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Throughout his life, Mozart was inspired, fascinated, amused, aroused, hurt, disappointed and betrayed by women -- and he was equally complex to them. But, first and last, Mozart loved and respected women. His mother, his sister, his wife, her sisters, and his female patrons, friends, lovers and fellow artists all figure prominently in his life. And his experience, observa Throughout his life, Mozart was inspired, fascinated, amused, aroused, hurt, disappointed and betrayed by women -- and he was equally complex to them. But, first and last, Mozart loved and respected women. His mother, his sister, his wife, her sisters, and his female patrons, friends, lovers and fellow artists all figure prominently in his life. And his experience, observation and understanding of women reappear, spectacularly, in the characters he created. As one of our finest interpreters of Mozart's work, Jane Glover is perfectly placed to bring these remarkable women -- both real and dramatized -- vividly to life. We meet Mozart's mother, Maria Anna, and his beloved and devoted sister, Nannerl, perhaps as talented as her brilliant brother but, owing to her sex, destined to languish at home while Wolfgang and their father entertained the drawing rooms of Europe. We meet, too, Mozart's "other family" -- his in-laws, the Webers: Constanze, his wife, much maligned by history, and her sisters, Aloysia, Sophie and Josefa. Aloysia and Josefa were highly talented singers for whom Mozart wrote some of his most remarkable music. Aloysia was the first woman whom Mozart truly and passionately loved, and her eventual rejection of him nearly broke his heart. Constanze, though a less gifted singer, proved a steadfast and loving wife and -- after Mozart's death -- his extremely efficient widow, consolidating his reputation and ensuring that his most enduring legacy, his music, never be forgotten. Mozart's Women is their story. But it is also the story of the women in his operas, all of whom were -- like his sister, his mother, his wife and his entire female acquaintance -- restrained by the conventions and strictures of eighteenth-century society. Yet through his glorious writing, he identified and released the emotions of his characters. Constanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail; Ilia and Elettra in Idomeneo; Susanna and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro; Donnas Anna and Elvira in Don Giovanni; Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Despina in Così fan tutte; Pamina and the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte: are all examined and celebrated. They hold up the mirror to their audiences and offer inestimable insight, together constituting yet further proof of Mozart's true genius and phenomenal understanding of human nature. Rich, evocative and compellingly readable, Mozart's Women illuminates the music and the man -- but, above all, the women who inspired him.


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Throughout his life, Mozart was inspired, fascinated, amused, aroused, hurt, disappointed and betrayed by women -- and he was equally complex to them. But, first and last, Mozart loved and respected women. His mother, his sister, his wife, her sisters, and his female patrons, friends, lovers and fellow artists all figure prominently in his life. And his experience, observa Throughout his life, Mozart was inspired, fascinated, amused, aroused, hurt, disappointed and betrayed by women -- and he was equally complex to them. But, first and last, Mozart loved and respected women. His mother, his sister, his wife, her sisters, and his female patrons, friends, lovers and fellow artists all figure prominently in his life. And his experience, observation and understanding of women reappear, spectacularly, in the characters he created. As one of our finest interpreters of Mozart's work, Jane Glover is perfectly placed to bring these remarkable women -- both real and dramatized -- vividly to life. We meet Mozart's mother, Maria Anna, and his beloved and devoted sister, Nannerl, perhaps as talented as her brilliant brother but, owing to her sex, destined to languish at home while Wolfgang and their father entertained the drawing rooms of Europe. We meet, too, Mozart's "other family" -- his in-laws, the Webers: Constanze, his wife, much maligned by history, and her sisters, Aloysia, Sophie and Josefa. Aloysia and Josefa were highly talented singers for whom Mozart wrote some of his most remarkable music. Aloysia was the first woman whom Mozart truly and passionately loved, and her eventual rejection of him nearly broke his heart. Constanze, though a less gifted singer, proved a steadfast and loving wife and -- after Mozart's death -- his extremely efficient widow, consolidating his reputation and ensuring that his most enduring legacy, his music, never be forgotten. Mozart's Women is their story. But it is also the story of the women in his operas, all of whom were -- like his sister, his mother, his wife and his entire female acquaintance -- restrained by the conventions and strictures of eighteenth-century society. Yet through his glorious writing, he identified and released the emotions of his characters. Constanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail; Ilia and Elettra in Idomeneo; Susanna and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro; Donnas Anna and Elvira in Don Giovanni; Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Despina in Così fan tutte; Pamina and the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte: are all examined and celebrated. They hold up the mirror to their audiences and offer inestimable insight, together constituting yet further proof of Mozart's true genius and phenomenal understanding of human nature. Rich, evocative and compellingly readable, Mozart's Women illuminates the music and the man -- but, above all, the women who inspired him.

