Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the most astonishing child prodigy in the history of music, is felt by many people to be the greatest composer who ever lived. Dominated and shaped by a highly intelligent but frustrated and ambitious father, his story sees the development of a unique genius, from precocious and often endearing childhood to liberated fulfillment, unexpected poverty, and a tragically early death. Generously illustrated by Mozart's music, from his fifth to his final year, this portrait-in-sound reveals a fascinating yet elusive character, drawing richly on the words of the composer himself and those who knew him. This is the ideal way to understand more about Mozart the man, and his music. Throughout his life, he wrote numerous letters - to his father and his friends and pupils - and his musical colleagues wrote about him. On this entertaining recording, with parts read by various actors, Mozart himself comes to life - with his sublime music ever-present as his career unfolds.
©2002 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2002 Naxos AudioBooks
This is audio books at their best! It is a lively engaging biography beginning with played samples of the boy genius' work while he travelled Europe with his father and equally gifted sister. Then develops through his challenging young adulthood, composing and travelling in Italy and Germany and producing a wide variety of music, samples of which are well knitted into the story. And his short life ends in Vienna, still composing, as we hear, wonderful music. Audio truly at its best.
If you come to this recording knowing nothing about Mozart or, worse than that, you have been exposed to Mozart as the giggly idiot portrayed in the play and film "Amadeus", this worthy recording will give you the basic facts about Mozart, his true personality, his life, struggles and triumphs, in a straightforward chronological biography, with some lengthy musical examples. It will debunk the "giggly idiot" image whilst showing that Mozart did have an idiosyncratic and somewhat scatalogical sense of humour but this was allied to a profound perception of all facets of human life and psychology, based on acute powers of observation and empathy.Perceptions that his great genius enshrined in his sublime music and in the superb operas.
The recording is particularly good at exploring Mozart's very difficult relationship with Leopold, his intensely controlling father, teacher, mentor,whose influence he had to break away from to achieve his destiny. There are some engaging stories about Mozart in Paris, Mannheim,Ausberg and Vienna, mentioning many of the friends and performers he encountered plus a good account of his marriage to Constanze Weber. His key musical works are mentioned,some illustrated.
However, my principal criticism of this recording is that it needed either to be an hour longer, or the pace of the narrative needed to have been quicker. The recording is nearly two-thirds over before we get Mozart permanently domiciled in Vienna. So the last nine years of his life, which most would regard as the pinnacle of his career, are dealt with in a more cursory manner than they deserve.The "Jupiter" symphony, his great Italian operas, his final opera "The Magic Flute", his "Requiem",get short shrift and the opera "La Clemenza di Tito" isn't even mentioned. There are no musical illustrations from "Don Giovanni" but we are given the whole finale of the Flute and Harp Concerto and a movement from the "Coronation Mass", neither of which are major works.
"Mozart, oh Mozart"
I love these series. I love hearing about the works and life, while hearing the works. However, I don't think enough of the famous ones were worked in here. Why not?
Tried to give it 5 stars in every category. Enjoyed it tremendously. Recommend it highly.
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