Mozart: A Cultural Biography
This major work, the result of years of careful study and analysis, places Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's life and music in the context of the intellectual, political and artistic currents of eighteenth-century Europe. The result is a fresh interpretation of Mozart's genius, as Robert Gutman shows the great composer in a new light. With an informed and sensitive handling, Mozart emerges as an affectionate and generous man with family and friends, self-deprecating, witty, and winsome but also an austere moralist, incisive and purposeful. The major genres in which Mozart worked-chamber music, liturgical, theater and keyboard compositions, concertos, operas, symphonies, and oratorios-are unfolded to reveal a man of luminous intellect. Mozart is an extraordinary portrait of a man and his times and a brilliant distillation of musical thought.
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Mozart: a cultural biographyUser Review - Book Verdict
With this sprawling, meticulously researched work, Gutman (Richard Wagner) enters the already crowded field of Mozart studies. He succeeds admirably in interweaving the chronology of Mozart's life and musical compositions with essays on the social, political, and religious fabrics of the 18th century, offering extended discourses on the Enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, Freemasonry, and other movements that influenced the composer both personally and in his works. Special attention is paid to the tours that Mozart family members undertook to various European locales, the contacts they made there, and the reception of their talents and personalities. Gutman contextualizes rather than analyzes the music; one feels that he has a great deal of respect for the composer's abilities but is not unwilling to be critical. Covering similar territory as Ruth Halliwell's recent The Mozart Family (Oxford Univ., 1998) but with more extensive descriptions of the music, this work is directed at an audience of sophisticated lay readers. Highly recommended for all music collections of significant size, this should set a standard for future Mozart scholars to emulate.--Barry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH ...
Review: Mozart: A Cultural BiographyUser Review - Matt - Goodreads
A fabulous biography. In particular the exchanges from letters between Mozart and his father show the young composer's struggle to assert his independence. Gutman is very good at allowing Mozart to be ... Read full review