Friday, July 22, 2016

Mozart's Last Aria

Mozart's Last Aria, a book review for all my fellow classical music nerds~

Book Review, Book Recommendation

Summary (via Goodreads): 

Award-winning author Matt Rees takes readers to 18th century Austria, where Mozart’s estranged sister Nannerl stumbles into a world of ambition, conspiracy, and immortal music while attempting to uncover the truth about her brother’s suspicious death. Did Mozart’s life end in murder? Nannerl must brave dire circumstances to find out, running afoul of the secret police, the freemasons, and even the Austrian Emperor himself as she delves into a scandal greater than she had ever imagined. 
Wolfgang and Maria Anna (Nannerl) Mozart

Review (3/5 stars): 

Like any well trained classical musician, I've practiced and performed my fair share of Mozart compositions and stand in awe of his genius.  I watched the 80's depiction of his life in Amadeus and never could forget the goofy Mozart that Tom Hulce portrayed.  This book though, covering Mozart's death and the following weeks, through the eyes of his sister, is not something that will stay with me for long.

Much of it is based on what we know of Mozart's life and his final days, but I found most of Nannerl's story line to be far fetched.  If she had been a fictional character I wouldn't have an issue with how she was portrayed, but Maria Anna (Nannerl) was a real woman and depicting such a deeply religious woman as she was in this book was very unfair.  If there's proof that she carried out the actions outlined, then by all means, if it's crucial to the story include it.  But I doubt any such proof exists.  Likewise, it would be nice to think that she had made amends with Mozart's wife after his death, but there is little to substantiate that either.

I know the author was really trying to stress how heavily the government of the day felt threatened by the Masons but I found that piece of the story hard to follow and a bit of a stretch.

All in all this is a fictional novel that is very loosely based in reality. The writing is good and the story moves along at a good pace, sometimes even a bit too quick, so if you can suspend reality, it's not a bad book. The audio version is performed well with amazing dexterity of all the accents. However, given that there are characters involved who really lived, I think a little more sensitivity to the preservation of their memory could have been afforded.

Mozart's Requiem - One of his most beautiful pieces~
Given the current state of music today it's amazing that Mozart's music has survived, and is still listened to and appreciated, over 200 years later.  Do you have a favourite Mozart piece?  Who's music today do you think will stand the test of time?  Be the first to leave comment below!

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