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

Publication date:
02 Mar 1999
211 pages: 234 x 156 x 24mm
13 illustrations

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. Eventually Mozart turned the correspondence into an epistolary game, willfully making his letters unprintable and deliberately subverting his father's plans.