Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Mozart: A Life Hardcover – November 14, 2013
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
*Starred Review* For once taking an uncontroversial stance, politicallycontentious popular historian Johnson lauds everyone’s favorite composer so as to pique the interest of every reader of this profile. He seems to have two primary objectives: to explain why Mozart’s music is so good and to uproot the sentimental legends that have grown like so much honeysuckle (a weed, after all) around Mozart’s life. While proceeding overall in good biographical chronology, Johnson prosecutes his first objective by, for instance, discussing how Mozart’s writing for particular instruments—from piano to viola to the then-new clarinet to trombone to tympani—reflects mastery of the qualities and capabilities of each (the chapter occupied with this argument is reason enough to rejoice about the book). Johnson starts debunking myths on the first page, where he insists that Mozart wasn’t a sickly child. Thereafter, he continues to lay bare misconceptions: that his father coldly exploited him; that he ever lived in poverty; that he was lascivious and unfaithful to his wife, as well as that she was improvident and shrewish; that he had a pauper’s burial; that he ever was a neglected musical presence in his time; that he was ruinously in debt. They all crumble under Johnson’s commonsense presentation of evidence. An altogether excellent primer on possibly the most complete musician who ever lived. --Ray Olson
Praise for Mozart by Paul Johnson:
“Historian Johnson lauds everyone’s favorite composer so as to pique the interest of every reader. . . . Johnson starts debunking myths on the first page . . . [and] they all crumble under his commonsense presentation of evidence. An altogether excellent primer on possibly the most complete musician who ever lived.”
—Booklist (starred review)
"Most satisfying . . . A highly accessible initial foray into an astonishing, and inexhaustible, subject."
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Impassioned . . . Johnson captures the depth of Mozart’s achievement with a scholarly fan’s . . . enthusiasm. . . . A compact and knowledgeable portrait of genius.”
“Johnson packs a great deal of information into these pages . . . and his grasp of Mozart's musical output is astounding, his description of Mozart's works comprehensive and enlightening. . . . This is a solid, and often fresh, introduction to the life and work of the composer.”
“The perfect stocking stuffer . . . A portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart that will give pleasure to and increase the understanding of old Mozart hands as well as those reading for the first time about the man . . . Like his latest subject, Johnson never strikes a false note.”
—The American Spectator
“Excellent . . . A delightful, concise read. It's fun—like listening to Mozart is. . . . To learn about the life of such a remarkable musician is a treat and a privilege. Paul Johnson has made Mozart’s story accessible and rewarding.”
—Washington Independent Review of Books
“This short, pithy, intelligent book will appeal to music lovers and general readers.”
—Hudson Valley News
Top customer reviews
i was looking for a more historical book on Mozart,but i found it a tough read since i did not know music
i did find my self going to you tube and listen to some of the music, which i enjoyed
and i guess it would be hard to write a book on mozart if you can't explain his music, and i did grasp most of author's concepts, but i could just not get into the book
Although this isn't a great book, and yes it could be longer and more detailed, and there may be some accuracy issues, (I'm not an expert enough in Mozart to know or care, though) this is a good little book on the composer and there are a number of interesting excerpts. For example, I was not aware that Mozart could play most of the instruments in a symphony and often did. There is one excerpt where he played percussion for one Opera.
If you like Mozart, and who doesn't, I recommend this book.
Paul Johnson certainly brings Mozart, his family, and times to life. While not an in depth analysis of his works, it is a great introduction and entices the reader to read and learn more.