Musical Genius: A Story about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Illustrations by Janet Hamlin
Ages 8 to 12
Lerner, 2004, 1-57505-637-2
Mozart began to take an interest in music from a very early age. He was able to write music before he really knew the alphabet and drove his mother to distraction writing numbers all over the walls of their home. When he was only five Mozart began to play a child sized violin for the first time and he did so without instruction at first. He father quickly accepted that his little son had a skill far beyond the ordinary and being a man who believed in taking advantage of a situation when it presented itself, he decided to show off his son accompanied by Mozart's musical but less gifted elder sister Nannerl.
The two children toured all over Europe and even went to perform for the British royal family. Wherever they went they were feted and received with great acclaim, given great praise and gifts. Needless to say Mozart became a little arrogant and conceited after receiving all this attention and it was hard for him, as a young man, to adjust to being a humble "servant" for the archbishop of Salzburg. It was a situation that did not suit him and that did not allow him to compose as he wished.
In the end Mozart struck out on his own and it was only later in his life that he was granted a much coveted position as imperial court composer for Emperor Joseph II. He always had to struggle when it came to money and when he died his means were so meagre that his wife was not even able to afford a grave marker for her famous husband.
This complete biography for young readers goes a long way to show us the genius that lay at the heart of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It also shows the reader that though he had a great gift, there was much sadness in the young man's life. He must have felt a great loss when his father and sister turned their backs on him and the rift that existed between Mozart and his family was never repaired. Furthermore, we discover at the end of the book that Mozart's name did not last as his children did not have children of their own. His legacy truly was his music and it was gift which he gave the world.
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