Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Manuel Komroff addresses his study of the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart through fourteen chapters that each cover one period in the composer’s life, the longest including the first six years, and several of the shorter chapters covering one year only. In Mozart, Komroff describes the environment into which the composer was born and, in the process, provides genealogical data concerning Leopold Mozart, the father of the young genius, that gives the young reader some idea of the family background from which Mozart emerged. The description of these early years includes ample examples of the extraordinary talents and musical skills that the precocious child displayed during his first six years.

Komroff’s descriptions of the musical tours that occupied Mozart’s family for most of the time until he was twenty make it clear that much of his early life was dominated by his father. The young genius often was regarded as something of a freak of nature, and his extraordinary musical skills lent to many of his early appearances something of a circus atmosphere. As Mozart grew into adolescence, however, his musical feats began to lose some of their novelty; for a six-year-old boy to improvise a fugue on the keyboard was quite unusual, but for a young lad of fourteen to do the same was a bit less sensational. Mozart’s first mature compositions began to appear when he was a teenager, and in these works he demonstrated that, even at such a young age, he was the equal of any composer of the era. Yet, according to Komroff, these same works began to generate some lasting jealousies among other professional musicians, jealousies that Mozart was to encounter to the end of his days.

When the count of Colloredo became the archbishop of...

(The entire section is 718 words.)