Mozart's Ghosts: Haunting the Halls of Musical Culture
Mozart's Ghosts traces the many lives of this great composer that emerged following his early death in 1791. Crossing national boundaries and traversing two hundred years-worth of interpretation and reception, author Mark Everist investigates how Mozart's past status can be understood as part of today's veneration. Everist forges new paths to reach the composer, examining a number of ways in which Western culture has absorbed the idea of Mozart, how various cultural agents have appropriated, deployed, and exploited Mozart toward both authoritarian and subversive ends, and how the figure of Mozart and his impact illuminate the cultural history of the last two centuries in Europe, England, and America. Modern reverence for the composer is conditioned by earlier responses to his music, and Everist argues that such earlier responses are more complex than allowed by a simple "reception studies" model. Closely linking nine case studies in an innovative cultural and theoretical framework, the book approaches the developing reputation of the composer from death to the present day along three paths: "Phantoms of the Opera" deals with stage music, "Holy Spirits" addresses the trope of the sacred, and "Specters at the Feast" considers the impact of Mozart's music in literature and film. Mozart's Ghosts adeptly moves the study of Mozart reception away from hagiography and closer to cultural and historical criticism, and will be avidly read by Mozart scholars and students of eighteenth-century music history, as well as literary critics, historians of philosophy and aesthetics, and cultural historians in general.
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