Sunday 26 August 2018

Mozart: The Man Revealed - John Suchet

The story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's life is well known. Austrian-born to a tyrannical father who worked him - fiercely; unhappily married to a spendthrift woman; a child-like character ill at ease amid the aristocratic splendour of the Viennese court; a musical genius who died young thus depriving the world of future glories.

Yet only that last point is really true. In this comprehensive biography, John Suchet examines the many myths and misunderstandings surrounding the world's best-loved composer. From his early days as a child prodigy performing for the imperial royal family in Vienna to the last months of his short life, driven to exhaustion by a punitive workload, one thing remained constant: his happy disposition.

Through trials and tribulations, grand successes and disheartening setbacks, Suchet shows us the real Mozart - blessed with an abundance of talent yet sometimes struggling to earn a living. His mischievous nature and earthy sense of humour, his ease and confidence in his own incredible abilities; these were traits that never left him. His music has brought comfort to countless generations; his life, though brief, is no less fascinating.

What did I think?

I would not be surprised to find out that either John Suchet is 250 years old or he has a time machine, as I felt as if he knew Mozart personally whilst reading his completely spellbinding book entitled Mozart: The Man Revealed.

As a regular listener to Classic FM, I look forward to Mozart Mondays as nothing is better at setting you up for the week ahead than the jollity of Mozart's compositions.  I always find myself humming or whistling along without even realising it, completely unaware of the stories that lie behind the child prodigy and his famous works.  

I have previously read and enjoyed John Suchet's fantastic book on Johann Strauss, but this book goes one step further as we really get to know the young composer through his own words by examining letters that he and his father wrote home whilst on tour.  The young Mozart is every bit the precocious child we imagine but he also had the most amazing sense of humour, often without a filter which would place him on the autistic spectrum today.  

As well as Mozart's sense of humour, John Suchet's fabulous sense of humour comes through in his writing.  I won't spoil the whole book but there is a particular painting of Mozart and his sister, Nannerl, who has the most gigantic hair, that makes me chuckle just thinking about it.  Mozart's humour is definitely what we could call 'toilet humour' as he is very rude and just doesn't care less.  Listening to his work after reading this book seems to add a new dimension, as I feel as if I can now effortlessly tap into the feelings that are woven into each exceptional piece of music.

An absolute must-read for any classical music fan, where you can really get to know the man behind the music in Mozart: The Man Revealed.  It is so authentic and fascinating that it could easily be called Mozart: In His Own Words.  Think you know Mozart?  Think again!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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