable and interesting it was! I took it slow and looked up and lost of the musical works mentioned as I went along, and then made a playlist in chronological order. It has definitely helped me get to know and understand Mozart better. I enjoy when the author gives his explanations of what type of feeling a piece evokes (a couple sipping wine on a spring day, etc.) I was interested the whole time. I am also now wanting to read the author's other books on Brahms and Beethoven. And I am still enjoying my playlist!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    As I closed the back cover of MOZART: THE REIGN OF LOVE, wishing incredibly that it might go on just a little longer than its 800-and-some pages, I suddenly realized that the hero of Jan Swafford’s amazing biography was just half my age when he died on December 5, 1791. Had Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived beyond 35, a point at which the world already recognized him to have “arrived” as a consummate composing and performing artist, what further marvels might he have accomplished? Anyone who has writ As I closed the back cover of MOZART: THE REIGN OF LOVE, wishing incredibly that it might go on just a little longer than its 800-and-some pages, I suddenly realized that the hero of Jan Swafford’s amazing biography was just half my age when he died on December 5, 1791. Had Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived beyond 35, a point at which the world already recognized him to have “arrived” as a consummate composing and performing artist, what further marvels might he have accomplished? Anyone who has written about this 18th-century child prodigy-turned-musical superhero has asked the same question in various forms, usually accompanied by far too much lament and baseless speculation. Like his precursors from the early 19th century to the past decade, Swafford also could have milked the hypothetical “future Mozart” idea, but gives it an elegant pass every time it comes up. And thank goodness for that. There was simply so much packed into the short life Mozart actually led --- easily the equivalent of half-a-dozen hard-working musicians from any era. Instead of hypothesizing, or further mythologizing a life whose true facts are far more interesting than popular fiction, Swafford dug deep into every conceivable fragment and tidbit of the Mozart family’s life and times, along with those of their friends, relatives, employers, rulers and influencers. But what makes MOZART: THE REIGN OF LOVE yet another milestone in Swafford's series of substantial composer biographies (Charles Ives, 1996; Johannes Brahms, 1997; Ludwig van Beethoven, 2014), of which the shortest exceeds 500 pages, is his unique fusion of raw data with truthful storytelling and thoughtful extrapolation. Orchestrating words and themes as deftly as any of the composers he so vividly has revealed to date (who will be next, we wonder?), Swafford transforms a deluge of available information into imaginative yet fact-based contexts that reveal Mozart’s talent in a down-to-earth and memorably human way. While keeping to a broad chronological structure, Swafford creates a very real-time environment in which multiple events --- domestic, personal, artistic, political, historical --- continually collide and interweave. That's life happening. Mozart was no solitary genius, in fact quite the opposite. His life was simultaneously lived in the moment and at great depth. The book’s many detours into the affairs of his bossy father Leopold, submissive but practical mother Maria Anna, and talented but suppressed older sister Nannerl, as well as the comings and goings of numerous friends, colleagues, rivals and aristocratic employers, all reflect many facets of themselves and the prodigious talent at the center of this musical vortex. Interspersed among segments of the composer’s life, MOZART: THE REIGN OF LOVE includes numerous portrayals of individual works. To keep his biography less technical but still substantial enough to reach every level of music lover, Swafford completely dispensed with illustrative score fragments and chose the higher, far more difficult road (for the writer, not the reader) of intimately describing the mood, tonal color and structure of many celebrated pieces. In deft, empathic and knowledgeable prose, he treats a piano concerto here, an aria there, a string quartet or opera scene somewhere else, as lovingly as one might describe a dear friend: all as unique “personalities,” entirely formed within the reader’s receptive imagination. This is the great paradox of writing about music, which truly lives when being played and heard, yet whose individual notes last only as long as the vibrations of air will allow. Even Mozart’s voluminous scores were silent road maps, revealing his art only to those able to decipher and animate their particular language. One of the biggest surprises to 21st-century readers with a reverence for history and its artifacts is just how ephemeral music could be in Mozart’s day, when score-copying was done entirely by hand and print publication was often too costly to invest in. Original manuscripts circulated among friends and working colleagues; some were cared for and returned to their creators, others pirated and appropriated under false names, still others lost or discarded. Mozart wasn’t the only late-18th-century composer accustomed to dashing off chamber music, symphonies, cantatas and the like for single-use occasions, or at the most for a brief series of performances. At the time, last week’s scores were usually ignored like last week’s news. As Swafford reiterates a number of times, Mozart was always looking ahead to the next commissioned piece and typically had several scores on the go. In the end, although the disease or condition that killed him so young was never firmly established, Swafford sensibly suggests that it was a combination of prolonged overwork and incompetent doctors. Ironically, the next generation of composers and doctors heralded a different society, one in which the training and artifacts of both professions vastly increased in respect and value. While it’s impossible to do justice to the sheer size and skilled density of MOZART: THE REIGN OF LOVE in the space of a single review, one can’t leave out another area in which Swafford excels in the art of reassessing the composer’s remarkable life. That was the women in it. Instead of being ushered into the shadows of history, they are portrayed honestly and generously through their talents, intelligence, bravery, cunning, endurance and character. Whether in Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Berlin, Paris or any number of European musical centers, it was no easy road for women to survive and excel as independent solo instrumental performers, professional singers, business managers, conductors, patrons, impresarios, musicians’ wives or mothers. Most notably, Swafford fleshes out Mozart’s stoic, opinionated and sensible wife Constanze, who would live well into the 19th century and revive a youthful singing career after her illustrious husband’s death. Many readers will come to MOZART: THE REIGN OF LOVE with an enviable recognition of his many groundbreaking scores by name or catalogue number and perhaps imaginatively hear them while reading. But for the rest of us, who need to run to our recorded libraries after every chapter, the rewards of this unsurpassed Mozart biography will be just as delicious. Reviewed by Pauline Finch

