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Review: Mozart, the Man Revealed by John Suchet

An intimate biography of the great composer

Mozart: The Man RevealedMozart: The Man Revealed by John Suchet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is an intimate view of Mozart, as John Suchet goes through Mozart’s personal correspondence, and that of his family and close friends.
But it’s not monotonous! Suchet engages with the composer at a very personal level, and teases out his life, loves, motivations and disappointments.
Did you know that Wolfgang was one of 7 children, only 2 of whom survived? Or that he and his wife Constanze had 6 children, again only 2 of whom survived?
And yet Suchet portrays Mozart as a happy-go-lucky character, full of fun and mischief. Suchet doesn’t balk at revealing some of Mozart’s more racy, even vulgar, letters, in a bid to paint a complete portrait of the man.
But above all is Suchet’s profound regard for Mozart’s music: he describes how composing was ‘like breathing,’ it flowed so easily for Mozart. At one point, Mozart was visiting Linz, just after the death of his first child, and found himself invited to give a concert, but had brought along no music. So he whipped together a symphony in four days! It is one of his most famous and most sublime, No. 36 K. 425.
On another occasion, he scribbled off a composition for a choir director friend of his. As Suchet puts it: ‘Lucky friend, lucky choir, lucky us.’
A great read, and a wonderful insight into the life of one of the greatest composers of all time.

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