Mozart's Last Aria
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Mozart's Last Aria

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3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  942 ratings  ·  220 reviews
The news arrives in a letter to his sister, Nannerl, in December 1791. But the message carries more than word of Nannerl’s brother’s demise. Two months earlier, Mozart confided to his wife that his life was rapidly drawing to a close . . . and that he knew he had been poisoned.

In Vienna to pay her final respects, Nannerl soon finds herself ensnared in a web of suspicion an...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Harper Perennial (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Amanda
Never has the structure of a novel felt more important than in Mozart's Last Aria. Matt Rees takes the essence of Mozart's music to weave a plot that showcases musical genius alongside a desperately paranoid and rather naive young man, who just wanted to introduce equality to all levels of society. Rees starts with a difficult opening - as Nannerl hears about her estranged brother's death and starts to learn that he believed he was being murdered through slow poisoning. The central portion of th...more
Aimee
The story begins with Nannerl, Mozart's sister, receiving a letter telling her Mozart is dead. In the letter written by Mozart's wife Nannerl discovers that Mozart had been afraid that he would die soon from poisoning for the last few months. Nannerl goes to Vienna to pay her last respects and to uncover the mystery of what really happened to her brother.

I had such high hopes for this book, I adore Mozart and enjoy playing his pieces on the piano, but I did not enjoy this story at all. The main...more
Alla
In “Mozart’s last aria,” Matt Rees takes the real-life historical mystery of Mozart’s murder, and uses real-life facts and characters to present a possible solution to the case.

In the early 1790s, Europe is facing some major problems. The French Revolution is going on in France. Prussia and Austria are sworn enemies. And Mozart loses his life in mysterious circumstances, suspecting poisoning. Mozart’s story kicks off when his sister, Nannerl, is dying and gives Mozart’s son the diary she kept. U...more
Kristen
There's a blurb on the back, surprisingly, from NPR: "The Da Vinci Code, but this time with Masons and musical manuscripts." Pretty sure they read a different book than I did.

I wanted very much to like this, honestly. But some of the plot points weren't very believable, the choice of words in conversations (If you were talking about your brother, would you always use his name, or occasionally refer to him as, well, "him"? Particularly in a conversation where his name is mentioned a number of tim...more
Carol
Mozart believed that he was poisoned weeks before he died. Upon hearing of his death, his sister Nannerl travels to his home in Vienna. Whatever Freemason directive he tried to promote may have been the cause of his death. ("The Magic Flute" plays a very important role and has a lot of secrets hidden within its score.) Nannerl stops at nothing to find his killer. Enjoying Mozart's music, discussions of 18th Century music performance and descriptions of daily life in Vienna of the time. (Historic...more
Andi Winterfield
A brilliantly written, fast paced novel about the mysterious and untimely death of Mozart. I love the novel's focus on Mozart's overlooked older sister, Nannerl. Her character is beautifully written and thoroughly researched. I am absolutely in love with this book.
Patricia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael
I really enjoyed Matt Rees writing style. He uses very clear prose that is reminiscent of Orwell. I also really appreciated his knowledge and use of musical terms that, while adding something for those who understand what he's talking about, doesn't take away from those uninitiated in the study of music.

The story is a great concept. However, it's execution is a bit sloppy. All of the male characters, around whom the plot regarding W. A. Mozart's death revolves, are flat and uninteresting. Even N...more
Deidre
I'm going to be a bit harsh in the review, but I can't really help it.. I was too disappointed. I really wanted to give this more stars than three. Honestly, if I could be more accurate, I'd give it three and a half. But since I can't give it that extra half, I had to round down, and give it three.

Big reason for rounding down: The fluffy writing. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy fluff. I like it in my pillows, on my dog, and under my butt when I'm driving. But I don't enjoy excessive fluffy, sensatio...more
Pamela Kramer
Mozart's Last Aria by Matt Rees is a combination historical fiction/mystery novel. This is not your run-of-the-mill pot-boiler, though. It's much more complex --and even rather magical.

Readers will be surprised to see a different Mozart when seen through the letter his sister, Maria Anna (affectionately known as Nannerl), writes so that the truth might be known about her brother's death.

