Robert Thicknesse

The Perfection Our Souls Long for

Mozart and his Operas


Allen Lane The Penguin Press 290pp £20 order from our bookshop

David Cairns – musicologist, conductor, critic, and an unsurpassed biographer of Berlioz – noses his new biography of Mozart out into the roaring traffic prevailing in this 250th anniversary of the brat’s birth (27 January is the day) with becoming hesitancy: ‘Another book on Mozart and his operas may not be needed. I can only say that I needed to write it.’ It is the fruit of sixty years’ listening, watching and writing, and you feel a certain fear on opening it – the same fear as when the opera bore approaches in the Coliseum bar with the implacable intention of telling you precisely what to think.

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