Mozart: The Reign of Love, Swafford
Author: Jan Swafford
Format: Paperback, 832 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (2021)
In this landmark portrait, composer and biographer Jan Swafford brushes away the myths to bring Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart indelibly and movingly to life as a force of nature who could rise from a luminous improvisation at the keyboard to meow like a cat and leap over the furniture. Swafford tells the human story of this artist whose singular imagination was tirelessly at work, forever drumming on things, tapping his feet and in company seeming to be both present and apart. It was as if Mozart lived simultaneously onstage and off, a character in life’s tragicomedy but also outside of it, watching, studying, gathering material for the fabric of his art.
Mozart: The Reign of Love is both wide-ranging and intimate in its exploration of a creator in his life and his setting: a genius who rose from a particular time and place, whose art would enrich the world, who would immeasurably shape the future of classical music and who has stood as the definition of a prodigy. As Swafford reveals, to understand the evolution of Western music, it is vital to understand this singular figure as an artist and as a man.
About Jan Swafford:
Jan Swafford is an American composer and author. He earned his Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Harvard College and his DMA in composition from the Yale School of Music. His music has been widely played by ensembles, including the symphonies of St. Louis, Indianapolis and the Dutch Radio. He is the author of biographies of Ives, Brahms and Beethoven. His many honors include an NEA Composer Grant and the Deems Taylor Award for online writing on music, which he won for his essays in Slate. He is a longtime program writer and preconcert lecturer for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and has written notes and essays for the orchestras of Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit and Toronto. Among his liner notes for recordings are those for DGG’s anniversary release of Beethoven’s nine symphonies by the Vienna Philharmonic.