22-Mozart: a biography by Marcia Davenport

This is a wonderful, readable biography of one of the greatest musical geniuses who ever lived.

Something that people don’t realize is that Mozart, in spite of dazzling everyone who came in contact with him with his skill in composition, didn’t just sail happily through life picking up the roses and money people strew before him. Finally however, in Vienna in his mid-20s he began having some measure of success-from 1782 to 1785 Mozart mounted concerts with himself as soloist, presenting three or four new piano concertos in each season. Finally he began to see some money coming in.

The sad thing was, it was around 1790 that things started to really look up for him, then he took sick and died in 1791.

There have been great artists, musicians and writers (Van Gogh, Mozart, Hemingway) who have been tortured by addiction, bad health, public indifference, and critical hostility. And while some musicians lived long lives (Casals, Rubenstein, Stokowski), others have died awfully young (Mozart (37), Schumann (46), Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schubert.)

The quote that gives me hope is:

Statistically, mediocre musicians live much longer than men of genius.

Some of the above info from “Longevity.” Baker’s Student Encyclopedia of Music. Ed. Laura Kuhn. Schirmer-Thomson Gale, 1999. eNotes.com. 2006.

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