On Mozart CL

Anthony Burgess, Author
Anthony Burgess, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $19.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-395-59510-7
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
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Burgess, a composer before he turned to writing, worships Mozart with a tinge of envy, to which he himself alludes in a closing essay. While recognizing Mozart as the supreme musical genius, he also finds it necessary to observe that Mozart ``may not have the complex humanity of Shakespeare.'' This witty, freewheeling homage, more divertimento than symphony, opens with the shades of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Wagner squabbling up in heaven. Burgess includes an opera libretto starring Wolfgang himself, fragments of a film script, an ill-conceived prose-poem based on Mozart's Fortieth Symphony, a schizoid dialogue between the author's divided self (``Anthony'' vs. ``Burgess'') and additional celestial dithering by Henry James, Gershwin, Salieri and Schoenberg. The mystery of the composer's genius is neither illuminated nor enhanced by this dazzling confection. (Nov.)
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