30 review for Mozart's Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    In this focused bio Glover lovingly relates Mozart's short life and musical immortality with a focus on Mozart's relationships with women. Inextricably woven in this is his relationship with his emotionally abusive father, Leopold. Leopold, makes his 15 year old son feel a failure for not securing what "grown ups" with vast accomplishments could not. This same all knowing patriarch relegates his talented daughter, Nannerl, to a life of shadows while he piddles away his own presumed talent, to bet In this focused bio Glover lovingly relates Mozart's short life and musical immortality with a focus on Mozart's relationships with women. Inextricably woven in this is his relationship with his emotionally abusive father, Leopold. Leopold, makes his 15 year old son feel a failure for not securing what "grown ups" with vast accomplishments could not. This same all knowing patriarch relegates his talented daughter, Nannerl, to a life of shadows while he piddles away his own presumed talent, to better his life through his son whom he emotionally undermines. Mozart's first true love is similarly undermined by his father. Later, Leopold invokes misogynistic ideals to retain his authority when Mozart finally marries. Sadly, Mozart's sister Nannerl is sidelined by the marriage since she is no longer first in her brother's attention and affections. She becomes totally dependent on Leopold. Why Leopold takes custody of his grandchild by Nannerl is not clear. My speculation is that he had married Nannerl off to a person of wealth who, unspoken to both of them, was accepted as more abusive than he. A chapter called "Mozart's Women" covers the women critical to his performance career. The chapter title is ironic. These are the women for whom he writes parts. The real "Mozart Women" appropriately consume the larger part of the text. These are his mother, sister, wife and other members of the Weber family. Mozart's father's support of his son is conditional on Mozart's success in supporting the family/him. Any generosity from Leopold is dubious. His emotional support of Wolfgang is generally negative. The women never let him down, in life and thereafter. I recommend this book for all those who love Mozart's music. If, like me, you are unschooled in the particulars of Mozart's work, skim the chapter called "Mozart's Women". You will find the material surrounding it interesting, informative and inspirational.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Mozart's Women is one of the best biographies I've read. Prior to this, the only Mozart biography I'd read was Mozart: A Life in Letters. This primary source bio, filled as it is with letters by Leopold and Wolfgang, is a great resource, but it focuses primarily on the men. While Jane Glover's bio includes the most important male relationships in Mozart's life, its focus is on the women, particularly Nannerl and Constanze, the two women who knew him best, one in his early years, one in his final Mozart's Women is one of the best biographies I've read. Prior to this, the only Mozart biography I'd read was Mozart: A Life in Letters. This primary source bio, filled as it is with letters by Leopold and Wolfgang, is a great resource, but it focuses primarily on the men. While Jane Glover's bio includes the most important male relationships in Mozart's life, its focus is on the women, particularly Nannerl and Constanze, the two women who knew him best, one in his early years, one in his final ones. The book is divided into four sections: "Mozart's Family", "Mozart's Other Family", "Mozart's Women", "After Mozart" (there's also a Prelude and a Postlude). The section entitled "Mozart's Women" focuses on the music he wrote for women, particularly his operas. As such, it interrupts the more-or-less chronological flow that begins with "Mozart's Family" (which starts with his grandparents) and ends in "After Mozart", which concludes with the death of his last direct descendant, his son Carl (in total, the book covers the early 1700s through the mid 1800s). And yet who would want to be without the transition that connects this section to the last one: "He was, to be sure, entirely at home in Sarastro's (Masonic) world, which he respected, honored, and defended. But for him the presence too of a woman as companion and guide was absolutely essential (308). MOZART'S OWN companion and guide, Constanze, was only twenty-nine years old when she was left a widow with a seven-year-old boy and a four-month-old baby" (311). Plus, Mozart's Women is rich in the reasons why Mozart was a genius at characterization through his music, makes an argument for his strongest operas being the ones in which he had input on the librettos, and proves that his best operas had casts which not only included great singers, but singers with whom Mozart was well-acquainted. Consider Die Entführung aus dem Serail: Blonde's adorable perkiness and abundant common sense are perfectly expressed in her music. Her two arias are mainly syllabic, indicating both a matter-of-fact defiance in her dealings with Osmin and a beguiling and straightforward sweetness in her relationship with Pedrillo. But since [Therese] Teiber evidently had a marvellous agility in her upper register, which Wolfgang exploited as happily as he did Fischer's low notes, Blonde has in her opening aria, 'Durch zärtlichkeit' (With tenderness) spectacular melismatic flourishes on the word 'entweicht' (banished), taking her aria above the stave as she confidently brushes aside Osmin's boorish commands ('mürrisches Befehlen'). The duet between them, 'Ich gehe, doch rate ich dir' (I'll go, but take my advice and stay away), is a brilliant piece of subtle comedy for Wolfgang's two old friends. He delights in allowing Blonde to mimic Osmin's low notes, taking her way below her normal tessitura before springing her back up again over two octaves. In the central andante section Blonde weaves a manipulative ornamental line above Osmin's bemused and syllabic bass line. And in the final allegro, 'Nun troll dich', which she constantly leads, she firmly threatens to scratch his eyes out ('Es ist um die Augen geschehen') in music which appropriately taunts and stabs. (226-7) That's not to say that the more biographical sections are lacking. In fact, each section is informative, well-researched, and brimming with the joy that Glover finds in her subject (and his music -- read her comments on "Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio!" and Le Nozze di Figaro, or earlier, his Piano Concerto No. 9). Nor does she give short shrift, in the other sections, to individual arias and piano compositions he wrote with women in mind, particularly Aloysia Weber for the former and Nannerl for the latter. In the final analysis, if it weren't for women, particularly his wife and sister, Mozart's legacy wouldn't be what it is. Both women helped preserve his music and his character after he died. Through this book, I felt I understood all of Mozart's world: the world he entered into, the world he lived in, the world he left behind. For Mozart's world was the friends and family who populated it and the music he composed for them, especially the women. All influenced him, from his big sister who toured with him when they were young, to his mother who died while accompanying him; from his first crush (his "little cousin," the Bäsle) to his first love (Aloysia) to his wife. Without them, there is no Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This is an excellent book. Author Jane Glover examines Wolfgang Mozart's relations with the people in his life, especially the women, and particularly his mother, sister, and wife. Glover also discusses and analyzes the women characters in his operas and shows how he created strong women. The book gives a much different view of Mozart's life and personality than is popularly held. The same is true of Constanze. The Wolfgang and Constanze of "Amadeus" (play and movie) are two-dimensional figures This is an excellent book. Author Jane Glover examines Wolfgang Mozart's relations with the people in his life, especially the women, and particularly his mother, sister, and wife. Glover also discusses and analyzes the women characters in his operas and shows how he created strong women. The book gives a much different view of Mozart's life and personality than is popularly held. The same is true of Constanze. The Wolfgang and Constanze of "Amadeus" (play and movie) are two-dimensional figures compared to the portraits Glover draws. There is a lot of musical discussion, but this is a good book for anyone wanting to know more about Mozart and his music.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erika Robuck

