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3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  392 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Realistic, moving, engrossing and positively brilliant, this first American biography of the 18th century composer re-created Mozart--the man and his music--against the back ground of the he lived in
Paperback, 400 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by Barnes & Noble (first published January 1st 1932)
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(showing 1-30)
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Terrol Williams
While I really enjoyed this book, I have a sneaking suspicion that it played fast and loose with Mozart's life. The writer, in an effort, I suppose, to make it more true-to-life and perhaps more enjoyable reading, wrote this in kind of a novel-ish way, embellishing all kinds of situations with characters' grimaces, groans, exclamations, pacing back and forth, etc. These could hardly have been part of the historical record, so I spent too much time wondering, "Where did she get that? Can that be ...more
Ellen Fetu
Jan 02, 2015 Ellen Fetu rated it it was amazing
Wow. What an incredible book. I could begin rereading immediately! that she wrote this in 1932 and was a person familiar with Europe, the languages, the places of Mozart's life, makes it even better. This book should be required reading for every student of Music. It is all-encompassing and leaves the reader with such a picture of this genius' life, and his music, even if there are certainly minor liberties taken with dialogue. The "painting" of real life, that of nobility and peasant, in 18th c ...more
May 02, 2008 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone!
this book is in my top ten of all time.
however it was NOT published in 1995 - but in 1932. don't know where that other info comes from.
it's challenging at times- marcia davenport often deviates into a foreign tongue without explanation, for instance. but never before have i felt like i was walking, if not in the shoes of, right behind the character in question. at least, not this vividly. i could see the buildings and sights ms. davenport describes as mozart and his father walk down the road -
James Biser
Jan 06, 2016 James Biser rated it really liked it
This book is a very good biography. I like it because it does not romanticize the rumors or imagined stories told about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Instead, it reports facts about his life and tells a more "black and white" story about how he grew and lived his life. I do not mean to say it ignores facts about infidelity or problems with his sanity, it just reports his life and actions.
This is a great biography.
Aug 30, 2011 IziEzi rated it liked it
I'm not sure that this is actually the specific biography that I read, but the description of the book leads me to believe that it could be. I no longer have the book. I read a biography of Mozart after being infatuated with the movie Amadeus, curious how much of the movie was true to his real life.
Pamela Hawley
Oct 31, 2014 Pamela Hawley rated it really liked it
Excellent, alive, vibrant, informative. She extrapolates on Mozart's characters and reactions and situations a bit. Very engaging.
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Sep 05, 2016 Sharon Barrow Wilfong rated it really liked it
Davenport wrote this biography in 1931 when the style was to dramatize rather than simply supply information. I understand the thinking behind this method of biography. It is an attempt to make the subject real to the reader. So we have descriptions of Mozart smirking here, stamping his foot impatiently there, as well as several imagined conversations that might have taken place with his friends and family.

Like the movie, Amadeus, which I enjoyed, it creates a life like image of a historical fig
Mar 06, 2008 Julie rated it liked it
I thought it would be interesting to learn about good ole Mozart. This is a well written biography-- Mozart had an interesting life. I really did not like his father when all was said and done. If he were to live in today's world, his father would be a classic "Hollywood" parent. Mozart had a brilliant mind but was exploited in every way by those who wanted to gain from his talent. His father was so controlling and very manipulative. Davenport uses letters sent between the two to illustrate this ...more
Oct 19, 2012 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Like others, I enjoyed this biography, though I see that she perpetuated, perhaps codified, many of the myths of Mozart that are now disputed. Nevertheless, Marcia Davenport gives a clear and lively portrait of Mozart's comings and goings-- it's a good place to start to understand the life of such a remarkable genius.

Rather than the blow by blow of where he went and what he did, however,I wish Marcia Davenport had used the many letters Mozart and his family wrote to try to analyze Mozart's crea
Apr 11, 2013 Breena rated it really liked it
Highly entertaining and informative. I always enjoy a good historical read to put composers lives in perspective.

