Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, affectionately called Nannerl by her family, could play the piano with an otherworldly skill from the time she was a child, when her tiny hands seemed too small to encompass a fifth. At the tender age of five, she gave her first public performance, amazing the assembled gentlemen and ladies with the beautiful music she created. But her moment of glory was cut short, for even as her father carried her around to receive their praise, her mother began laboring to bring a second child into the world. After hours of her mother's pained cries and agonized shouts, which rang in Nannerl's ears like a terrifying symphony, the child was born. They named him Wolfgang.
Nannerl loved him instantly. As they grew, Wolfgang and his sister became inseparable, creating a fantasy world together and playing music the likes of which no one had ever heard. They were two sides of a single person, opposite in temperamenthe lighthearted and charismatic, she shy and retiringbut equal in talent. Yet it was Wolfgang who carried their father's dreams of glory.
And as the siblings matured, Nannerls prodigious talent was brushed aside by her father. Instead of playing alongside her brother in the worlds great cities, she was forced to stop performing and become a provincial piano teacher to support Wolfgangs career. Nannerl might have accepted this life in her brothers shadow but for the appearance of a potential suitor who reawakened her passion for life, for love, for musicand who threatened to upset the delicate balance that kept the Mozart family in harmony.
"A moving tribute to the spirit of a forgotten sibling. Music imbues every gripping page, and in revealing Nannerl, Charbonnier also gives us a different view of Mozart, both rounding out and exploding the myths of his brief, tragic life." -Susanne Dunlap, author of Emilies Voice and Liszts Kiss.
"A dysfunctional family, sex scandals, and true love? - eighteenth-century Europe was a far different world from ours, yet Rita Charbonnier's skill and verve make us feel at home, and we cheer for the brilliant, resilient Nannerl as she struggles to become much more than Mozart's sister." - Karen Harper, author of The Last Boleyn.
"If you sympathized with Salieri when you watched Amadeus, wait until you find out what happened to Nannerl, Mozarts sister. As brilliantly talented as her younger brother, she had a famous musical career that was ruthlessly turned into a mere addendum to his. Mozart's Sister brings an intriguing woman back to life." - India Edghill, author of Wisdoms Daughter.
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Rated of 5
I thought this book was just okay but not great. It started out nicely but was not engaging as I went through the chapters. It was challenging to get through as I was quickly bored with the writing. I also would challenge her choice of dialog, as some of the things she wrote seemed to be inconsistent with the period.
Rated of 5
Once I got past being annoyed that Nannerl's talent was stifled so that she could support her brother, I enjoyed this book. The writing is engaging and this was an "easy" read in that the reader really wanted to continue! I love historical fiction and getting a different perspective on historical figures is fun.
Rated of 5
The Forgtten Sister
The story of Mozart's Sister is definitely the tale of the forgotten one. Rita Charbonnier's rich language brings this story to life and makes the reader experience Nannerl's pain. Being a male, her brother's success far overshadows Nannerl's equally impressive abilities. The account of how she handles this situation is an enjoyable one.
Rated of 5
The sacrifices Nanearl makes to insure Mozart's career were devastating, but seeing Nanearl rise above and be happy was satisfying.
Rated of 5
Mozart’s Sister by Rita Charbonnier (Crown) is the story of Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, or “Nannerl,” to her family, who was like her famous younger brother a child prodigy. Unlike Wolfgang, with whom she was in childhood very close, Nannerl’s talents were quickly channeled into teaching, in lieu of composing and performing, to support her brother’s career. Unlike Wolfgang, she remained close to her domineering father and obeyed his wishes, even in her romantic life.
The premise of Charbonnier’s imaginative novel is that Nannerl resented her lot bitterly, that she struggled to repress her love of music, and that this denial of her gifts led to her estrangement later in life from Mozart. Charbonnier’s power of invention stretches further to explain the mystery of the Mozart siblings’ estrangement by having the self-centered, dissipated young Mozart trifle with Nannerl’s favorite student, who is the daughter of her first fiancée d’Ippold (whom in fact she renounced at her father’s insistence).
Charbonnier’s “interpretation” of the historical record, scant on this intriguing sister and brother, make for an extremely lively novel in the romantic tradition. Opening with her mother’s labor pains (and cursing) at a court performance as five-year-old Nannerl placidly receives accolades for her performance at the harpsicord, the novel flashes from one graphic scene to another, leapfrogging over months or decades in cinematic fashion, with frequently shifting viewpoints. It’s all vivid and melodramatic. Whether you like it or not will depend upon how much it troubles you when, for example, an 18th-century gentleman says, “Get lost!” And how much you want your characters to offer a convincing interior life.
Rated of 5
I was hooked on this story from the start. One of my favorite types of books are the ones that tell history in story format so you really enjoy learning about the past. This story was not a disappointment. I got a very good sense of Mozart's childhood and enjoyed learning a bit about his family life. His sister was a very stong character in her own right and the mix of fantasy & fiction kept me interested till the very end!
This is Rita Charbonnier's first novel. She has studied piano and opera singing, and lives in Rome.
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