    Mozart’s Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music was written by accomplished Mozart conductor, Jane Glover. It was published in 2007, and is 372 pages. In it, Glover tells the story of the oft written about musical prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in relation to the women in his family, the women who inspired him, and the women who loved him. The biography is divided into four sections: “Mozart’s Family”, “Mozart’s Other Family”, “Mozart’s Women”, and “After Mozart.” The first two sections pr Mozart’s Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music was written by accomplished Mozart conductor, Jane Glover. It was published in 2007, and is 372 pages. In it, Glover tells the story of the oft written about musical prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in relation to the women in his family, the women who inspired him, and the women who loved him. The biography is divided into four sections: “Mozart’s Family”, “Mozart’s Other Family”, “Mozart’s Women”, and “After Mozart.” The first two sections present a complete biography of his life, beginning with an account of the travels of the child prodigy, Mozart, his sister (almost his equal in talent), and his parents. His father, Leopold, is painted as a domineering, motivated, and dour man; but what is most interesting in the early section of the biography, is Glover’s assertion that Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, might have rivaled her brother in talent if she had been given the opportunities that he had been given. It appears that the siblings did have a very close and supportive relationship with one another until Mozart, in his need to break from his father, went out on his own. The next section, “Mozart’s Other Family” deals with his relationship with the Weber family. The Weber’s had four immensely talented daughters, and reminded him of his own family. Mozart’s first Weber love was the great opera singer, Aloysia, but some years after she rejected him, he fell in love with and married her younger sister, Constanze. Constanze and Wolfgang’s marriage would grow to one of great devotion, and her love for Mozart would inspire some of his best works. This section concludes with the early and untimely death of Mozart while he worked tirelessly (ironically) on his Requiem Mass. The third section of the biography diverges from the linear movement of the book, and digresses into a fascinating, detailed explanation of each of Mozart’s operas, and the women who inspired and performed them. The final section of the book tells about the rest of Constanze’s life, and the lives of her sisters, and Mozart’s own sister. I loved this book. It was an independent bookstore treasure that I stumbled upon at the Hard Bean in Annapolis. I was drawn to it by the title, and by my own interest in the composer. My father’s love of classical music, and specifically, Mozart, seeped into my subconscious as I grew, and asserted itself several years ago. I remember falling in love with Mozart’s music when I saw the movie, Amadeus, over a decade ago. The balance of music and story in the movie was captivating and inspiring, and might be what started my true love of historical fiction. Though Glover is profoundly learned, the text of the book is readable and straightforward. Her love for the composer is transmitted in a clean, warmness of style. Though her affinity for Mozart is clear, she does not put him on a pedestal, but creates a very human portrayal of a great master. I had some difficulty with the third section that broke down his operas in such detail. I would have preferred it to be woven through the linear biography for balance, but that certainly did not take away from my enjoyment of the text. I highly recommend this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    This book is a biography of Mozart as seen through the lens of the women in his life and his relationships with them. Glover concentrates on Mozart's mother Maria Anna, his sister Nannerl, and his wife Constanze, but she also includes Constanze's sisters (especially Aloysia) and several musicians that Mozart knew and worked with over the course of his career. In addition, Glover discusses the women in each of Mozart's operas. Mozart's Women is a very enjoyable book, providing lots of information This book is a biography of Mozart as seen through the lens of the women in his life and his relationships with them. Glover concentrates on Mozart's mother Maria Anna, his sister Nannerl, and his wife Constanze, but she also includes Constanze's sisters (especially Aloysia) and several musicians that Mozart knew and worked with over the course of his career. In addition, Glover discusses the women in each of Mozart's operas. Mozart's Women is a very enjoyable book, providing lots of information and insight in readable, clear prose. So often writers and musicians are tempted to think of these great composers as extremely exceptional and individualistic. In contrast, viewing Mozart in this fashion allows Glover to show how he was connected and integrated into the family, social, and musical life of 18th century Austria. I found the section on Constanze and Nannerl after Mozart's death very interesting. Both women became intimately involved in the preservation of Mozart's memory and legacy during their long and active lives post-Mozart.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amie