Good enough that I listened to it a second time through! I would not have enjoyed living in that time period! He left his mother by herself in a strange city all thank you. Dark, dank, dirty. bleh Travel arrangements and communication are so slow! I would hate having to rely on the generosity of someone else to determine how much I would get paid for a job after its done.
Jul 25, 2011 Serenella rated it really liked it
I have been a huge fan of Mozart's music for many years, but this is the first biography of his that I've read, so I don't have others to compare it to. However, I liked it, the author's style is pleasant and fat-free and his life was interesting and seemed well researched. It's kind of revolting that he had so little appreciation during his life, I thought things had been a little bit better for him in terms of renown if not financially, but such is life. I did not like his father though. All i ...more
Greg Z
Jul 04, 2015 Greg Z rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
In her foreword, Marcia Davenport tells us: "I can only say that I offer neither a romance nor a text-book. I have tried to tell the truth." Did Mozart actually think, when meeting the infamous Casanova, "...was it possible? Could...those blazing eyes belong to anyone else? Never, impossible!" Well, why not? It's hard to believe that within his own lifetime, Mozart found little fame and even less fortune. He took a beating from the world, and it seems that ultimately, sadly, he just gave up. But ...more
Jun 09, 2009 Rosemary rated it it was amazing
This is the definitive book on his life to read. His genius is so rare that even the best musicians and composers can't compare themselves to him. His life was truly gifted and unusual and some of the music he himself wrote he looked down on because it kept him from writing what he dreamed of . . . opera.
He died at 35 but left lots of the world's best music.
Mar 08, 2016 Honoka rated it it was amazing
I like music and listen to classic music.
The book is written more detail about his life.
I changed his image through the book.
I recommend people who like classic music. You will like more Mozart.
Kirk Bullough
Jan 02, 2015 Kirk Bullough rated it liked it
This book was a good look at the life of Mozart. The dialog bothered me a little. The author seems to make up some of it. I went away thinking what a pity it was that such an amazing composer struggled so hard to make a living.
Sep 28, 2014 Stephen rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I haven't read this for decades, but recall it as lively with a Mozartian wit. She wrote something like "in the meantime it had been discovered that Wolfgang could play the violin." Surely there are bigger and more scholarly books, but this is more than good enough for openers.
I both enjoyed this book and found it hard to get through at the same time. The writing style is a bit odd to me, because at times it reads like it wants to be historical fiction and then others it reads like a biography.

Allen Rizzi
Jun 14, 2016 Allen Rizzi rated it it was amazing
This is an essential book in order to understand the mind and times of Mozart. Even if you don't care for classical music, you will find this book interesting.
Michael W.
Aug 31, 2007 Michael W. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Classical music fans
Shelves: biography-read
Davenport's clear and honest portrait of Mozart debunks many of the myths surrounding the composer's life and death, many of them hyped in the film 'Amadeus'.
Apr 23, 2013 Hope rated it really liked it
I liked this bio of Mozart. Marcia Davenport does a good job. Lots of actual letters. More about the man, not so much about the actual music.
Mike Bruce
May 08, 2016 Mike Bruce rated it really liked it
Recommended for anyone who wants to learn more about Mozart's life and music, and not just what was depicted in Amadeus (hint: Salieri did not kill Mozart).
Feb 01, 2009 K. rated it really liked it
Started out good, getting annoyed with the author's dorky writing. Had high hopes for some culture here, but it's going to be a trial to finish. . .
Jan 03, 2014 Christy rated it it was amazing
Realistic, moving, engrossing and positively brilliant, this first American biography of the 18th century composer re-created Mozart--the man and his music--against the back ground of the he lived in
Michael Kubat
Nov 29, 2012 Michael Kubat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable work by a noted author. I was a little disappointed with her treatment of Mozart's wife, the "silly Stanzi." I thought she deserved better than that.
Mightor rated it it was amazing
Dec 17, 2012
Spencer Kashmanian
Spencer Kashmanian rated it liked it
Jun 01, 2015
Shannon Ellsworth
Shannon Ellsworth rated it really liked it
Feb 16, 2016
Katherine rated it really liked it
Jul 31, 2011
Jul 28, 2012 Jody rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever enjoyed! Well-written, and not boring like biographies can be....
John Angle
John Angle rated it really liked it
Jan 15, 2008
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American author and music critic. She was born Marcia Glick, daughter of Bernard Glick and opera singer Alma Gluck, later stepdaughter of violinist Efrem Zimbalist when Alma Gluck remarried.

Davenport traveled extensively with her parents and was educated intermittently at the Friends School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Shipley School at Bryn Mawr. She began at Wellesley College but elope
More about Marcia Davenport...

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