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matt Bennett

    A wonderful biography of Mozart in all of his forms - a world-historic child prodigy, musician, and perhaps the greatest composer of all time (despite dying at 35!). This book offers a real glimpse into how he lived his life. If, like me, your view of Mozart the man was shaped by the movie Amadeus, forget all that and give this book a try. Just two things knocked it down a star for me: there is a LOT of musical analysis here, and I skipped it. It is double diamond, experts only terrain, and I'm b A wonderful biography of Mozart in all of his forms - a world-historic child prodigy, musician, and perhaps the greatest composer of all time (despite dying at 35!). This book offers a real glimpse into how he lived his life. If, like me, your view of Mozart the man was shaped by the movie Amadeus, forget all that and give this book a try. Just two things knocked it down a star for me: there is a LOT of musical analysis here, and I skipped it. It is double diamond, experts only terrain, and I'm barely on the bunny slope of musicology. And in listening to the Audible edition, I wondered yet again why they couldn't do more with the audio book by adding snippets of music. I know that would increase the cost of copyrights, but I would have gladly paid more to be actually able to hear the music rather than just hear about it. Still, this book is very worth your while and will leave you in awe of a genius nearly beyond comprehension.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Raymundo

    Un libro muy completo y detallado sobre la vida del genio. Las partes que más me gustaron del libro son la descripción de su niñez, con su padre y hermana dando tours por toda Europa, y la de descripción de las óperas DaPonte. Sobre todo porque en esas secciones el autor discute la parte social y las costumbres de la época, y relacionamos al genio con su tiempo, los problemas y retos que tenía enfrente. Por otro lado, el libro tiene como unas 200 páginas de más como mínimo, ya que hay demasiada Un libro muy completo y detallado sobre la vida del genio. Las partes que más me gustaron del libro son la descripción de su niñez, con su padre y hermana dando tours por toda Europa, y la de descripción de las óperas DaPonte. Sobre todo porque en esas secciones el autor discute la parte social y las costumbres de la época, y relacionamos al genio con su tiempo, los problemas y retos que tenía enfrente. Por otro lado, el libro tiene como unas 200 páginas de más como mínimo, ya que hay demasiada discusión y detalles sobre teoría musical. También el libro se hubiera beneficiado de discutir más a la persona y hombre, y menos al prodigio y genio. Sabemos poco sobre las emociones de Mozart después de terminar el libro, y dado su magnitud hubiera valido la pena especular un poco más aunque sea.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    First of all ..... this was WAY too long. The audiobook was over 32 HOURS and it sure dragged. If you are looking for a book about the person Mozart I recommend you find another book, because each chapter had only minute details about his life, personality, etc. mainly focusing on the fact that the adult W.A. Mozart never learnt how to handle money! If you are looking for a book with the most detailed descriptions of ALL his works (which are obviously many!) than this book is definitely for you. First of all ..... this was WAY too long. The audiobook was over 32 HOURS and it sure dragged. If you are looking for a book about the person Mozart I recommend you find another book, because each chapter had only minute details about his life, personality, etc. mainly focusing on the fact that the adult W.A. Mozart never learnt how to handle money! If you are looking for a book with the most detailed descriptions of ALL his works (which are obviously many!) than this book is definitely for you. I am not a Music major, just a person interested in the life and times of people like Mozart.... I managed to get through this book by sheer willpower. I think that the title of the book should be "The complete Descriptions of all of Mozart's works (with a short look at his life and the times he lived in)".

