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The Real Mozart (Hardback)

The Original King of Pop

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Music Military > Biographies P&S History > By Century > 18th Century P&S History > Social History

By Judith Grohmann
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399016964
Published: 11th January 2023

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Born in Salzburg in 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the most prolific musicians that ever lived. Here, the author Judith Grohmann takes us behind the curtain of the career to reveal the real personality of the composer, whose influence on the world of music is still profound today.

A child prodigy, he played several instruments from a tender age and eventually created his own style by blending the traditional with the contemporary. He was beloved and hyped, but was also a multi-layered and controversial personality: on one side a provocative influencer, hyperactive and a driven man, a bon vivant who loved luxury, but on the other side, a man who was drawn to the Masonic mindset of brotherhood, freedom, tolerance and humanity, with frequent and extreme mood changes and a penchant for word games and a peculiar sense of humour.

In his short life, Mozart anticipated almost everything that makes a star today: international tours, hysterical fans, success, big hits, sex and addiction. He wrote obsessively and composed more than 600 different operas, sonatas, masses, concerts and symphonies. As far as we know today, Mozart's oeuvre contains around 1,060 titles. Knighted by the Pope aged just 14 (the greatest award for any artist at the time), today he might have been showered with Grammys and platinum discs in recognition of his status as the original 'King of Pop'.

This is an extremely well-researched book. The author clearly knows her Mozart.

NetGalley, Julie Waugh

As featured by 'The Classical Music Minute' - listen to the full podcast here.

The Classical Music Minute

See author Judith interviewed by Lucinda Hawksley for Goldster Book Club here!

Goldster Book Club

Hear author Judith on 'Mozart's Sex Life'
Betwixt The Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society - listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Betwixt The Sheets podcast

Grohmann proves how some of the myths, probably perpetuated by movies like Amadeus, are not accurate, and gives an account of the person behind the legend, placing him in a historical and political context. Readers who know nothing about him, as well as those who are familiar with his story will both enjoy this.

NetGalley, Elisa Rambacher

The author draws heavily on Mozart’s surviving correspondence to his father, wife and others, which I found fascinating to read. The book is generally well-researched.

There is much to read of interest here. Recommended for those who wish to learn more about the life of this captivating composer.

NetGalley, Jill Brittle

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I didn’t know much about Mozart so found this very insightful.

NetGalley, Michelle Coates

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A terrific account which gives incredible detail on all aspects of Mozart’s life - his career, his relationships, his personality. Using Mozart’s own correspondence as source material, the author opens up the composer’s life to the reader. Long held rumours are analysed and addressed and all is put in the context of the time in which he loved, which is important when seeking to understand such things as burial practices which may seem odd to the modern reader. It is an excellent account and will be of interest to anyone interested in the history of classical music, not just fans of Mozart.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Here's your backstage pass to all things Mozart. Actually, it's better than a backstage pass. It allows you to be a fly on the wall during his early years. You meet his family, including his also amazingly musically talented sister. You get to tag along as his father directs his initial climb to fame and fortune. You even get to read his sister's musings on him, not to mention look over his shoulder as he writes not another symphony but a remarkably personal, heart-felt letter to his distant wife. In other words, you are there.

Based on the premise that Mozart was "The Original King of Pop", this book does an excellent job giving us a look at not only Mozart's family but the times. In this day and age, his father would probably be seen as the ultimate "stage father", which will make you ponder both the joys and pressures on the boy -- remember, he learned to play at age four -- as his father markets his remarkable talents. Note, his sister was certainly a musical prodigy, too, but in that era, sigh, much as it remains today, a woman found it difficult to make a name for herself. You'll probably cringe at some of the behaviors tolerated from boy Mozart, while pondering what was really going on in his mind.

While most of the details of Mozart's musical life and career are detailed here, this book made him human to my eyes. I felt hope, sorrow, and puzzlement at times, constantly having to remind myself that life was different, very different during his relatively short life. Born in 1756, a favorite in royal courts, his life was certainly exciting, but this book reveals the human behind the name. I liked Leonard Bernstein's take on him: "Mozart combines serenity, melancholy and tragic intensity..."

Thank you #NetGalley and #Pen&Sword - #Pen&SwordHistory for giving me this backstage pass into Mozart's life. I tune into the classical station on my car's radio regularly but will never hear his music quite the same. Yep, he classifies as a rock/pop star in my book.

NetGalley, June Price

About Judith Grohmann

Judith Grohmann was born in Vienna and grew up speaking three different languages. An alumni of the Lycée Français de Vienne, she graduated from the University of Vienna with a Master ́s degree in Political Science, Journalism and Japanese. After being appointed Head of Production at the Austrian political magazine Profil, she has gone on to work for a multitude of publications across Europe, including Le Monde diplomatiqueWestdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, the Swiss Manager magazine Bilan, as well as architectural, industrial and political magazines. She became an author in 2005 and her previous books include Fighting the War on Terror (P&S, 2018), and the official biography of the former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. She lives in Vienna, but is often seen between Paris, London and the south of France.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's first opera "Apollo et Hyacinthus", written when he was 11 years old, premieres in Salzburg

13th May 1767

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's first opera "Apollo et Hyacinthus", written when he was 11 years old, premieres in Salzburg


Mozart (26) weds Constanze Weber in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria

4th August 1782

Musician Wolfang Amadeus Mozart (26) weds Constanze Weber in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera "Marriage of Figaro" premieres in Vienna

1st May 1786

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera "Marriage of Figaro" premieres in Vienna with Mozart himself directing


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More perhaps than any other composer, Edward Elgar (1857-1934) has gained the status of an ‘icon of locality’, his music seemingly inextricably linked to the English landscape in which he worked. This, the first full-length study of Elgar’s complex interaction with his physical environment, explores how it is that such associations are formed and whether it is any sense true that Elgar alchemized landscape into music. It argues that Elgar stands at the apex of an English tradition, going back to Blake, in which creative artists in all media have identified and warned against the self-harm…

By Christopher Grogan

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