Author(s): Swafford, Jan,
Date of Publication: 03/12/2020,
Pagination: 832 pages,
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Published By: Faber & Faber
Book Classification: Individual composers & musicians, Biography: arts & entertainment
From acclaimed composer and biographer Jan Swafford comes the definitive biography of one of the most lauded musical geniuses in history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. From his earliest years it was apparent that the singular imagination of Wolfgang Mozart was tirelessly at work. He hated to be bored and hated to be idle, and he responded to these threats with a repertoire of antidotes mental and physical, going at every part of his life with tremendous gusto.
His circle of friends and patrons was wide, encompassing anyone who appealed to his boundless appetites for music and all things pleasurable and fun. As a man, Mozart was an inexplicable force of nature who could rise from a luminous improvisation at the keyboard to meow like a cat and leap over the furniture. He was forever drumming on things, tapping his feet, seeming both present and apart.
But he also might grasp your hand and gaze at you with a profound, searching and melancholy look in his blue eyes. It was as if Mozart lived onstage and off simultaneously, a character in life's tragicomedy but also outside of it, watching, studying, gathering material for the fabric of his art.
Like Swafford's biographies Beethoven, Johannes Brahms and Charles Ives, Mozart is both wide-ranging and intimate in its exploration of a genius in his life and his setting: a man who rose from a particular time and place, whose art would enrich the world for centuries to come, who would immeasurably shape the future of classical music, who from his age to ours has stood as the definition of a prodigy.
As Swafford reveals, to understand the evolution of music it is vital to understand this singular genius as a man and an artist.