Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Mozart's Last Aria"

Matt Rees is an award-winning crime novelist and foreign correspondent. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed Omar Yussef crime series, including The Collaborator of Bethlehem. He is also the author of Cain’s Field, a nonfiction account of Israeli and Palestinian society. Rees lives in Jerusalem.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Mozart's Last Aria, and reported the following:
As I wrote Mozart's Last Aria, I knew I had to create a sense of Imperial Vienna in 1791 and of the real people who’re the basis for my characters, in particular Nannerl Mozart, the great composer’s sister and my narrator.

But I also had to bring to life Wolfgang Mozart, the genius who dies before the book’s action begins. To some extent, I could do this with recollections of his friends. It was clear, though, that the most effective way would be through Nannerl’s contact with the great man’s music.

On Page 69, she rehearses for a concert with Anton Stadler, a clarinetist who was Wolfgang’s closest friend. At first Stadler has been disturbed by Nannerl’s desire to find out what really happened to her brother, warning her off and saying “For God’s sake woman, do you want us all to end up like Wolfgang?” As they rehearse he’s carried away by the music, only to be reminded of the difficulties of Wolfgang’s last years, when he mentions a piece of music Mozart composed before things started to get risky for him. Since it was written, he and Nannerl realize, Wolfgang and his sister haven’t been in contact.

Nannerl sees Stadler’s change of mood and says:
“I didn’t forget him, Herr Stadler.”


“I had his music, even if I didn’t have him.”
And so do we. I hope I’ve brought that fact alive in my novel.
Learn more about about the book and author at Matt Beynon Rees' website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Mozart's Last Aria.

--Marshal Zeringue