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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon 26 November 2005
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. That existence fits more appropriately the image we have of the time - marriage to an unpleasant man and enforced exile away from music centres.
Mozart's eye for the ladies rarely let up until his marriage. Constanze's sisters attracted his gaze in his younger years and his ear in the later ones. Glover's division of this book into three "family" segments seems simplistic at first glance. Her logic is demonstrated as she follows the sibling, then marital relationships. It is the third segment, "Mozart's Women", that allows the author to achieve her fullest expression, however. It's no longer games nor domestic bliss, but Mozart's compositions and how he worked with singers and musicians. In his operas, he targetted particular performers - disappointed when certain vocalists were unavailable, appalled when substitutions were forced by circumstances.
As Glover recounts the development of librettos and cast assemblages, she draws you into each story with commanding passion for her topic. It is her depictions of the performances that jar the modern reader. She is able to evoke the quality of the singers' efforts as if she had personally witnessed them. You "hear" Calavieri's poignant ability, Alyosia Weber's soaring escalations to the highest pitches, and listen to the ways Mozart found to utilise the voices of young children. His tenors were no less carefully selected, with Wolfgang rewriting scores to accommodate the loss of power in an older performer. The entire segment reads as if Glover was sitting in the second row of the music halls furiously scribbling notes as the music washes over her. Her recounting of what she "heard" should melt the resistance of the most hardened opera avoider. It did me. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2006
Generally I am impressed with this book, Dr Glover has a well crafted writing style and the narrative flows evenly throughout the whole book. The brief history of Mozart as seen in the context of the women in his life is a fascinating perspective to adopt and Dr Glover brings it off rather well. Mozart's adult life was closely enmeshed with the Weber family and their four talented daughters (he married one of them) - this theme runs throughout the whole text and is well developed. As expected a considerable amount of the book is given over to the operas owing to a high level of distinctive female presence on stage. Again very well presented - observing the difficulties and the triumphs of each opera as experienced by members of the female cast. Just a couple of reservations, the structure of the book - the chapters are very long and I feel a few subtitles would not have been out of place. In the brief history of Mozart's life in Chapter 1 it would have been useful to have reference to concurrent compositions accompanying events - positioning Mozart's music in a sort of chronology. Anyone who is a Mozart enthusiast will find this book an enjoyable and entertaining read.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2006
What a wonderful experience reading this book! I had expected a high quality biography from Dr Glover, but this was outstanding. She focused on the music and genius of Mozart without lowering the tone by resorting to 'gossip' and 'conspiracy theories' about his death. It was so interesting to read about how certain women were 'muses' to his musical creativity.

I have bought copies of this book for other musicians and cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone that loves opera.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2007
Dr Glover's `Mozart's Women' is a beautifully crafted book; her writing is scholarly yet approachable - a rare combination.

She takes you by the hand & leads you through the life of one of music's greatest classical composers, W. A. Mozart. You are immersed in his life with such ease that you begin to feel that perhaps Glover is also one of Mozart's women who has been `time-warped' into your lounge & is recounting tales of her late friend's life & times.

The book is written with clarity & passion, but devoid of sentimentality & sensationalism. Wolfgang emerges, in all but his prodigious musical talents, as a quite normal yet fun-loving kind of chap; this is far-removed from the hysterical, cackling buffoon of the film `Amadeus'. Constanza shines through as Wolfgang's warm-hearted, loving, ever-supportive wife & champion. Clearly, she was not an air-headed dim-wit of a party girl as she is so often portrayed. Other Mozart & von Weber family members & friends are described, as are their interactions & effects on Wolfgang's life & works.

In summary, the book leaves you wanting to experience each & every Mozart opera & with a greater respect for Mozart the man. I sailed through the book carried along by the pace of this most marvellous of biographies. An absolutely compelling read & it will be with some regret that you finally reach the last page.

Dr Glover is to be congratulated on this accessible yet informative book.

Buy it & read it; you are unlikely to be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2009
Written by a woman, and one of Britain's best musicians, this book has a down-to-earth tone, and manages to strike a balance between the man and the musical genius. It will satisfy therefore professional or amateur musicians, as well as total non-musicians. The first half of the book is mainly biographical, but then later on come detailed descriptions of the opera's, and how they developed through friendships with those who created the roles. This adds enormously to one's appreciation of the works.
It reads easily, with much wit and humour, althought there is some to-and-fro-ing in time which could be confusing if the story-line is the main interest.
Good fun, I have bought 2 copies as presents for others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2009
I really enjoyed this book! I had read a book containing his letters many years ago, but nothing since. I gained a greater understanding of Mozart's life, and particularly enjoyed the comprehensive section on how/why he wrote the arias for his operas as he did. It certainly enhanced my appreciation of that part of his work and I look forward to listening to them again as I am sure that I will enjoy them all the more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2011
Even for the most modest of music lovers, this is a book that is hard to put down.
Jane Glovers writing style is bound to please, and she deals with the subject with extraordinary sensitivity. For those who would aspire to being a music critic, these book will be inspirational. This is a fascinating and moving read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2013
Very nice, to read the insight of Mozart's world. Jane is a wonderful human being and an attentive woman. Pleasant reading and full of nice details!
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on 20 May 2013
Jane Glover writes with enthusiastic understanding and appreciation of W. A. Mozart and his family, in particular of his sister Nannerl and his wife Constanze. This is a most readable work of great style and scholarly research.
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on 15 September 2015
This book written by the remarkable Jane Glover has rekindled my interest in the music of Mozart. So learned and well written. Rather to my surprise I found it fascinating and now intend to study the man and his music.
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