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1791, Mozart's Last Year Hardcover – May 1, 1988


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Schirmer Trade Books (May 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028725921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028725925
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When Haydn left on a concert tour to London in December 1790, Mozart said farewell forever, and most people assumed it was Haydn's health that he was worried about. As we know now, the elder composer was to live for almost two decades more; Mozart, a single year. It was to be a year in which he wrote The Magic Flute, La Clemenza di Tito, and the Clarinet Concerto, as well as most of the Requiem; it was also a year of mounting disappointment in his career as part of the Viennese musical establishment, and a year of growing debt. Robbins Landon is keen to debunk the myths: Mozart was not poisoned ,but died of progressive kidney failure, and Salieri was innocent of his death, though not of promoting his own career at Mozart's expense. Landon defends Mozart's wife, Constanze, against the libels of biographers, though at times his portrait of comfortable bourgeois monogamy sounds like special pleading and overlaps with hints of conscientious bohemian racketiness. This is a wonderful portrait of a great artist and the city where he lived; in passing, Landon tells us everything we need to know about musical life, Masonry, and the truth about that pauper's grave. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 10 customer reviews
I re-read this book from time to time.
R. G. W. Brown
The book has extensive reference notes, a detailed bibliography and an index that list people who were part of Mozart's life during this period.
R. Nicholson
The book is very well written, and appears to be the product of considerable knowledge and research.
"cambridge39"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By R. Nicholson on February 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a well-researched book by Robbins Landon not only giving a detailed glimpse of Mozart in 1791 but also the ongoing intrigues associated with life in late 18th century Vienna. Discussed in detail are the three main compositions that he completed during this final year: those being, The Magic Flute, La Clemenza di Tito and his Requiem. There is an interesting section on Mozart's death and the myths and suspicions associated with his final illness. The last chapter is devoted to Constanze and her struggles to survive after Mozart's death.

The book has extensive reference notes, a detailed bibliography and an index that list people who were part of Mozart's life during this period. Also included are some interesting sketches of Mozart's apartment and an area map of Vienna where he and Constanze live in during his last year.
What I personally found of interest, resulted from the extra measures that Robbins Landon goes to give added details on some topics (in particular the 3 works mentioned above). Insights as to the sequencing of construction, participation of other people and outside distractions that influenced Mozart's ability to work on and complete these projects. For example: the fact that 5 different types of sheet paper were used by Mozart during the writing of "La Clemenza di Tito" gives clues not only as to the actual chronological order that some of the scenes were composed, but also an idea as to the geographic locales where different parts this opera was conceived. i.e. Prague or Vienna
It seems hard to believe that retrieving accurate material on Mozart's life and music would be difficult, given his fame. You'd just assume that every note (musical or otherwise) that he wrote would have been recorded for the sake of posterity: sadly, such is not the case.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
The author's affection and esteem for Mozart is apparent throughout, and his enthusiasm for his subject is infectious. This is obviously a work of careful scholarship, but the writing style is so fluid and the topic so engaging that this book can be appreciated by both serious musicians and Mozart-loving non-musicians alike. It addresses many of the subjects that the movie 'Amadeus' touched on--Salieri's jealousy, the writing of the Requiem, Mozart's final illness, etc. but, unlike the movie, it is content to let the unembellished facts tell the compelling story of the last year of the composer's life. A fascinating, well-written book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "cambridge39" on December 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
1791, Mozart's Last Year is a fairly short (199 pages plus appendices, notes, and index) book about the last year of the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the famous composer. Among the things discussed are the possibility of Mozart's receiving a good paying position in the Vienna cathedral, his involvement with the Masons, and the circumstances surrounding the composition of La Clemenza di Tito, Die Zauberfloete (The Magic Flute), and the Requiem. Chapters also provide more general background about life in Vienna at the time. One chapter is devoted to the facts about Mozart's last illness, and other explores various myths and theories about it. A final chapter refutes some criticisms of Mozart's wife Constanze. The book is very well written, and appears to be the product of considerable knowledge and research. Included are some photographs and illustrations.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading "Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life" by Robert Spaethling, this book was a nice transition. Both books are worth buying and reading. Mr. Robbins presented "Mozart's Last Year" logically and held my interest to the end.
The references to Haydn and his relationship with Mozart gave me some really new insight into how the two interacted and regarded the other. The research that was involved in this book lends credit to the contents, which were presented in a common sense way. Mr. Robbins has written a book that, I feel, is a "must read" for anyone interested to learn about Mozart's life and circumstance. A lot of rumors were put to rest. I learned a lot I did not know. I learned a lot about people who touched Mozart's life. I like the fact that he gave Constanze the respect she deserves as one who saved Mozart's works for us to enjoy! Great Job!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Smith on November 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a good book to read late at night, in the woods, alone. If you enjoy Mozart then...you might like this! This is my favorite book on Mozart I'd have to say. The last year of his life is an interesting subject and has become quite a little legend. This here book does a good job of taking apart that year and separating what probably isn't true from what probably is true. I'm trying to not use the saying, "separates fact from fiction," because I hate that saying. Really though, it does a good job of it. Well done research and all that. The mysterious flavor of the story of his last year is still kept in place. If you've never read a book on Mozart, don't fear. Everything leading up to his last year is included, making this a good book for the Mozart student and professor. I sure say a lot of smart things! So anyways, all that aside, this is a good read and even if you aren't exactly like me you will probably like it. There.
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