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My Dearest Father

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  473 ratings  ·  77 reviews
'They wanted me to give a concert; I wanted them to beg me. And so they did. I gave a concert.'

A selection of personal correspondence between Mozart and his most important mentor and supporter, his father.

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books fr
Paperback, Little Black Classics #51, 64 pages
Published February 26th 2015 by Penguin Classics (first published 1791)
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Sean Barrs
I’ve been avoiding this edition, along with several others, for a while now. Simply because I knew that I wouldn’t like it before I even read it. I’m endeavouring to review everything in this collection, so I gritted my teeth and pressed on. I don’t directly dislike this, but I certainly didn’t enjoy reading it. I think Mozart’s writing will appeal to a very small minority of people; it will not be interesting to those that like his music, but only to those that love it so much that they want to ...more
"Well, if it must be so, then let it be so. But I must ask you at the outset not to rejoice or grive prematurely; for whatever happens, all is well as long as we remain healthy; for happiness consists -- simply in our imagination."
- W.A. Mozart, letter to his father 29 Nov 1777

"I was third voice, but I made up some very different words, for example, O you prick, lick my arse. Sotto voce to my cousin."
- W.A. Mozart, letter to his father 17 Oct 1777


Vol N° 51 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a very enjoyable if personal look at Mozart.


1) Spend until 3am putting together a playlist based on the dates for each letter.

2) Find a country lane, lake or loch and walk along listening to the music while reading.

What was interesting is how the music reflects the content of the letters. INCREDIBLE!
For me Mozart has always been the equivelent to a rock musician and here it is confirmed. In one of the letters he describes how in a bit of a drunken state he sang one
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not being a fan of Mozart at all, I didn't expect to like this collection of letters between him and his father. I was very much taken by surprise. Some of the things they write about are mundane, mainly the issue of financing and money, but I actually kind of enjoyed that too. I really felt like I got a glimpse into their lives. And the last letters about Mozart's mother's death actually moved me quite a bit. I was actually considering if I'd enjoy reading a whole collection of their letters (b ...more
Michelle Curie
No matter how little you might care about classical music, you will probably still agree with me when I say that Mozart was a genius. Full stop. With someone who has become so much of a legend it's easy to forget that he was still just a guy - silly, sometimes irresponsible. These letters are a fun reminder.

I'm surprised these letters were publicized as part of this series, as I wouldn't consider them literature per se. They will appeal to people who are interested in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as
Aug 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jenny by: ☽•☾-Grimalkin-☽•☾
This book is very pleasant to read. I’m a huge fan of Mozart’s music, but other than the play and movie Amadeus, I’ve never read or seen anything about Mozart’s life. I enjoyed reading these letters between him and his father from 1777-1778. I wish there were more, though!! I love the way the father and son interact with each other, the way they share gossip and information about people they both know, the way Leopold scolds Wolfgang (lovingly) and the way Wolfgang defends himself but also remai ...more
Joey Woolfardis
"My son, to find one man in 1000 who is your true friend for reasons other than self-interest is one of the greatest wonders of this world."

This Little Black Classic is made up of a collection of letters between the German composer Mozart and his father, Leopold. They are humorous and shattering at the same time, but mostly I found them to be a little dull, though I think the dullness adds to the reality of it all. A lovely insight in to the life of a young man and his career and family, but not
Rather mediocre, really. Turns out, Mozart wasn't an impressive correspondent. ...more
No matter who you are, be it prince or pauper, your parents will worry about you, and treat you like a child.
That's the assumption I made from reading these letters. Leopold genuinely worried for his son Wolfgang but at the same time put huge responsibilities onto his shoulders and it seems that Wolfgang just wanted his independence.
I just wish that there could have been more letters and a wider variety of conversations and events.
A must read for all classical music fans!
Jun 15, 2020 marked it as to-read
The German composer Mozart was apparently very fond of his immediate family, he wrote numerous letters to his sister and to his father, all of which give us a sense of what this giant of the Classical music was like. I am very happy that penguin did a short edition of some of his letters to his father, an edition that can fit in your pocket and be taken out easily at any time to refresh yourself with morsels of Mozart's life through his eyes. ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
These letters, written by Mozart and his father, Leopold Mozart, between October 1777 and July 1778, are surprisingly engrossing. At the time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was about twenty-one or twenty-two and he, accompanied by his mother, was traveling to various cities in western Europe looking for employment while his father and sister held down the fort in Salzburg. The letters begin prosaically enough, with shop talk and frivolous banter from Wolfgang and anxious nagging about money from his f ...more
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
This was a short book about some of the letters that were interchanged between Wolfgang and his dad Leopold. It was an interesting little insight into the life that the genius lived and some of the places that he travelled to. One of the things that really bugged me about the book was the relentless focus on money that his father had. Every letter was full of how much Mozart was spending (he was around 22 at the time) and how he was throwing away all the money that he himself and his dad had put ...more
Dane Cobain
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was mostly interesting because of the relationship that Mozart had with his father, which is expressed here in the letters that they sent to each other. It gets sad when it covers his mother’s death.

Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A collection of letters written by Mozart and his father to each other. A great insight into Mozart's life and a quick little read. ...more
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I think i simply do not like reading correspondence... but it was an easy read before bed so yay
As a Music undergraduate student, this particular book had interest on lots of different levels for me. Of course I've been told lots about Mozart's music, and bits and pieces about his life, but these letters really give an insight into who Mozart was, his personality, and his priorities. We have a tendency to imagine composers as highly mature, intelligent people who spend their lives sitting at a piano and dedicating their lives to producing as high a quality of art as they possibly can, but ...more
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very gripping and thoughtful series of letters that gave me a glimpse into the characters of Mozart and his father. Mozart seemed to be an intelligent and thoughtful individual with a bit of an ego, and his father seemed to be a worrisome and yet loving individual (although he had a habit of using run-on sentences!). I really enjoyed venturing into this small compilation of time and devotion, as well as getting an idea of the social workings of the time. It was also quite a treat to get to kno ...more
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I was looking for a book with a music theme for a monthly challenge and this was the first that came to mind so I skipped a couple of books ahead in the Little Black Classics series to this entry by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, although I think his father wrote at least half of it.

Some letters are more musical than others, but this aside this edition was a bit of a mixed bag. On the one end there are the quite boring passages where Mozart
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I picked this up mainly because I recognised Mozart's name; two bucks was a small sum in exchange for some insights into his life and relationship with his father in particular.

While I do know how to play the piano and have taken examinations that test on music history and select composers, it does not entail that I've got all the background needed to understand everything in this volume. In fact, I think only my knowledge of how patronage worked back in the day was of any use with regard to th
Lone Wong
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Maybe I expected too much. As the title of the book, "My Dearest Father". I would expect something more sentimental and affectionate letter of Mozart between his father. It turns out that I was wrong. It's a short read, but nevertheless, the letter between Mozart and his father sounds rather formal. The letter wrote in a manner more like a notice letter to inform his Father about his journey of Mozart's concert touring around the continental. ...more
Dec 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting, but I want to know more! These letters cover such a small span of time.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
Amusing read of letters sent between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his father, Leopold Mozart. It is a short series of letters which encompasses half a year (from winter to summer) and is about the travels of Amadeus form Manheimm to Paris.

Although not the most exciting, it gives a nice insight about the life of (the young) Amadeus and the problems of traveling in that age in general and about some of the more personal problems of Amadeus. It heavily relies on the knowledge of the topography of Ge
Nynke Anna
Feb 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I came across this little book a week ago at Waterstone's Amsterdam. I immediately bought it, since I am an admirer of Mozart and it seemed to me that this correspondance between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his father Leopold Mozart would be interesting. It was indeed.
It is very touching to read that Leopold Mozart is worried about his son who is traveling across Germany with his mother. He warns him for all kinds of dangers and encourages him to rush with finding an income. The son on his turn
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
The exchange of letters between Mozart and his father Leopold allow a window for us to glimpse into their personal lives full of concerns on money, health, and most importantly music.
As a once classical musician I actually really loved this small selection letters which were sent within a year and made the musical genius be seen in a more human light.
Liz Janet
Jan 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Dull and mundane are the two words that come to mind when describing this book. Unless someone is extremely fond of Mozart, then this is not the book for you. 
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Are you in search of impromptu narrative? If yes, read below.
About the Author.
Before buying this book, I was unaware of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He was one of the renowned musicians of his time. He had composed many brilliant sonatas and undertook Opera.
'My dearest father' is the elaboration of straightforward and candid equation between a father and son. Mozart is a famous personality today but the d
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
It took me almost a week to finish this, not because it was boring or uninteresting, as a matter of fact it was engrossing (for most parts). I had to face real life in the past week. I found out my mother has breast cancer. i have been crying my eyes out but I had to take my mind off of it as it wouldn't help me think. So what I did is that I continued reading, even if it is to a maximum of 5 pages from this booklet. So I wasn't really expecting anything extraordinary from this book, not until w ...more
Shishir Chaudhary
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
This little book is a collection of letters exchanged between Mozart and his father and I am even more sure than before that Mozart was as bad a writer as he was good in music. Also, this is Mozart fresh to his popularity and brimming with young blood and like all pumped up boys are, he is extremely annoying. His father on the contrary is much more composed, logical and sane.

I am giving it 2 stars because these are just a bunch of very personal letters with too many references of mutually shared
May 27, 2020 rated it liked it
The letters included in this edition are pretty mundane, especially his father’s, but I enjoyed reading them nevertheless. There are funny bits in Wolfgang’s letters and they are not boring, unlike his father’s. It’s a pity though that these exact letters were selected, as I’m sure there are more interesting ones that deserve to be included in single small edition. Also, I though only Wolfgang’s letters will be included and was surprised to see his father’s letters, which are nearly or even more ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
3.75 stars

It's incredible how much the world has changed from Mozart's time to today. I enjoyed reading their letters and some of them were quite funny specially the way his father scolds him regarding spending money - I guess that never changed. And some of them were sad. Just imagine living abroad and learning that a family member or a friend died and you'll be receiving the news quite a long time after they've passed away because of the mail. I also noticed that this was the time were illness
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over six hundred works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers.

Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood in Salzburg. Already competent on keyb

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