The story opens when Nannerl is dying. Mozart's son, Leopold, soon reads the letter he finds that Nannerl wrot...more
Sara
As someone who eagerly eats up practically any Mozart-related book, I was eager to read this mystery about his death narrated by Nannerl, his sister. This book intrigued me in particular because, while most fictional Mozart books paint Nannerl as the "lost sister" whose greatness was overshadowed by her brother (a conception which in my opinion does not need 500 books and movies devoted to it), this book took a new approach and had Nannerl investigating the events of Mozart's death.

The Good: Ree...more
Michelle
With nine years of participating in an award-winning wind ensemble under my belt, I have a huge affinity for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his works. I've visited Salzburg several times, toured the house in which he was born, and have watched the movie Amadeus more times than I probably should admit. When offered the chance to review a novel about Mozart's mysterious demise, there was no hesitation on my part; I felt I was meant to read this book. I mention this because my knowledge of and feeling...more
Tuck
really neat story of how/why mozart died so young, set in 1790's vienna. his older sister, nannerl goes to the city to vist her widowed sister-in-law and maybe figure out why he died so suddenly and why he claimed he was poisoned/murdered. the book is set up like mozart's music with the pieces ebbing into discord, then coming back into a sort of harmony, then to be started again. benyon rees has written other mysteries based in modern palastine so he has a good mystery here. and though nannerl s...more
Staci
Dec 08, 2011 Staci rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Staci by: TLC Book Tours
Shelves: tlc-tour-2011
First thoughts after I finished: "I want to read more about Nannerl!"

I love books that make me feel as if I have a front row seat to the story and this one delivered in that aspect in every way. I love historical fiction, especially when the author finds such an interesting and real life person such as Nannerl. I hate to admit the fact that I didn't even realize that Mozart had a sister! My heart hurt for her knowing how much she sacrificed over the years. Her father forced her to put her own lo...more
Georgette
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart passes away. His sister, miles away and estranged from him, receives a diary of his that leads her to believe he was poisoned. She travels miles to his home and becomes embroiled in startling political intrigue involving the Knights of Templar, forbidden romance, and her own quest for forgiveness for not reconciling with her brother before his death. It was a good read, however, the lead character seems disconnected from the plot throughout the book. It's very hard to buy...more
Carey Combe
I found this tremendously disappointing. I love Matt Rees' other books set in Palestine and this was a whole new departure. I think I may have enjoyed it a lot more had I had an appreciation of Mozart's later music and the philosophy behind it. But as it was, I found the characters wooden, unbelievable and full of clichés, while the story was pretty weak.
Valerie Stegman
Nov 05, 2011 Valerie Stegman marked it as to-read
I think I just want to read it because of the awesome dress on the front cover! No, I'm not shallow.
Juliet Waldron

Cross-genre novels used to be “unpublishable,” but no more. Mozart’s Last Aria could be defined as historical mystery laced with strong threads of fantasy, paranormal and otherwise. This elegantly written and thoroughly researched crime story of 18th Century Vienna has many beauties despite the fact that the main character, Madame Maria Anna Berchtold von Sonnenburg, a.k.a. Mozart’s sister, is completely unbelievable in the role of bold detective. The murder to be solved is, as the title indicat...more
Stacia
I finished Mozart's Last Aria by Matt Rees. Overall, I liked it fairly well & think it would appeal to fans of historical fiction &/or Mozart fans. It would probably also appeal to those who have enjoyed Dan Brown's book as it's a bit similar in style (Masons, secret symbols, influential men, etc...).

Rees included some really lovely little touches & details that made the historic setting shine (emerald green wine; the many times that church bells ring in the city; ...). I found some...more
Jennie
I am seriously drawn to books with fancy dresses on the covers. This is odd for one reason – I hate to wear dresses. I find it interesting that something I despise in my own life attracts me so much in what I read.

This book drew me in from the first page. The setting was rich in detail and color with characters that I connected with immediately. My favorite aspect of historical fiction novels is experiencing a time so long ago - this novel provides that aspect perfectly. I felt like I was droppe...more
Tim
Sep 15, 2012 Tim rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction
I love Mozart's music and have read a bit about his life. And the book is mystery, so it sounded like fun. It wasn't.

