Piero Melograni here offers a wholly readable account of Mozart’s remarkable life and times. This masterful biography proceeds from the young Mozart’s earliest years as a wunderkind—the child prodigy who traveled with his family to perform concerts throughout Europe—to his formative years in Vienna, where he fully absorbed the artistic and intellectual spirit of the Enlightenment, to his deathbed, his unfinished Requiem, and the mystery that still surrounds his burial. Melograni’s deft use of Mozart’s letters throughout confers authority and vitality to his recounting, and his expertise brings Mozart’s eighteenth-century milieu evocatively to life. Written with a gifted historian’s flair for narrative and unencumbered by specialized analyses of Mozart’s music, Melograni’s is the most vivid and enjoyable biography of Mozart available.
“Italian historian Piero Melograni delivers a charming biography. Expertly grounded by the massive correspondence between Mozart and his highly complex family, Melograni’s study benefits from its author’s keen understanding of the changing social environments of the late eighteenth century.”—Todd B. Sollis, Opera News
“The idea that Mozart's achievements had nothing to do with self-discipline, hard work, knowledge or intellect is deeply embedded in the popular image of his genius, but Melograni . . . will have none of it, pointing out how hard Mozart worked on his music, even as a child, and suggesting that the ‘eternal child’ view was put about by . . . family members to emphasize Wolfgang's need for and dependence on them.”—Sheila Fitzpatrick, London Review of Books