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Was Mozart murdered?

February 4, 2015

“Mozart’s last aria” by Matt Rees is a book that, for all its attractive cover and eye-catching title, has only been borrowed eight times in the last four years, and should surely have a wider readership, so I now draw it to your attention.

last ariaOn the cover it says “Musical genius, masonic initiate, murder victim”? Which was more than enough to intrigue me. Many of us remember the movie “Armadeus” based on the play which makes Salieri, the court musician to the Austrian Emperor of the day, the bitterly jealous rival of the comparable child prodigy, pianist and composer, Wolfgang Armadeus Mozart.

Using the same suspicion that Mozart, who was only 35 when he died, did not die of natural causes, the author of this book spins 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 though the author has taken the liberty of re-writing 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 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 at all interested in the possible murder of one of the great composers of all times, you will enjoy this book.

Matt Rees, as his name indicates, hails from Wales and has written four previous detective stories. This one, “Mozart’s Last Aria” 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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