MOZART by Richard Baker


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A very short, thoroughly unpretentious biography--by a musical commentator on British radio and television. Baker relies largely on quotations from Mozart-family letters and from period sources as he sketches in the familiar story. He sees both sides of the father-Leopold question, recognizing the exploitative behavior but emphasizing Leopold's genuine love and pride. Wolfgang's childishness is noted here, of course (""a nature wide open to distraction""), with frank mention of his bathroom humor. And, while succinctly setting forth the miserable travels, the Salzburg appointments, the Vienna free-lancing, and the later triumphs, Baker manages to refer to most of the important compositions--usually with a bland but appropriate adjective. (Only in the tiny opera discussions--with one-paragraph plot-summaries--does the over-simplification verge on distortion.) Apocryphal stories are labeled as such, the Salieri-murder theory is considered ""highly unlikely,"" the prose is plain and literate: all in ail, a perfectly decent introductory volume for newcomers--handsomely illustrated.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1982
Publisher: Thames & Hudson--dist. by Norton