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Mozart: An Introduction to the Music, the Man, and the Myths Paperback – September 1, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mozart specialist Roye E. Wates (Boston), professor of music at Boston University and past winner of the university's Teacher-Scholar of the Year award, has devoted decades to unraveling the forms, styles, and techniques of classical music for undergraduates and adult amateurs. Frequently called upon to give pre-concert talks in the Boston area, she has also lectured on various aspects of Mozart's music at scholarly conferences in the United States, England, Ireland, Austria, and Germany.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Amadeus Press (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574671898
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574671896
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is a serious and accessible introduction to the life and work of W.A. Mozart, and I suspect that those with a prior understanding of the composer's music will also find much to learn from it. The purpose of this book is to provide the reader with an accurate portrait of Mozart, from his childhood up to his death. In the process, Wates dispels many of the popular myths about Mozart that still pervade popular culture and academic circles - the prodigy, the pauper's grave (nearly all composers died penniless in Mozart's day!), the arrogant man-child, and others. The result is that the reader sees the composer as a real man, who faces personal and professional setbacks throughout the course of his career, not unlike ourselves (if a bit more talented). Wates also includes analyses of several of Mozart's works, including an excellent section on "The Magic Flute" that explains how the opera originated in part out of Mozart's involvement in Freemasonry. There is also a section devoted to the film "Amadeus" which discusses the film's historical inaccuracies. Overall, a highly readable, enlightening overview of all-things Mozart.
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Mozart. An Introduction to the Music, the Man, and the Myths by Roye E. Wates is a hands-on, practical and yet erudite guide to the life, music, and times of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The book not only narrates the composer's birth in Salzburg, his travels, his last years in Vienna, but also includes portraits of his immediate family members. The brief accounts of his sister Nannerl and his wife Constanze are outstanding. The book also introduces the reader to the philosophy, literature, musical taste of the period in which Mozart lived, the Age of Enlightenment, and it touches on the problems of early biographical writings on Mozart. But the author is at her best when she introduces the reader not only to the major forms of music used by Mozart, but a good number of his own piano sonatas, concertos, symphonies, masses, and operas. These analyses are done with excellent musicological insight, they are meant for the non-specialist, but many of them are done so comprehensively that knowledgeable music lovers can read them with profit and delight. What we find in this book is not just a biography, but an introduction to Mozart's way of thinking and working, plus an access to the music of his time. Professor Wates has given us here the fruit of many years of teaching and reflection on important issues relating to one of the greatest composers of all times.
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Format: Paperback
This is the best introduction to Mozart, his life and music. In very short yet rich chapters, Roye Wates manages to tell the story of Mozart, the myths which are still surrounding him, and his wonderful music. There are many examples discussed in detail and even the non-specialist will enjoy this wonderful book which is a gem among the others written so far about the Austrian genius. In addition, there is a bibliography list and many other references the reader can turn to if he wants to know more about a specific topic.
More than highly recommended.
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As a college music major rediscovering my interest in Mozart, I came to this book with high hopes. The product description sounded perfect: I have been wanting to reacquaint myself with classical forms, and update myself on Mozart biographical scholarship. I had to put the book down 23 pages in, however. The book does not start well: the author relentlessly uses the second person "you" and first person "we"--often confusingly, and often patronizingly; as though speaking to a classroom of middle schoolers, the author writes, "Today's parents expect to receive Social Security in their old age and, if they're lucky, to supplement that with other retirement income, plus medical and long-term care insurance. But in the 1700s YOU were your parents' Social Security and Medicare." And further: "When you think about it, raising the young Mozarts must have been thrilling . . . . What would have been the best approach with such massively talented kids?" Even the book's thesis is not immune: "Although most of the nonspecialist audience has scant knowledge of the Mozart we now know, you're about to meet him for yourself." While this style is forgivably annoying, however, the author's sexist attitudinizing is downright unpleasant. On the comparatively lesser amount of information known about Mozart's mother than father, the author writes, "the women in Great Composers' lives haven't been seen as worthy of study." Really? Or is is it that hundreds of letters--crucial primary sources--were exchanged between son and father--a father who happened to be employed as a music director by a Prince-Archbishop and renowned throughout Europe as a violin instructor?Read more ›
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