    I loved this book! It was an enjoyable, easy-to-read biography that placed Mozart's music in the context of what was happening in his life when it was written. There was a lot of information about Mozarts mother, his sister, and his love interests, but the title is somewhat limiting, in that the author also talks extensively about the relationship Mozart had with his father, and about his collaborative relationships with different musicians and librettists. There is a section that talks about th I loved this book! It was an enjoyable, easy-to-read biography that placed Mozart's music in the context of what was happening in his life when it was written. There was a lot of information about Mozarts mother, his sister, and his love interests, but the title is somewhat limiting, in that the author also talks extensively about the relationship Mozart had with his father, and about his collaborative relationships with different musicians and librettists. There is a section that talks about the characters in Mozart's operas, and about how his real-life relationships and his rapport with different opera singers contributed to their development. There is also a really interesting chapter about what happened to Mozart's widow and to his sister after he died.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    This book cannot be faulted for the amount of detail about Mozart, it is very densely packed with information. It is divided into four parts with the third part a bizarrely positioned musical section. My book group unanimously skipped part three, it would have been better as an appendix. The author's writing was also a little jarring - various characters 'actually' did this and that and at one point Mozart and his wife 'peeled off' to a destination while on a journey. Nevertheless, a fascinating This book cannot be faulted for the amount of detail about Mozart, it is very densely packed with information. It is divided into four parts with the third part a bizarrely positioned musical section. My book group unanimously skipped part three, it would have been better as an appendix. The author's writing was also a little jarring - various characters 'actually' did this and that and at one point Mozart and his wife 'peeled off' to a destination while on a journey. Nevertheless, a fascinating read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Adri

    I loved this book. It put Mozart in perspective and made me go back to his operas to listen and discover again. The book is scholarly yet completely accessible. A must read for all classical music lovers.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Really enjoyed this book and found it full of detail and history. Find it increases my enjoyment of the music and operas. Hope she writes more. A surprisingly good read.....times, culture, music and fathers and sons....

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Mitchell

    A fascinating look at Mozart's story and how the women in his life shaped him and his music. I imagine that I will revisit this book more than once in my life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Patrick O'Hannigan

