AMADEUS: A Mozart Mosaic by Herbert Kupferberg

AMADEUS: A Mozart Mosaic

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An unorthodox--and humorous--glance at the human side of a musical diety. The book vacillates between gossipy anecdotes and interesting offbeat perspectives on Mozart's world. There is commentary on 18th-century Europe's ""prodigy market""; the composer's health history; his relationships with his sister Nannerl, his dog Bimperl and his contemporaries, such as Haydn and Salieri; his dislike of Salzburg; the unusual fate of his famous librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte; his connection with prominent Jews of his day. We are treated to irreverent discussion about his exceedingly ordinary physical appearance, his romances and marriage, his failure to balance his checkbook, as well as speculation about his contradictory coexistent Catholicism and dedication to the mystical Masonic order. There is even an update on his current status as a trendy media superstar. At its most interesting, there are comments regarding his infamous funeral, his influence on George Bernard Shaw, and his fascinating relationship with his father Leopold. The book's weakest moment, a cursory entry called ""Mozart and the Romantics,"" dismisses a complex subject with a dilettante's self-indulgent brevity. All of the pieces are brief, casual and completely author-arbitrary in their grab-bag content, offering a blend of interesting observation, trivia and gossipy Mozartisms, some fascinating, others pedestrian, but clear in their attempt to dissipate some of the more fanciful legends. As musical fast food--an eccentric glance at the quirky sides to the Mozart mystique--the book succeeds--and offers an enjoyable and refreshing, if featherweight, addition to the Mozart shelf.

Pub Date: June 23rd, 1986
Publisher: McGraw-Hill