MYTH OF THE DIVINE CHILD

THE KEY TO MOZART'S LIFE WAS HIS FEARFUL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FATHER, AND MAYNARD SOLOMON'S BIOGRAPHY BRILLIANTLY EVOKES IT

For two centuries listeners have been trying to reconcile the ineffability of Mozart's music with the childishness and bawdy coarseness of the man who composed it. The easiest and most common method has been to regard Mozart as somehow not a man at all-to view him as a sort of child god whose works welled up spontaneously. In his biography Mozart, published in English in 1982, Wolfgang Hildesheimer succeeded to a large degree in scraping away the legends surrounding the composer, but now Maynard Solomon, in his extraordinary new study, Mozart: A Life (HarperCollins; 640 pages; $35), has gone much further...

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