    Halfway through this fascinating biography, Mozart dies "on an unresolved dominant chord" while working on his anonymously-commissioned Requiem. The genius composer's wife, sister, and favorite singers would all outlive him, which is probably why Jane Glover decided to shape her narrative the way she did. I like the result, which taught me a lot that I did not know (for example, that Mozart tailored his music to the people who would perform it whenever he liked them well enough to do so -- and t Halfway through this fascinating biography, Mozart dies "on an unresolved dominant chord" while working on his anonymously-commissioned Requiem. The genius composer's wife, sister, and favorite singers would all outlive him, which is probably why Jane Glover decided to shape her narrative the way she did. I like the result, which taught me a lot that I did not know (for example, that Mozart tailored his music to the people who would perform it whenever he liked them well enough to do so -- and that A major was his favorite key for music meant to be seductive). I have two quibbles with the author: First, she did not include a glossary of the musical terms that she uses so smoothly, particularly when writing about the performers who created the operatic roles for which Mozart composed music. Second, she pays short shrift to Mozart's purely instrumental work. What I mean is that Jane Glover writes with aplomb about the operas, giving each its due and explaining who performed what and why. Meanwhile, she treats Mozart's symphonies and piano concertos like bit players (The "Prague" Symphony was written in that city? The "Jupiter" symphony -- Mozart's last -- is especially powerful? Duh!) On the other hand, the psychological insights that Jane Glover brings to bear on Mozart himself and the women who loved him (or were loved by him) seem astute, and written with rare generosity of spirit. I'm glad I read the book. If all you know of Mozart's life is from Amadeus, the award-winning movie based on Peter Shaffer's stage play of the same name, then Jane Glover seems a trustworthy guide to many other things worth knowing about Mozart and the women who either inspired or confounded him.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Great book. I love learning more about a historical subject through the women involved (the Russian Revolution through the Romanov daughters, for example) so this book was right up my alley. It is both a biography of Mozart and the women in his life (most particularly his mother, sister, wife and mother- and sisters-in-law) and a description of his creative process and how those women were involved in it. The author is a conductor and music scholar and it shows, especially in the section on Moza Great book. I love learning more about a historical subject through the women involved (the Russian Revolution through the Romanov daughters, for example) so this book was right up my alley. It is both a biography of Mozart and the women in his life (most particularly his mother, sister, wife and mother- and sisters-in-law) and a description of his creative process and how those women were involved in it. The author is a conductor and music scholar and it shows, especially in the section on Mozart's female characters and the singers who first sang them. Mozart tended to write to his performers' strengths, so the music says a lot about what the original performers excelled at. While reding it, I had YouTube close by so I could look up the piece of opera discussed. It really added to the experience. And I came out loving Constanze. History has sadly put her away as a bit of a silly woman, standing in the shadow of her hypertalented husband. Her portrayal in the movie Amadeus as kind of a ditz hasn't helped. But in reality she was so strong and so canny, and a very talented singer to boot! She almost singlehandedly saved her husband's legacy. She was awesome.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Initially, I found this book to be fascinating and was going to give it 4 stars. But soon, it became repetitive and opinionated, containing a little too much speculation. It didn't help that I was reading a library copy that had been heavily underlined in pencil by a previous reader. Page after page was at least half underlined. Several of the underlined pages included margin notes. (Who does that? Sure, if it's your own book, maybe that's okay. Then again, maybe not. Has this person never heard Initially, I found this book to be fascinating and was going to give it 4 stars. But soon, it became repetitive and opinionated, containing a little too much speculation. It didn't help that I was reading a library copy that had been heavily underlined in pencil by a previous reader. Page after page was at least half underlined. Several of the underlined pages included margin notes. (Who does that? Sure, if it's your own book, maybe that's okay. Then again, maybe not. Has this person never heard of making and writing on bookmarks??) I tried to use an artgum to erase the offending pencil marks. But it took too long and the text just didn't seem worth the effort.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rhan

    This was a bit of an odd read for me, because I really enjoyed the part up until Mozart's death, and then I found the writing took a dull turn. Whilst very informative, the last 150 or so pages seemed oddly paced and shoehorned in. If the information in these pages had been added in to the previous section I would definitely have given this book four stars. I also docked a star because, for a book titled Mozart's women, after his death there did not seem to be much emphasis on the women who infl This was a bit of an odd read for me, because I really enjoyed the part up until Mozart's death, and then I found the writing took a dull turn. Whilst very informative, the last 150 or so pages seemed oddly paced and shoehorned in. If the information in these pages had been added in to the previous section I would definitely have given this book four stars. I also docked a star because, for a book titled Mozart's women, after his death there did not seem to be much emphasis on the women who influenced Mozart (in my opnion, anyway). Nevertheless, this is a solid biography and a very informative start to someone who may not know the intricacies of Mozart's life.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rene Saller

    Virginia Woolf's famous formulation was, "What if Shakespeare had a sister?" In Mozart's case, we already know the answer: Nannerl, the first child prodigy in the Mozart family, performed to great acclaim until she married, which ended her career forever. Jane Glover, a respected conductor and Mozart scholar, writes sympathetically and perceptively about Nannerl as well as Mozart's wife, Constanze, his sister-in-law Aloysia, and many other women who helped inspire, shape, and support the great c Virginia Woolf's famous formulation was, "What if Shakespeare had a sister?" In Mozart's case, we already know the answer: Nannerl, the first child prodigy in the Mozart family, performed to great acclaim until she married, which ended her career forever. Jane Glover, a respected conductor and Mozart scholar, writes sympathetically and perceptively about Nannerl as well as Mozart's wife, Constanze, his sister-in-law Aloysia, and many other women who helped inspire, shape, and support the great composer.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Natacha Pavlov

