• Mozart

  • The Reign of Love
  • By: Jan Swafford
  • Narrated by: Tim Campbell
  • Length: 30 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (95 ratings)

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Mozart

By: Jan Swafford
Narrated by: Tim Campbell
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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed composer and biographer Jan Swafford comes the definitive biography of one of the most lauded musical geniuses in history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. 

At the earliest ages it was apparent that Wolfgang Mozart’s singular imagination was at work in every direction. He hated to be bored and hated to be idle, and through his life he responded to these threats with a repertoire of antidotes, mental and physical. 

Whether in his rabidly obscene mode or not, Mozart was always hilarious. He went at every piece of his life, and perhaps most notably his social 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.

Mozart was known to be an inexplicable force of nature who could rise from a luminous improvisation at the keyboard to a leap over the furniture. He was forever drumming on things, tapping his feet, jabbering away, but he could grasp your hand and look at you with a profound, searching, and melancholy look in his blue eyes. Even in company there was often an air about Mozart of being not quite there. It was as if he 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 Jan Swafford’s biographies Beethoven and Johannes Brahms, Mozart is the complete exhumation of a genius in his life and ours: A man who would enrich the world with his talent for centuries to come and who would immeasurably shape classical music. As Swafford reveals, it’s nearly impossible to understand classical music’s origins and indeed its evolutions, as well as the Baroque period, without studying the man himself.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2012 Jan Swafford (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Mozart

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Too many words

Mozart is presented more humanely as an approachable and fun loving genius in contrast to other’s descriptions. I enjoyed historical context and learning his relationships with his contemporaries. I now enjoy his opera’s understanding better the stories of his collaborators. But musically pedantic for the uninitiated - me.

7 people found this helpful

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Comprehensive Bio

This is a serious examination of Mozart the child prodigy, followed in due course by Mozart the saucy grownup genius who leaves his mark on the world. Author Swafford provides an illuminating look at the times, including the difficulties of travel by coach on primitive roadways, as well as at life in general in a time where sickness and death were a constant presence. Much of the material will already be known to lovers of all things Mozartian, but Swafford also clears up some of the lingering myths surrounding this towering figure.
He delves frequently into examinations of Mozart's technical approach to composition, dwelling almost exhaustively on such details as his use of counterpoint, choice of keys, harmony and much more. The lengthy discussions of opera plot, recitative, libretto, etc., similarly strain the spirit of all but the most serious student of research. Skip is always an option. However, the book is worth the effort.
Narration is good.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Exquisite- how else to describe his life & musical gift?

Listen to Campbell’s narration on your iPhone. Be sure to have your laptop or iPad nearby to play a YouTube offering on his well described K of Mozart.

There’s not enough superlatives to ascribe to this wonderfully written biography.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent review of W.A. Mozart

This biography thoroughly portrays the life of one of the greatest composers to ever live. As a classically trained musician, I enjoyed learning bits about Mozart that I didn't know, as well as discovering truths that I didn't realize were false (such as being buried in a paper's grave). The only downside to this biography was the attention given to the operas. I'm not a fan of opera, so I didn't care for entire chapters being devoted to Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, and The Marriage of Figaro. Overall, I highly recommend this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Boring

Found most of it boring. Describing the music, didn't understand, instead of Mozart's life.

1 person found this helpful

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Too much music theory

Too much music theory. Granted I have a small amount of music theory knowledge, but it was overkill. I got bored and disintetested.

1 person found this helpful

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Entertaining & Informative

Swafford lives up to his well deserved reputation as an excellent biographer of Classical Composers.
Immediately we are whisked back to eighteenth century Austria and into the world of Classical Music. Narrator Tim Campbell gives a virtuoso performance, bringing to life the characters of this real- life drama.
The only thing missing is the Music so vividly analysed by Swafford. Thankfully I had Spotify on board to reference.