My biggest issue with the writing was the portrayal of emotions. The author would tell us that someone was feeling a particular emotion and my response was often, "Really?". I didn't get it from way events were told. It just seemed out of the blue when the author was say "So-and-so felt rapturous." Just being told it doesn't work for me; I want it to shown. I want to have the pict...more
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
In October 1791 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the greatest musical genius the world has ever seen, told his wife he had been poisoned. Six weeks later, at the age of thirty-five, he was dead.

In the latest novel by Matt Rees, Mozart's Last Aria is comprised of musical literature intertwined with the news that Mozart's sister, Nannerl hears about his death. Her entire world as she has known it collaspes with the news of her brother's death and she resolves to find out what happened to him. Her only clu...more
Kim
Enchanting reader via audiobook!

I'm not sure that I would have enjoyed this novel as much if I had read the written version. The content was repetitive and dull at times; but as I always say - a great reader can enhance any mediocre book & IMHO that is the case here.

The reader of the audiobook version was entirely, well, interesting - is the best way I can think to put it. Weirdest voice I've ever heard bordering on uni-gendered (not sure if that's a true word but you know my meaning...boy...more
Verena
Why and how did Mozart die at the age of 35? Was he poisoned as he was convinced he was? These questions could make an intriguing mystery, and I hoped this novel would fulfill my expectations. But I was disappointed in the story told by Mozart’s sister who, when she received the notice of her brother’s untimely death, traveled from her home in a provincial mountain town to Vienna to find out the truth. The brother and sister had been estranged for many years, and Maria Anna Mozart had to deal wi...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Even though this book has elements that I just eat up -- a take-charge heroine, unique foreign setting, weird conspiracy involving a secret society, dramatic artists, and lots of intrigue -- I actually found this to be an unremarkable novel. The book isn't bad -- it's just rather pedestrian. At 295 pages, it ought to be a fast read but weirdly, the story drags despite the non-stop action.

The novel is written in the first person which is normally a voice I rather like -- I enjoy 'being' the hero...more
Vivienne

Very enjoyable historical mystery featuring Wolfgang’s sister Nannerl. I knew nothing about her before reading this novel and so was grateful to Matt Rees both for providing me with an entertaining few hours seeped in late 18th century Vienna as well as increasing my knowledge of the Mozart family; their work and legacy.

As with most historical mysteries, Rees has specualted using known historical facts and imaginative leaps to 'solve' the mystery of Wolfgang's death. He also explores the sense o...more
Kate Forsyth
The blurb for this book begins: “Six weeks ago, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart told his wife he had been poisoned. Yesterday, he died.” The heroine is Mozart’s sister Nannerl, who has been estranged from him for years. However, hearing of her brother’s death, she travels to Vienna to investigate. Soon she finds herself caught up in secret Masonic plots, her life in danger. I really enjoyed this book. It’s a little like The Da Vinci Code in some ways, with its emphasis on secret societies and symbolic c...more
Rachel
As a singer, and as a Mozart lover, I wanted badly to like this book. I gazed at it a few times before starting in the way you gaze at a particularly luscious chocolate just before eating it. But it failed to deliver. The notion that Mozart did not die of natural causes is not a new one, and should have been a gift to an author. But the spoiler came too early in the book. And the character of Nannerl, Mozart's sister, never felt real to me. In the end it was like that garishly wrapped but ultima...more
Phil
Make that 4.5 stars. Rees has taken known facts of Mozart's life and times and constructed a fine "mystery" surrounding the circumstances of Mozart's death. While he definitely took perhaps too many liberties, as he explained in an Afterword. A knowledge of Mozart's life and times, and his opera, The Magic Flute definitely add texture to the narrative. The plot, founded on a conspiracy, is as straight and direct as a corkscrew.
RuthG
Rees has captured the politics, customs, and manners of the time in his novel about the death/murder of Mozart. Although the story itself is fiction, many people and events featured in the book were real. I liked the way he used the music as a way to carry the story along to its conclusion and found his solution to the mystery very believable. It was definitely well worth reading.
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8063
I'm an award-winning crime novelist--mysteries, thrillers, and historical fiction. My first novel (about Palestinian sleuth Omar Yussef) won the UK Crime Writers Association New Blood Dagger. I've written historical novels about the mysterious deaths of the composer Mozart and Caravaggio, the Italian artist. I'm working on a thriller series about a US agent. Set in New York, which is where my wife...more
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