    "You may trust, believe, opine, hold the opinion, cherish the constant hope, consider, imagine, think, and be confident that we are well." Gotta love Mozart's humor! This is a fascinating detailed account of the artist and the influential women in his life. As expected, it only made me appreciate him more. I loved the playful relationship he had with his sister Nannerl, his personality and his seemingly endless creativity—although the lifestyle (combined with fragile health) may have partially c "You may trust, believe, opine, hold the opinion, cherish the constant hope, consider, imagine, think, and be confident that we are well." Gotta love Mozart's humor! This is a fascinating detailed account of the artist and the influential women in his life. As expected, it only made me appreciate him more. I loved the playful relationship he had with his sister Nannerl, his personality and his seemingly endless creativity—although the lifestyle (combined with fragile health) may have partially contributed to his untimely death at 35. A worthy read by an expert author on the subject.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Billi Haug

    Superb! It deserves a 10 rating! So well researched and compiled into three fascinating parts. Mozart's parents, birth, life, struggle, marriage, success and then death. Second part goes into the operas he wrote! The stories and his ability to match the score to the singer. The last part is about the people left behind and materials gathered to write about him. It will take time to digest all this wonderful information. The author also wrote Handel in London and I look forward to curling up with tha Superb! It deserves a 10 rating! So well researched and compiled into three fascinating parts. Mozart's parents, birth, life, struggle, marriage, success and then death. Second part goes into the operas he wrote! The stories and his ability to match the score to the singer. The last part is about the people left behind and materials gathered to write about him. It will take time to digest all this wonderful information. The author also wrote Handel in London and I look forward to curling up with that book in the fall season!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jaime Robles

    A different look at Mozart by this esteemed conductor and Mozart scholar. The book looks at his relationship to his mother and sister, his wife and her sisters and various women who were his prima donnas for his operas. A very easy and enjoyable read. With a perspective that is also very informative in overlooked ways. For example, she posits that given the list of singers for the first productions of Don Giovanni the lead female character is Zerlina, rather than Donna Anna.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    I’m not much of a nonfiction or biography reader, so this took some time getting used to. To be fair, this was interesting, I’m just not used to this type of writing. I think I now understand Mozart a little better, and for sure there are also some important lessons in parenting and self discipline! My heart went out to his sister Nannerl and the cards she was dealt with. Constance indeed was a formidable person in her own right.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Coleman

    I admire the effort it took to put this book together. I learned so much and it makes me want to read more biographies! My only complaint is the section "Mozart's women", the author really describes the plays in too much detail and it is so hard and boring to follow along. The author does great in the rest of the book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carol Wolski Pry

    If you know me, you KNOW why I read this!!! It was a fascinating account of Mozart's life through the eyes of his sister and his wife and her family. And in the last section, there was a whole part devoted to Constanze, his wife, and I learned alot about her. Excellent book for the Mozart enthusiast (like me!!!)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maxim

    As the name shows this book focuses on people around Mozart, especially women who were the bricks for composer's imaginative wall. You can find some interesting/unknown facts but don't expect too many things...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lissette

    I love anything about Mozart. A true gifted musician!

  24. 4 out of 5

    C

    I enjoyed the first half of this book. I personally wasn't as interested in the description of the music and what happened after his death.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elentarri