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gordon

    A lot of detail, though I felt Wolfgang's voice only snuck through on occasion... and on a lot of those occasions I literally laughed out loud. Also, the book's narrative arch of Mozart's final days is remarkably short. The book proceeds in the usual artless "this happened, then that happened, then this happened, then that happened" style of biography.... then all of a sudden Wolfgang vomits then dies. Tbh I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who is interested in insights into Wolfgang's mind... bu A lot of detail, though I felt Wolfgang's voice only snuck through on occasion... and on a lot of those occasions I literally laughed out loud. Also, the book's narrative arch of Mozart's final days is remarkably short. The book proceeds in the usual artless "this happened, then that happened, then this happened, then that happened" style of biography.... then all of a sudden Wolfgang vomits then dies. Tbh I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who is interested in insights into Wolfgang's mind... but if you want to know where he went, when he went there, and to read ceaseless overviews of the structures of his pieces... go for it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Mozart has always held for me a great interest. This work, told by a composer, without playing a note, brings to life the genius that was Mozart in all his manifestations. From reading this I have a new interest in understanding the voicing of various kinds of music by way of how a composer selects the keys that they will use in writing the piece. Mozart's use of scatology and sexual innuendo in his operatic work, and frequently in his daily life and dealings with friends, was covered fairly wit Mozart has always held for me a great interest. This work, told by a composer, without playing a note, brings to life the genius that was Mozart in all his manifestations. From reading this I have a new interest in understanding the voicing of various kinds of music by way of how a composer selects the keys that they will use in writing the piece. Mozart's use of scatology and sexual innuendo in his operatic work, and frequently in his daily life and dealings with friends, was covered fairly without itself becoming overly scatological. I may have to seek out other of Swafford's works.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Singer

    Thrilling account, belying the main themes of the famous movie in a most positive way. Especially pleasing: On each of the great operas, the author provides a separate chapter walking us through the piece, and its history, and its initial performance. There is a good deal of technical music descriptions which are not geared for the general reader but those are not a reason to avoid this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    The Week book reviews

  15. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Fascinating look at the musical genius of Mozart.

  16. 4 out of 5

    William T

    Excellent, but not easy. The author's passion and knowledge are evident throughout. I would have shortened the expositions of the story lines of the operas. Otherwise, first rate. Excellent, but not easy. The author's passion and knowledge are evident throughout. I would have shortened the expositions of the story lines of the operas. Otherwise, first rate.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paul Klinger

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lauri

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kay

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary Redd

  21. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mari

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrey Gubichev

  24. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lee G

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cedric35

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tom Blinten

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

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