Amadevious

Mozart is devoted to the elucidation of an enigma and is itself somewhat enigmatic in its initial presentation. For it is not formally announced as a biography of Mozart, and no subtitle serves to define or clarify its scope. Nor is it divided into chapters that might indicate the path …

Knock, Knock. Who’s There?

“An ounce of historical accuracy is worth a pound of rhetorical flourish.” These are the words, and they go some way to defining the work, of Alexander Wheelock Thayer, the classic biographer of Beethoven. Few other writers on the composer appear to have formed so austere a view of their …

The Big Three

Charles Rosen is a brave man. In this long, exuberant, and well-illustrated book he has undertaken a formidable task: first to describe and then to explain and trace the development and maturation of what has so far proved the richest stylistic achievement in Western music. He has done it in …

Homage to Catatonia

In theory the publication of a substantially revised edition of R. D. Laing’s The Self and Others, and the reissue of his first and I suppose still most celebrated book, The Divided Self, now more than ten years old, should provide as good an occasion as any for a retrospective …