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Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life [Paperback]

Professor Robert Spaethling
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 April 2004
What was Mozart really like? Wild? Sublime? Responsible? Fun-loving? Bright? Foul-mouthed? Reading these sparkling new translations of Mozart's letters, we learn in his own words that he was all of these and much more. Here is the composer at his most intimate and unguarded, expressing his feelings about life, love, music and the world around him.

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Frequently Bought Together

Mozart's Letters, Mozart's Life + Mozart: an extraordinary life (An Extraordinary Life (ABRSM)) + Mozart's Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music
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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (15 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571222927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571222926
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'No one interested in Mozart and in inspired letter-writing should miss this volume.' -- Alfred Brendel

'Should be on the shelves of every music-lover.' -- BBC Music Magazine

'The great glory of this volume is Spaethling's willingness to embrace Mozart's writing in all its zany, often angry effervescence.' -- Observer

'The miracle is that these letters were preserved . . . a splendid volume.' -- Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Robert Spaethling is Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Massachusetts, and is the author of several books on Mozart, including Music and Mozart in the Life of Goethe. He was raised in the Bavarian town of Weissenstadt, whose local dialect resembles that of Mozart's Salzburg.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must buy 5 May 2004
I cannot recommend this book enough,for anyone who is interested in knowing the "human" source of all those wonderful Piano Concertos,Sonatas, and Masses. I have'nt even finished the book yet. But already i felt i had to write this reccomendation review so that others can get their hands on this. This edition of the book (it was previously in hardback and is now a hefty price) is a new paperback edition at a budget price. Well worth it for the 400 hundred odd pages you get. Even more worth it, when you consider what jewels are inside. Personal letters from the 1700's,from our favourite Mozart. The age of these personal letters is quite a staggering thing to ponder when you're reading them. Little has changed since then it seems. The same trials, sufferings,joys,worries,and downright mundane aspects of everyday life at times. Yes,this book really does brings Mozart to life and brings him closer to you than you could ever of imagined. You will feel you finally know him (to your amusement or horror), after reading the first 15 or so letters. As there is no preview of the contents here,i'll include just a little excerpt from one letter to give you an example of how fun this book is to read. I've enjoyed every page so far. What a treat.
"....We left Today Count Firmian's place to go home, and when we came to our street, we opened the door to our house, and what do you think happened? we went inside. Farewell my little lung. I kiss you, my liver, and remain at all times, my stomach,your unworthy brother Wolfgang , frater, please,please,dear Sister, something is biting me, come and scratch me".
What on earth was all that about? That was an excerpt of a letter from Mozart on tour with his father in Milan around the age of 19/20, to his Sister in Salzburg.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Priceless 28 Feb 2006
By R. P. Sedgwick VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A wonderful collection of private letters by Mozart to his closest family and friends. Superbly translated in this book, they paint the picture of a genius and what he was really like far more than other biographies of Mozart I have read.
Mozart spent much of his life either travelling or living estranged from his family, and remarkably a large proportion of his letters have survived intact. Consequently much of Mozart's fascinating and tragic adult life is documented at first hand in this wonderful collection of letters.
My only complaint is the fact that we are not given access to the letters to Mozart, chiefly from his father, only those from him to others. Sadly we are given only brief snippets of these letters by this book's author in between the translations of Wolfgang's notes. Although it would have lengthened the book, at least a few letters from his correspondents would have made the book perfect for me.
The sudden end to the letters when Mozart died underlined just how much the world lost when this brilliant musician was suddenly taken from his in his prime.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unfettered access to an individual mind 30 Oct 2004
Mozart was human - this is what you learn from this book. Although it's difficult to believe sometimes when you hear his music, he really was one of us. It's just great to get a glimpse of some of the person behind the works. Reading the letters of famous people gives you an insight that you can't get anywhere else, I've found. Knowing that you're reading their own words is something special; you can't get more personal than that.
I became absolutely absorbed in this after only reading a few pages. I enjoyed seeing the pleasure Mozart got out of simple language games. The boy and the man who created such beautiful things had the same foibles as we all do.
This book will show you sides to Mozart you probably never imagined existed. I am certainly no classical buff, but I know that this book has set me on the path to becoming a devout admirer of Mozart; and my life will be all the richer for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Sally
I haven't quite finished reading this book. I have,however, read enough to give an opinion. Just letters from one person could be a bit boring but I find it not only interesting but a wonderful way of gauging some idea of Mozart's character and life. One of the most interesting aspects his reaction to his father's letters. There are some editorial comments which help to fill out the story but Mozart's letters say so much. I can feel Mozart's frustration that his father does not understand how he feels about living in Salzburg and under the Archbishop. I am looking forward to reading his letters to his wife which I had a little taste of in a biography which I read recently. I can't help laughing at his obscenities especially in the letters to his cousin whether he was suffering from Tourette's Syndrome or not: it is in such contrast to what I imagine was his behaviour when he was performing.
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