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The Mozart Myths: A Critical Reassessment Hardcover – October 1, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0804719377 ISBN-10: 0804719373 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (October 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804719373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804719377
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,683,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Stafford (philosophy, history of ideas, Huddersfield Polytechnic, England) has written a fascinating, well-documented review of the many popular stories about Mozart, concentrating especially on the circumstances surrounding his death. He analyzes the sources of the stories' information and assesses the credibility of the various witnesses, carefully sorting out truth from misunderstanding, gossip, rumor, and lies. Mozart emerges as a far more complex person than biographers often portray him. While not casual reading, this involved and detailed study of documents, motives, and the convoluted reasoning behind the Mozart myths is required reading for the devoted Mozart fan. For large public and academic music collections.
- Timothy J. McGee, Univ. of Toronto
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

'A work of minute and impeccable scholarship. It is also tremendous fun to read. That is a very rare combination ... What is particularly enjoyable aboutthe book is the obvious enthusiasm with which William Stafford recounts these narratives. They are, by turn, fantastic to the point of risibility, compelling, revealing, and alas, even repulsive, where the German 'conspiracy' theories become, inevitably, anti-Semitic. But before the intellectual historian - for that is Stafford's calling - turns his hand to dismantling them, he gives each a real run for the money. It is, at times, like a trip through fairyland; and yet these narratives were not, after all, the product merely of books and ecstatics but of the likes of Jahn and Einstein. Nor does the fun stop with the reading of the narratives. For their deconstruction, although executed with scrupulous attention to the historical documents, never becomes dry or pedantic ... Gentle reader, whatever you do, read this book if you have interest in the divine - or is it the bestial, dissipated, autistic, or obnoxious - Mozart. For you will learn a lot about him, whatever he is, and a lot, too about the practice and pitfalls of historical narrative. Above all, you will have a helluva good read.' Music and Letters

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Shayana Kadidal on February 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is really a piece of work. The author clearly relishes retelling the many ludicrous myths surrounding W.A. Mozart, and the retelling, more so than the delightful debunking of the stories, is the really wonderful part of this book. That said, the debunking is pretty cool too, and will give you a pretty good overview of the biographical literature on Mozart to boot. My favorite tale is the one spun by the wife of General VonLudendorff (yes, one of the Heroes of Tannenburg), a Naziess, about how the freemasons (not Salieri!) poisoned Mozart because, as a nascent german nationalist, he had decided to turn his back on their international brotherhood.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Kester on January 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
From first page to last, Mr Stafford delivers as promised, a thorough review of primary as well as secondary sources. I couldn't help but be amazed at the omnipresence of the idiotic gossip that has masqueraded for centuries as "revelations" of Mozart's life and work, now unmasked by Mr Stafford. Essential in any library of Mozart biography!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Cook on February 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a professor of music and teach a class on Mozart. This book is an absolutely marvelous compilation of information relating to aspects of Mozart's controversial life and the mysteries surrounding his death. This book is invaluable and students enjoy it tremendously.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I acquired this book over a year ago and I'm still reading a lot of detail that seems to be more accurate. It allows one to have an open mind, especially when comparing Mozart's life to some of the more popular movies such as Amadeus.
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