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Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life: Selected Letters Hardcover – August, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Spaethling writes in the introduction that his goal was to "provide a complete portrait and continuous account of Mozart the musician, Mozart the individual and Mozart the writer," and he has succeeded most admirably. -- The New York Times Book Review, Peggy Constantine

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (August 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393047199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393047196
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Almost since the moment of his death in December 1791, people have been writing about W.A. Mozart, some of it accurate, but a great deal misguided, and false. Although I have enjoyed reading various Mozart biographies (Maynard Solomon's is my favorite), I found it quite refreshing to finally to sit down and read a collection of Mozart's own words. While the composer was somewhat a prankster in his younger days ( the "Eternal Child" stereotype unfortunately perpetuated by the film "Amadeus"), his letters undeniably demonstrate that Mozart was also a very thoughtful and passionate human being who enjoyed the highs and endured the lows of life, just like the rest of us. In this book, readers will get to know a man who wanted to be loved and lead a full life, only to die at the young age of 35!
Mozart's correspondence proves that for most of his life he sought a coveted position as a kappellmeister or court composer somewhere in Europe, which would mean a steady demand for compositions, as well as a handsome annual salary. In February 1778, he wrote to his father:
"I am a composer, and I was born a Kapellmeister. I must not and cannot bury my Gift for Composing, that a benevolent God has bestowed upon me in such rich a measure."
Despite his relentless determination, irrepresible spirit, and legendary talent as a performer and composer, Mozart never received the court post he so desperately desired, and this lack of a steady income pushed him deeper into debt during his last few years. Considering his financial problems and the other demands in his life, the quantity and quality of the work he produced during his final year is mind-boggling.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who has ever heard any of Mozart's work knows that he is a fantastic composer - arguably the best ever. But every recording of every one of Mozart's pieces could not begin to provide the glimpse into Mozart's life that this book does. Contained herein are hundreds of Mozart's letters to those close to him, starting from when he was a boy traveling around Europe to a mere three months before his death in 1791. And whilst the fact that all of these letters are translations does make for some awkward reading at times, it also adds to the authenticity and thusly makes it all the more interesting.
I cannot recommend Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life highly enough to anyone interested in Wolfgang Mozart. It is an unparalleled first-hand account of Mozart's life by the man himself, and is a must have for any classical music enthusiast's collection.
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Format: Hardcover
What a fine accomplishment! According to the introduction, this book contains about 2/3 of Mozart's surviving correspondence. It has letters from and to Mozart and the translations are very lively and bring the personality of the composer to life. In older translations it seems that care was taken to make him sound like the monumental cultural force that he has become. But in this book, Mozart is a boy, a young man, a young husband, a fiery genius, and at times lost, grieving, and even confused.
The book is organized chronologically and provides biographical information that gives each letter some context. There are many useful footnotes as well as a couple of maps and list of Mozart's travels. The author has even included some notes about the various currencies in order to help the reader understand the discussions of money in the letters.
I can't emphasize enough what a lively read this book is. I found that I simply didn't get bogged down and enjoyed reading it. Yes, there are some portions of some letters I skipped, but that is one of the beauties of the book. You don't get lost simply because you skipped some mundane portions of one letter or another.
Mr. Spaethling is to be congratulated on this fine achievement. If you are interested in Mozart in any way, this book will deepen your appreciation of the living breathing person who wrote all that music. It didn't come from some alien dimension. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, this wonderful and complex human being did it all and we are much richer for it.
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Format: Paperback
These letters are pleasing to read, a dignified but casual translation. Spaethling's commentary is never intrusive, always enlightening. It's fascinating to trace Mozart's maturity, his move away from his father, his flirtatiousness, sometimes erotic writing, with his wife. The preening and posturing show the genuis's very human side.
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Format: Paperback
It will fascinate those who know nothing about Herr Mozart & intrigue those who know something already.
Robert Spaethling's translation of Mozart's letters, gets you to Meet Mozart with out adding nor taking away anything ! simply Amazing, A Must !!!!
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Format: Hardcover
Mozart's full and final dedication to his work was exemplary; no doubt, his music spoke for the conscience of the world and his audience felt an almost religious faith in it. But the young man had frivolous and fun-loving personality, and his closeness to infantile notions was apparent with friends, relatives and pupils.

Mozart was possessor of the least inhibited tongue even in his contacts with serious foundations like Archbishopric or Freemasonry that mismatched the depth of notes he wrote.

This composer genius was filled with spontaneous strong-willed passion for music if weak-witted for romance and throughout the wide spectrum of his works involving every conceivable style of symphonies, operas, and orchestral pieces - some of the finest ever written - Mozart produced something truer than love.
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