Mozart (Signed copy)
This copy signed by Scottish composer Shena Fraser
First edition, first printing. Hardback in dustwrapper. 25 × 19.5cm, 208pp.
This copy has been signed and dedicated by Shena Fraser, the Scottish composer (1910–1993) who also composed as Sebastian Scott. The inscription reads "To Bridget, with love and gratitude for two 'first performances' of the 'Widow', most beautifully sung. Shena Fraser, March 1981".
Some figures have had such an impact on the history of the arts that they come to be seen as landmarks in their surroundings—others are judged by comparison with them, but they themselves are treated as beyond criticism and analysis. One such is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a genius among musicians, unsurpassed in all forms of classical music, and a figure whose tragic early death has become a romantic symbol for the fate of the young artist.
But Mozart was also a man, and more specifically a man shaped by his upbringing and the forces of late eighteenth century society. The sympathetic and revealing account of the composer and his work penetrated the popular mythology surrounding the infant prodigy to show us Mozart as a restless son to his over-zealous father, as a quiet revel working independently to avoid the constraints of the patronage system, and as an ardent freemason at a time when the order was being harassed for its unorthodox beliefs. Against this background Hugh Ottaway sensitively investigates Mozart's compositional genius and provides many valuable insights into the nature and achievements of his music.
From this dual approach Mozart is seen as a constantly developing musician whose enormous natural talents were continually tested and spurred on on by the competitive rigour of eighteenth-century musical life. His fertile inventiveness led him both to shape and exploit the forms of classical music to such an extent that he made the symphony and concerto the supreme forms of instrumental expression, and turned opera into the complete and eloquent form that we know today.
Hugh Ottaway's probing and highly readable text is supported by carefully selected illustrations which include engravings and paintings to show Mozart at each stage of his crowded career, together with his family, friends and fellow composers, productions of his operas and the places where he lived and travelled.
The book is in good plus condition, with some tanning to the page edges and a small ink stain to the pages' bottom edge. The dustwrapper has a little sunning around the front joint. It has been price-clipped but is now within a protective sleeve.