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How did Mozart really die?

November 22, 2014

A book that, for all its attractive cover and eye catching title, has only been borrowed once in 2012, once in 2013 and once in 2014 (me) and should surely have a wider readership, so I now draw it to your attention. “Mozart’s last aria” by Matt Rees says on the cover ‘musical genius, masonic initiate, murder victim? Which was more than enough to intrigue me.

mozart quoteMany of us remember the movie ‘Amadeus”  based on the play which makes Salieri, the court musician to the Austrian Emperor of the day, the bitterly jealous rival of the incomparable child prodigy, pianist and composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Using the same suspicion that Mozart was only 35 when he died and did not die of natural causes, the author tells a tale of mystery and murder woven around the central character of Maria Anna Mozart, Wolfgang’s sister.

It is worth noting that nearly all of the characters in this tale actually lived although the author has taken the liberty of rewriting their stories. Maria Anna was as accomplished a pianist as her brother but was held back from pursuing a musical career by a greedy and selfish father. She loses touch with her famous brother when they quarrel over an inheritance but when she hears that rumours are in circulation about his death and what he was involved in at the time, she travels from her provincial home to Vienna to find the truth. There she discovers that Mozart had become a member of a masonic lodge and was caught up in court intrigue, coming under the suspicion of the minister of police.

I will not reveal much else of the plot but if you like a history/mystery and if you are interested in the possible murder of one of the greatest composers of all time, you will enjoy this book. Matt Rees, as his name indicates, hails from Wales and he has written four previous detective stories. This one required considerable research into Mozart, his times and his music, so it may appeal to you from more than one point of view.

– Larry Gordon

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Read more about Mozart’s cause of death

 

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