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In his extraordinary new study, "Mozart: A Life" (HarperCollins; 640 pages; $35), Maynard Solomon does more to humanize the composer than any biographer before him. For two centuries, TIME critic Michael Walsh says, listeners have been unable to reconcile Mozart's ineffable music with his bawdy childishness: "The easiest and most common method has been to regard Mozart as a sort of child god whose works welled up spontaneously." But Solomon's sharply-written, layered chapters document the grown composer's own psychological caving-in to the legend of his prodigious childhood. Says Walsh: "Mozart and the members of his circle come vividly alive."