From acclaimed composer and biographer Jan Swafford comes the definitive biography of one of the most lauded musical geniuses in history, Wolfgang Amadeus
From his earliest years it was apparent that the singular imagination of Wolfgang
was tirelessly at work. He hated to be bored and hated to be idle, and he responded to these threats with a repertoire of antidotes mental and physical, going at every part of his life with tremendous gusto. His circle of friends and patrons was wide, encompassing anyone who appealed to his boundless appetites for music and all things pleasurable and fun.
As a man,
was an inexplicable force of nature who could rise from a luminous improvisation at the keyboard to meow like a cat and leap over the furniture. He was forever drumming on things, tapping his feet, seeming both present and apart. But he also might grasp your hand and gaze at you with a profound, searching and melancholy look in his blue eyes. It was as if
lived onstage and off simultaneously, a character in life’s tragicomedy but also outside of it, watching, studying, gathering material for the fabric of his art.
Like Swafford’s biographies Beethoven, Johannes Brahms and Charles Ives,
is both wide-ranging and intimate in its exploration of a genius in his life and his setting: a man who rose from a particular time and place, whose art would enrich the world for centuries to come, who would immeasurably shape the future of classical music, who from his age to ours has stood as the definition of a prodigy. As Swafford reveals, to understand the evolution of music it is vital to understand this singular genius as a man and an artist.
n Swafford is an American composer and author. He earned his Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Harvard College and his M.M.A. and D.M.A. from the Yale School of Music. His teachers in composition included Earl Kim at Harvard, Jacob Druckman at Yale and Betsy Jolas at Tanglewood. Swafford is the author of biographies of Ives, Brahms and Beethoven. Among many honours, his essays for Slate won a Deems Taylor award for online writing on music. He is a long-time programme writer and preconcert lecturer for the Boston Symphony and has written notes and essays for the orchestras of Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco and Toronto. Among his liner notes for recordings are those for the DGG Beethoven anniversary release of the nine symphonies by the Vienna Philharmonic.
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