    Beautifully written biography of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an emphasis on the role played by the women in his life.   I can't really add anything more than what is included in the book description/ blurb repeated below.   Throughout his life, Mozart was inspired, fascinated, amused, aroused, hurt, disappointed and betrayed by women -- and he was equally complex to them. But, first and last, Mozart loved and respected women. His mother, his sister, his wife, her sisters, and his female patrons Beautifully written biography of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with an emphasis on the role played by the women in his life.   I can't really add anything more than what is included in the book description/ blurb repeated below.   Throughout his life, Mozart was inspired, fascinated, amused, aroused, hurt, disappointed and betrayed by women -- and he was equally complex to them. But, first and last, Mozart loved and respected women. His mother, his sister, his wife, her sisters, and his female patrons, friends, lovers and fellow artists all figure prominently in his life. And his experience, observation and understanding of women reappear, spectacularly, in the characters he created. As one of our finest interpreters of Mozart's work, Jane Glover is perfectly placed to bring these remarkable women -- both real and dramatized -- vividly to life. We meet Mozart's mother, Maria Anna, and his beloved and devoted sister, Nannerl, perhaps as talented as her brilliant brother but, owing to her sex, destined to languish at home while Wolfgang and their father entertained the drawing rooms of Europe. We meet, too, Mozart's "other family" -- his in-laws, the Webers: Constanze, his wife, much maligned by history, and her sisters, Aloysia, Sophie and Josefa. Aloysia and Josefa were highly talented singers for whom Mozart wrote some of his most remarkable music. Aloysia was the first woman whom Mozart truly and passionately loved, and her eventual rejection of him nearly broke his heart. Constanze, though a less gifted singer, proved a steadfast and loving wife and -- after Mozart's death -- his extremely efficient widow, consolidating his reputation and ensuring that his most enduring legacy, his music, never be forgotten.Mozart's Women is their story. But it is also the story of the women in his operas, all of whom were -- like his sister, his mother, his wife and his entire female acquaintance -- restrained by the conventions and strictures of eighteenth-century society. Yet through his glorious writing, he identified and released the emotions of his characters. Constanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail; Ilia and Elettra in Idomeneo; Susanna and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro; Donnas Anna and Elvira in Don Giovanni; Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Despina in Così fan tutte; Pamina and the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte: are all examined and celebrated. They hold up the mirror to their audiences and offer inestimable insight, together constituting yet further proof of Mozart's true genius and phenomenal understanding of human nature. Rich, evocative and compellingly readable, Mozart's Women illuminates the music and the man -- but, above all, the women who inspired him.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Vardit

    The latest installment in my Enlightenment biography kick (which also inclued The Librettist of Venice and Love and Louis XIV). I was raised on the Mozart legend and his music, so this book was a fun read full of familiar milestones: the touring prodigy and his sister, the rebellion against his father, the infatuations with the four Weber sisters (he married Constaza, but ended up writing some of his greatest soprano parts for Aloysia and Josefa),etc. Glover's narration (and lively-translated qu The latest installment in my Enlightenment biography kick (which also inclued The Librettist of Venice and Love and Louis XIV). I was raised on the Mozart legend and his music, so this book was a fun read full of familiar milestones: the touring prodigy and his sister, the rebellion against his father, the infatuations with the four Weber sisters (he married Constaza, but ended up writing some of his greatest soprano parts for Aloysia and Josefa),etc. Glover's narration (and lively-translated quotations from letters and memoirs) make you feel as though you've really gotten to know the women in Wolfgang's life, as well as Wolfgang, Leopold and the arts and politics of 18C Vienna and Saltzburg. In many ways, this interpersonal style of biography is the best way to get to know an historical figure; so much can be learned from the company they kept. In a surprising twist, Glover reaches Mozart's death only about two-thirds of the way through the book. She devotes the last part of the book to the female characters in Mozart's operas. Some of these descriptions are excellent musical analyses of Mozart's musical portrait painting, some is simply Glover cheering for soprano and mezzo roles that require more than a few vocal flourishes. My only real complaint lies with Glover's depiction of Nannerl. Every time she appears, Glover lays on the feminist tragedy with a heavy hand, reminding the reader of her ignored talents in the manner of Shakespeare's Sister in A Room of One's Own. It's true that Nannerl was never given the opportunities that Mozart was (and she had to put up with pere Leopold for much longer), but she didn't seem to pity herself and Glover shouldn't either.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    An amazing biography of a musical genius. Wolfgang Mozart's immediate family consisted of his domineering autocratic father, Leopold, his mother, Maria Anna, and his talented older sister, Maria Anna AKA Nannerl. Leopold was a ranking musician in the Archbishopric Court in Salzberg and taught his children. In their preteen and early teen years the two children performed for many of the courts in Europe and many of Wolfgang's earlier compositions were written with her in mind. Unfortunately, as N An amazing biography of a musical genius. Wolfgang Mozart's immediate family consisted of his domineering autocratic father, Leopold, his mother, Maria Anna, and his talented older sister, Maria Anna AKA Nannerl. Leopold was a ranking musician in the Archbishopric Court in Salzberg and taught his children. In their preteen and early teen years the two children performed for many of the courts in Europe and many of Wolfgang's earlier compositions were written with her in mind. Unfortunately, as Nannerl reached her later teens she was shunted aside in many respects. Other women became part of Wolfgang's life, especially the Weber sisters for whom her wrote several pieces. First falling in love with Aloysia, the eldest, apparently mutual at first but she ignored him after he was absent for several months. Constanze, a younger sister became his bride and eventually his oft maligned widow. However, it is she that really made sure his works were not forgotten. There is a rather long section called "Mozart's Women" that is mainly about his music and the female characters he portrayed and the women that played those parts. Mozart's real genius was in writing the music for the singer because he knew their abilities. Sometimes he would re-write the music for different performances because the cast was different. Many of Mozart's operatic works are discussed with the plots being laid out. What I found most interesting in this part was the author's descriptions of Mozart's use of music to mimic and enhance the vocal performance by the casts. Partially a biography of Mozart, it is also a biography of the women in his life and his relations with them.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    The angle of this Mozart biography is Mozart through the women in his life. Along with Mozart’s life, it details the lives of his mother Maria Anna Mozart, his sister Maria Anna “Nannerl” Mozart, his wife Constanza Weber Mozart, and his wife’s sisters Josefa, Aloysia, and Sophie. When Mozart dies on page 181, the book carries on for another 200 pages, launching into a lengthy discussion of the music Mozart composed specifically for female roles and voices as well as music performed by female mus The angle of this Mozart biography is Mozart through the women in his life. Along with Mozart’s life, it details the lives of his mother Maria Anna Mozart, his sister Maria Anna “Nannerl” Mozart, his wife Constanza Weber Mozart, and his wife’s sisters Josefa, Aloysia, and Sophie. When Mozart dies on page 181, the book carries on for another 200 pages, launching into a lengthy discussion of the music Mozart composed specifically for female roles and voices as well as music performed by female musicians before returning to conclude the lives of Nannerl and Constanza. An index, selected bibliography, and a notes and sources section are also included. The book is divided into four parts with a prelude (pages 1 to 8) and a postlude (pages 373 to 374). Part 1 is Mozart’s Family (pages 9 to 98), which discusses Mozart’s mother and sister. Part 2 is Mozart’s Other Family (pages 99 to 182), which discusses Mozart’s wife, her sisters, and her mother as well as many female opera singers in Vienna. Part 3 is Mozart’s Women (pages 183 to 308). This section gives its name to the biography and is the meatiest. It is also eye-glazing for the lay reader who has little formal musical training and cannot follow all the various executions, performances, and interpretations of Mozart’s musical canon. Part 3 can be skipped without missing much Mozart biography. Part 4 is After Mozart (pages 309 to 372), which wraps up the lives of Constanza and Nannerl.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brian Schweitzer

