Mozart: A Life

ISBN: 0143037730
ISBN 13: 9780143037736
By: Peter Gay

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About this book

A biography of the greatest musical mind in Western history.Mozart's unshakable hold on the public's consciousness can only be strengthened by historian and biographer Peter Gay's concise and deft look at the genius's life. 'Mozart' traces the development of the man whose life was a whirlwind of achievement, and the composer who pushed every instrument to its limit and every genre of classical music into new realms.

Reader's Thoughts

Paul Jellinek

A briskly written, sympathetic portrait of one of the greatest geniuses ever to grace the human race. This book sparkles like one of Mozart's early piano concertos, and was a joy from start to finish.

Ed Smiley

Not bad. It's pretty good at sorting out the fiction from the rumors. Entertaining.Much of Mozartiana popularizations have a grain of truth, but some popular rumors are just pain made up.


A good short biography, perhaps a little light on the more colorful aspects of Mozart's character, but useful for situating him firmly in the grasping bourgeois part of the court life of late ancien regime Europe. Not wonderful, alas, on just what it is that make's Mozart music so sublime.


This was a bargain buy at the book store when I went shopping with Lauren last year. She bet me that I wouldn't read it within a year. I beat the bet by 2 months. Woohoo! Anyways, it was an interesting book on the life of Mozart. Kind of dry reading, but overall okay. What I enjoyed the most was having all the melodies humming through my head as I read about the pieces. I'm such a nerd! :-D


A good quick overview of Mozart's life and his music. I listened to it on CD and hoped they would include some musical illustrations. But no. Too bad. And they could have...the audio version was only 4 CD's long.


think this is the one i read. not sure though. it's been a while. =0


A charming and brief biography on Mozart. Gay puts to rest some of the many myths surrounding the prodigy and gives the reader a clear portrait of Mozart as both a composer and a man. Also, I learned much about the time in which Mozart lived which I was previously unaware of. A great read for someone who is curious about the man behind the music but doesn't want to spend hours reading a lengthy biography.


The subject matter was interesting, but I did not like the fact that the information was not presented in chronological order. I felt that at certain points the writing was a bit too dense for the subject matter.


Nice quick account of his life, relationships, and how and when his music was composed. As expected, he was an interesting figure with quite a few surprises.

Faten Eassa

Reveals so much about Mozart and his era. I thought I knew everything about Mozart's talent and tragedy until I read this book. It reads like a thriller, very different from most of Mozart's biographies.

Lynne Cantwell

I read this book because it was on the reading list for a Danube cruise I'm taking later in the year. We'll be stopping in both Prague and Vienna, where Mozart spent a good chunk of his adulthood.I found the biographical information a little hard to follow, as it's organized by topic instead of as a straight chronology. But the book shines in its discussion of Mozart's musical works. All in all, a useful introduction to the life of the great composer.


Remember kids - when you buy a book on the internet, make sure you know long it is beforehand. I was thinking it was going to be a giant brick, at least 1000 pages (ha ha no), but instead I got a petite 192-pager. Even the book looks cute. Awww. Ahem. Not that it was bad; in fact I'd say it's a perfect way to get into someone like Mozart, if you like classical music or not. The problem is that now I need to find a more thorough book about the man.


This book serves as an excellent primer for someone in need of an overview of Mozart's life. I would recommend this book for a music layperson or someone who wants a quick outline before more intensive study.

Gabriela Melo

Gênio da musica desde criança, Wolfang Amadeus Mozart já dava sinais de suas habilidades desde criança, sendo que antes mesmo de completar oito anos de idade, já compunha sinfonias. Os mistérios em volta da sua morte prematura, seu casamento, sua personalidade um tanto diferente e seu relacionamento com pai, que aproveitava do talento do filho para ganhar dinheiro, serão revelados nesta biografia, de um dos maiores compositores de todos os tempos.


This was a pretty good, quick bio of Mozart. It definitely didn't glorify him. Beyond his musical genius he was portrayed as a pretty normal guy--irresponsible with money, a bit of a philanderer and amused (perhaps more than the normal guy) with body humor.

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