For the Love of Music

The Remarkable Story of

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday

hosted today by Shelf-employed
Random House
(pub. 2.8.2011)
32 pages

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

A uthor: Elizabeth Rusch
      and Paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
C haracter:  Maria Anna Mozart
O verview from publisher: 
      "By the time she was 12, she was considered one of the finest pianists in Europe, but today few people know her name.  Maria Mozart, like her famous brother Wolfgang, was a musical prodigy.  The talented siblings toured Europe, playing before kings and empresses ... They were best friends, collaborators, and confidantes.  As they grew older, Wolfgang was encouraged to pursue his musical ambitions, while Maria was told she must stop performing and, ultimately, marry.  But she was determined to continue playing the piano every day, for the love of music."

T antalizing taste: 
       "The house was silent, but Maria and Wolfgang imagined a symphony that sounded like laughter, like whispering secrets in three languages, like children at a court dance."

and something more:
Elizabeth Rusch, the author of this fascinating picture book biography, For the Love of Music, writes in her author's note (called the "Encore" in keeping with telling the story in sonata form): "When she was in her seventies, Maria [Anna Mozart] went blind and lost the use of her left hand.  But she continued to play her piano, the very instrument she and Wolfgang had played together as children... Found on the piano were scores from her brother's operas Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute, probably the last music she every played."  One wonders what pieces of her own might have been found resting on her piano if Maria had been given the same opportunities as her brother to pursue her musical talent.


Books4Learning said...

I never knew he had a sister. It is always great to hear the "unheard" tales. I'd live to find one and write a book about it. :)

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

I know! I didn't either, and I loved learning about her. I read that the author even got translation software so she could read German books about Maria! I agree -- it's one of those stories that must have been so exciting to discover and research AND write!

shelf-employed said...

I knew that he had a sister because as a young piano student, I learned selections from Mozart's "Nannerl's (her nickname) Notebook," a collection of songs that beginning piano students can play. If you heard some of the songs in the collection, I'm sure you would recognize them.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

The book talks about the pieces he wrote for his sister,including his first piano duet to play with his her. But I didn't know about the name,"Nannerl's Notebook" -- I think I'll hop over to iTunes and play it right now :) Thanks!

Liz Rusch said...


Great blog! Thanks for posting about my book For the Love of Music.

My critique group, the Viva Scrivas, just started a blog on the art of critiquing. Check it out at www.vivascriva.com.

Liz Rusch

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks for the tip, Liz. I just visited www.vivascriva.com (love the concept!). Great site with a wealth of information and insights. It's joining my favorites, and I want to check out the NFforKids Yahoo group that Amber mentioned (as soon as I figure out how to join Yahoo groups :))

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow. I will definitely be ordering a copy of this one.