    This is a quite frustrating book. The premise is great; a biography for the various women closest to Mozart during his life. Unfortunately, this book fails to deliver. The middle two sections - "Mozart's Other Family" and "Mozart's Women" - compromise over half of the book. Between them, they cover a biography of Mozart, and detailed summaries/discussions his operas, including pseudo-psychoanalysis of the thoughts and motivations of his female characters. Especially during this latter section, ma This is a quite frustrating book. The premise is great; a biography for the various women closest to Mozart during his life. Unfortunately, this book fails to deliver. The middle two sections - "Mozart's Other Family" and "Mozart's Women" - compromise over half of the book. Between them, they cover a biography of Mozart, and detailed summaries/discussions his operas, including pseudo-psychoanalysis of the thoughts and motivations of his female characters. Especially during this latter section, many statements made are simply the author's opinions and assumptions, and have no factual basis. As for the biographies, Maria Anna, Aloysia, Sophie, and Josefa are each only briefly handled. The book's description of each is too literally true - we "meet" them, but we never get to know them, as one would expect from a book such as this one. Nannerl, while frequently mentioned, is always viewed only at a distance; there is far too little detail about her. With the exception of Constanze, any of the female characters in Mozart's operas felt as though she received more coverage than any of the women who actually lived within Mozart's scope. I would agree with another reviewer here; if you read this, skip the entire 3rd ("Mozart's Women") section.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan Conklin

    Glover honors the women in Mozart's life in this very detailed read that begins with the history of the Mozart family for the first half, then delves in detail about the women surrounding the genius. Nunnery Mozart, the sister, co-wrote much of Mozart's works when they were children and she performed along side him often accompanied by their father. Constant, Mozart's wife was, evidently just the mate he needed throughout their marriage and it was after he died at age 35 that her influence reall Glover honors the women in Mozart's life in this very detailed read that begins with the history of the Mozart family for the first half, then delves in detail about the women surrounding the genius. Nunnery Mozart, the sister, co-wrote much of Mozart's works when they were children and she performed along side him often accompanied by their father. Constant, Mozart's wife was, evidently just the mate he needed throughout their marriage and it was after he died at age 35 that her influence really kicked in. Then there were the singers, the women who masterfully gave voice to all those lines and dots on page and honored Mozart with beautiful notes. Interesting as well, was a look at the man/child not as a raving maniac as we've seen portrayed in movies, but as a patient and caring composer who adapted his music to singers abilities even if they didn't live up to the original intent of the work. There's more: Royal history and in depth looks at how life was in Mozart's time. Privileged as he was, there never was enough money to live as one would think someone with such talent should.

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