Saturday, March 11, 2006

Book Notes: Mozart, by Marcia Davenport

Mozart
Like most Americans, my conceptions of Mozart are primarily driven by the movie Amadeus, the Simpsons' version of Amadeus, and the classic Falco song, "Rock Me Amadeus."

I'm not necessarily proud of that fact, but it is what it is.

At any event, this biography is a fascinating read. What's amazing to me is that Mozart, whom practically everyone acknowledged as the most talented composer of all time (he would compose all his masterpieces in his mind, and then scribble them down on to paper without needing to make any corrections) including such luminaries as Hayden, never achieved commercial success in his lifetime.

Genius is necessary but not sufficient; the profligate and undisciplined Mozart was never able to achieve what he most wanted: a permanent court appointment that would allow him to live comfortably and focus on composing (rather than cranking out cheap dance music to ward off bill collectors).

Moreover, genius comes in surprising packages. The pale, undistinguished Mozart was one of mankind's all-time geniuses, but as his first love said when asked why she didn't marry him (instead her younger sister did," she responded, "You see, we didn't know he was going to be Mozart. He just seemed like such a little man."

At any rate, Mozart's story is well worth reading, including how his life intersected with both Casanova and Beethoven.

1 comment:

TK said...

Just ordered the book from your blog so I assume you are going to make a few pennies from the Amazon affiliate program! :)