"Mozart in Revolt" by David Schroeder

Mozart in Revolt Strategies of Resistance, Mischief and Deception David Schroeder

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
11 Mar 1999
ISBN:
9780300075427
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
224 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
13 b-w illus.

Categories:

The complex relationship between Mozart and his father has fascinated music lovers for centuries, and much effort has been spent examining the letters exchanged by the two men. This provocative book offers a new reading of these letters, placing them in the context of the stylized strategies of the eighteenth-century epistolary tradition and arguing that they reveal a rebelliousness deep within Mozart’s life and work.
David Schroeder contends that Mozart’s father, Leopold, intended to write a biography of his son and designed his correspondence to be published as a type of moral biography. He bombarded his son with letters that often began with amusing anecdotes and then offered a torrent of advice on every imaginable subject. Dealing with these often biting letters presented Mozart with a challenge. He could react with anger, but that type of revolt only fired Leopold’s criticism, and it proved much more effective to be evasive or dissimulating. Mozart’s letters, in contrast to the moral German-styled letters he received, came closer to the more wily French letters of the philosophes, Voltaire especially, whose style he would have discovered while living in Paris. Like Voltaire, Mozart wore different epistolary masks, playing the comedian, moralist, intimate friend, or even, with scatological outbursts, protester against the sanitized moral and enlightened world of authority. Eventually Mozart turned the correspondence into an epistolary game, willfully making his letters unprintable and deliberately subverting his father’s plans.

David Schroeder is professor of music at Dalhousie University.

"Rather than being a straightforward biography, this [book] gives the reader additional insight into Mozart?s psyche through his rebellious correspondence."?Chamber Music


?Mozart in Revolt presents a fascinating new portrait of Mozart: part ?child-angel,?beloved of God, who dictated directly from the divine onto paper those miraculous notes; part dirty-minded Harlequin, as exhibited in Mozart?s love of Carnival; and part Hans Wurst, perpetual favorite Viennese son and stock character in nearly every pre-1850 Viennese comedy. . . . Schroeder has done an admirable job of showing the letters in new light and suggesting substantially more refined conclusions on this interesting body of work.??Daniel Rieppel, Austrian Studies Newsletter


?Provocative. . . . Schroeder?s writing is not only interesting but also brings new insight to our understanding of Mozart?s life. . . . Schroeder?s study makes an important contribution to Mozart Scholarship, examining Leopold?s and Mozart?s letters in the light of eighteenth-century epistolary practices. Mozart lovers will find it fascinating.??Richard Benedum, Opera Quarterly

?Schroeder?s writing is not only interesting but also brings new insight to our understanding of Mozart?s life. . . . Schroeder?s study makes an important contribution to Mozart scholarship, examining Leopold?s and Mozart?s letters in the light of eighteenth-century epistolary practices. Mozart lovers will find it fascinating.??Richard Benedum, Opera Quarterly