Patricia's Reviews > Mozart's Last Aria

Mozart's Last Aria by Matt Rees
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's review
Sep 08, 13

bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read from December 06 to 20, 2011

** spoiler alert ** As I started to read the book, I was so excited about winning on Goodreads, I was hoping for a story of intrigue and suspense, but overall, that was not the case. Reading MOZART'S LAST ARIA was like listening to a piece of music whose notes did not venture beyond the lines of the musical staff. E-G-B-D-F over and over again. When the story yearned to go into a high G, the composer dragged it down an octave. When the story started going into a low D, the same thing occurred and I was left feeling flat and disappointed watching the dynamics of this piece fall apart. I was also left uninspired more often than not and at some point hoped that this aria would reach its curtain call.

When this composition ended, I was left wondering what the point of the story was---was it a family love story, a murder mystery, an equality for all story, or a romantic love story? As far as all the politics involved in the story---I got all that and understand why Mozart had to die and who all the players were, and why they all did what they did,--revolution, Masonic link, divine right of kings being questioned by Masonic equality etc, but it wasn't enough for me to feel that this story was fulfilling.

I think the main problem is that the main character Mozart's sister, Nannerl, is played as flat as a child barely learning to play an instrument. Until that child learns how to play each note properly, there is no way they can bring expression to the music they play. While it is evident that the composer of this story is an avid fan of Mozart, as a reader I never felt myself pulled into caring about Mozart and his death as much as the composer of this work does. Mozart was a composer and a brilliant one at that, but as much as the writer mentioned one piece of his work as another, I never felt Mozart. He was a whole note----a circle with no center. The story surrounds him, but his heart is absent. The ending--Nannerl dying with the necklace given to her by the Baron left me feeling validated in not caring about Mozart's death--at the end she seemed to remember her loss of the Baron more than that of her brother whose death had originally taken her to Vienna. To top that off, the romance centering on the love between Nannerl and the Baron was really really lacking in romance and love--it felt like it was tossed in there for good measure and nothing more. Lack of development of the main characters, lack of development of important parts of the story left me feeling like I had just listened to the lyrics in Yanni's Aria* instead of "The Magic Flute" by Mozart, which is a very important part of this story.

* About Yanni's Aria: The music is loosely based on the French opera from the 19th century called 'Lakme' by Leo Delibes, but Yanni didn't use actual words in the song -- they are vocal expressions or sounds made with singing voices. I'm aware of some the sounds seem like words -- especially French words -- but they aren't... at least, probably not intentionally.

I really like the premise of this story and overall it is a decent read. Unfortunately, it falls flat in two big ways----flat characters and flat story development--too much fluff and not enough stuff. Perhaps a little less Mozart (relating everything to his music and piano playing) would have given this story more depth, more Nannerl, more romance, more love, and in the end, more Mozart as well.
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Reading Progress

12/07/2011 page 51
16.0% "Mozart's son has been giving his Aunt Nannerl's diary by his elderly Aunt Nannerl who reveals that it has information about his untimely death. Masons, The Magic Flute, and death by poisoning enter the story as the diary highlight's Nannerl's visit to her brother's last residence to find comfort and to investigate his death. I stop with the number 18 and some dumplings to ponder over..."
12/12/2011 page 51
16.0% "I've decided to backtrack just a little on this novel. I found a library book that has information "The Magic Flute." It isn't a lot to read, so I'm going to go ahead and read it first before I keep reading this book. Shouldn't take too long..."
12/16/2011 page 87
27.0% "It was really easy to fall back into reading Mozart's Last Aria. I was left in a wow moment when I read, "but after all no one knew as well as I how lost my brother's spirit had appeared to be---nor how strongly it had returned to me." I could sense the rush of music and sentiment in Nannerl and it was really a sweet moment."
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