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Mozart's Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music Hardcover – January 3, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite this book's title, Mozart was no ladies' man. The loves in his life add up to his mother, Maria Anna; his talented sister, Nannerl; a cousin known as "the Bäsle"; the four Weber sisters, all singers, and one of them, Constanze, his wife; and, naturally, the women in his operas and the divas who sang the roles (these included the Webers). In this latest of many Mozart biographies, Glover, a leading conductor of 18th-century music, views Mozart's life through the women who surrounded him, though no biographer could avoid Mozart's micromanaging father, Leopold. Mozart's first crush may have been on his cousin, and the second was certainly on Aloysia Weber, who firmly rejected him (and later regretted it). But Mozart's marriage to Aloysia's younger sister seems to have been entirely happy. The book's best and most original part of this work offers a close analysis of the operas, especially of the female roles and the women who inspired them; the discussion of Così fan tutte is especially good. Though Glover is not an inspiring writer, the analyses of operas will interest some people, and the work will find an audience among loyalists. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Glover, a respected British conductor, views Mozart through the women in his life: his mother; his sister and sometime duet partner, Nannerl; his wife, Constanze Weber; and the female singers for whom he wrote roles that are "some of the most vividly drawn and brilliantly understood women on the operatic stage." Mozart seems to have had more in common with the happily domestic Figaro than with the brilliant seducer Don Giovanni, and knew how to appreciate a talented, vivacious, and resourceful woman, as Glover illustrates with many touching excerpts from his correspondence. However, after Mozart's death, in 1791, her book begins to drag as she follows the lives of his survivors; Constanze remarried, completing her second husband's biography of her first, and lived until 1842. The book's title notwithstanding, much of the first half is dominated by Leopold Mozart, Wolfgang's authoritarian and manipulative father, who emerges as probably the most significant person in Mozart's life.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1St Edition edition (January 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060563508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060563509
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #903,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Cowell VINE VOICE on February 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a valuable and engrossing new look at Mozart where the women in his life are mercifully not presented as pale additions or indeed obstacles to his creativity. In "Mozart's Women," his family, his loves, his wife, and the singers and musicians with whom he worked come vividly to life as he saw them and they saw him; they influenced him, cheered him on when no one would hire him, sat up all night with him when he finished an overture in a rush, lent him fortepianos, sewed buttons on his coats, sang his music and fell apart when he died. What must it have been like for one of the greatest singers of the 18th century to find across the room at the piano as her composer a small boy of fourteen? How tender are his older sister's memories of him as a child!

Particularly fascinating for me is Jane Glover's depiction of the four Weber sisters, one of whom he married, one who broke his heart, one for whom he wrote The Queen of the Night, and the last one his dear friend to whom he always sent a thousand kisses and in whose arms he died. I know these women well as I am the author of the Viking Penguin novel "Marrying Mozart" (2005) which concerns the relationship of all four Weber sisters (Aloysia, Josefa, Constanze, and Sophie) with Mozart when he was in his early twenties and tells of his complicated path to marrying the right one!

I devoured Ms. Glover's book. It was all I could have hoped.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on November 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
While you're in Amazon, try searching "Mozart" in the "Books" category [don't even attempt it in "Classical Music"!]. Over three thousand offerings will be displayed. Refining that search to "Constanze Mozart" returns barely two dozen. While that might be expected, the fact that "Mozart's Women" appears in none of the lists seems a distortion.

Glover has successfully offered something innovative in Mozartiana - his life and that of the women in it. With so many seeing Mozart's wife Constanze through the film "Amadeus", Glover's view may be something of a shock. Her depiction of Constanze and the other Weber daughters, along with Mozart's sister Nannerl, is more than a rehabilitation. It is almost an upheaval of the traditional view of the lives of 18th Century composers and performers. Moreover, the tale is done with such verve and enthusiasm that you are caught from the first lines and held captive until the story's complete.

Does anyone who's read this far need an introduction to music's most eminent figure? The boyish, extroverted, discouraged and often distraught man who produced so much, yet died before his peak productive years? Glover manages to re-acquaint us to the child who found strength and inspiration through the presence of his sister. Their times apart were difficult for both, leading them to exchange a constant stream of letters in their younger years. They played together, with more than just music, since Wolfgang would bring home games when Leopold dragged him to some distant city. Only his relocation to Vienna broke the link, further sundered by his marriage to Constanze. Glover traces Nannerl's life in parallel to Wolfgang's.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Hans Castorp VINE VOICE on January 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This beautifully done book about Mozart and his woman friends, associates, and relatives is probably a feminists dream, in showing the huge influence various women had on Mozart, the Man and his Music! Starting with his sister and mother, moving along with his wife, and some musicians and singers, Mozart seems to have been very, very comfortable in their company, and a true gentlemen (despite a slightly diffent view in "Amadeus"). The last days of his life are also decribed, and this is completely different from "Amadeus" as well.His death and funeral are beautifully rendered, and it is noted that the "pauper's funeral/grave" is an exaggeration ,in that the current Viennese politicos wanted to keep funeral and burials very low key for health and social/financial reasons. All in all, a very fine view of an often overlooked aspect of the Great Composer!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Burton on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jane Glover has written a remarkable book, which in its way demystifies much about Mozart's music. So many of his pieces, particularly his vocal works, were written for men and women in his closest circle: his family, friends and, often, their spouses. Arias written for the Weber sisters, including his wife Costanze were, in Glover's words, "tailor-made" for these gifted ladies. Other dear friends include Nancy Storace, the first Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, whose brother Stephen was a fellow composer and close friend, Caterina Cavallieri, Salieri's mistress (the first Kostanze and the first Donna Elvira), and the list goes on. Also illuminated in incredible detail, is Mozart's sister Nannerl, who was the "other" talented prodigy, in some ways perhaps, even a more subtle pianist than her genius brother. By the end of the book, you feel you know the people behind much of the gorgeous music that was penned for them. None of this detracts from the fact of Mozart's genius, but it makes him all the more human. It also makes his loss all the more real, and tragic, though untimely death in the late 18th-Century was, unfortunately, a fact of life.

This book is a must-have for any classical musician, and certainly any music lover. It is NOT an academic tome, but a fascinating tour through a short but incredibly well-lived life.
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