Mozart: The First Biography

Franz Xaver Niemetschek, translated by Helene Mautner
Mozart: The First Biography

Sheila Fitzpatrick writes:

Franz Niemetschek, Mozart’s contemporary, whose biography (not the first, pace Berghahn, but the second) was published in 1798, concedes Mozart’s propensity for jokes but presents him as a gentle soul who, as Cliff Eisen remarks in his introduction, is almost a candidate for sainthood. ‘Who can unravel all the countless felicities, the fathomless beauties of his art?’ Niemetschek asks: ‘Who can describe in words his new, original, sublime and sonorous music. Listen with an open mind, and you will feel this more keenly than can be expressed in words.’ Such passages were easier to write at the end of the 18th century than at the beginning of the 21st, especially when the author was a Prague professor of philosophy undoubtedly well schooled in rhetoric.

(LRB 5 July 2007)

Published by Berghahn Books
01 December 2006
ISBN: 9781845452315