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Mozart's Salzburg Years (1756-1781)

Insights and Images

Catherine Sprague
William Cowdery
February 2, 2015

480 pp.

400 illustrations

ISBN: 978-1576472040

Hardback 7X10 Price to be determined
Mozart, the Salzburg Years, 1756-1781, Insights and Images encompasses the composer’s early years of travel throughout Europe as a child prodigy, his so-called ‘years of servitude’ in Salzburg as court composer, his subsequent search for a suitable position, and his return to his native city. Though there is no shortage of books about the life and work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, this volume offers the reader new details and insights into the composer, accompanied by new and startling images never before seen in the Mozart literature. The authors' research, spanning an eight-year period, was done in city archives across Europe and in other hitherto unknown repositories. The 400 images, of which 100 are newly discovered, directly relate to the composer’s life and his activities. Included are his friends and patrons, numerous performance sites, musicians and composers who interfaced with Mozart, and new maps and diagrams. A chronology combines the life events of the composer with his compositions, year by year, employing the most current discoveries in this important area of Mozart studies. Several essays covering the second half of the eighteenth century help the reader place the book’s discoveries and content in its historical context. The authors are Catherine Sprague, pianist and independent researcher, and Dr. William Cowdery of Cornell University, (spurred on by Neal Zaslaw, author of Mozart books and countless publications in musicology).
Catherine Sprague:

Catherine Sprague is a pianist and independent researcher, specializing in the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She studied music at Mount Holyoke College and Indiana University, but spent a considerable portion of her career in public affairs and advocacy. Since 2004, she has focused her attention on Mozart, lecturing extensively on the composer. Her investigations lasted ten years, and covered a very broad spectrum of sources taken from libraries, museums, and archives around the world, leading to new information about the composer’s life.

Following a review of the German, Italian and French literature on Mozart, it became clear to her that books written for American and English readers were less than comprehensive than those generally available in English. Greater and more detailed information from foreign sources needed to be incorporated in any book about Mozart. Additionally, while researching these foreign sources, she recovered completely new information. This includes information and images pertaining to Mozart’s patrons who commissioned works, his students, musician friends, singers and composers, sites where Mozart gave concerts, places where he composed, and contextual information about the period in question, namely 1756-1791. The new information will be presented in two books, the first of which will cover Mozart’s prodigy and Salzburg years, 1756-1781, followed by a book focusing solely on Mozart’s Vienna years, 1781-1791. The first book is entitled “Mozart, the Salzburg Years, 1756-1781: Insights and Images”, and is due to be published in the fall of 2014. Catherine Sprague is a member of the Mozart Society of America, lives in New Jersey, is married with two children.

For most of her working career, Mrs. Sprague has worked in the public sector in various capacities. She has served as Director of the Cumberland County Bureau of Consumer Affairs in Carlisle, Pennsylvania during the heyday of the consumer movement of 1970s and 1980s. She also served in other advocacy positions, including with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the American Red Cross in Dayton, Ohio, and the Institute for Child Advocacy of Cleveland, Ohio. Some piano studies were resumed with Russian master, Malvina Potop, of Edison, New Jersey, in 2005, initiating her interest in Mozart, his life and his music. From 2005 until the present she has researched various aspects of Mozart’s life, especially the performance sites where Mozart appeared as a pianist or performer as a child prodigy and mature composer. Also of considerable interest is the area of Mozart’s many patrons throughout his career, especially those for whom he wrote compositions.

Her presentations on Mozart take place at various musical centers and libraries throughout New Jersey. She is currently a member of the Mozart Society of America and the results of her research will be presented to the MSA’s 2011 meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Catherine Sprague is married and has two children. She lives in Branchburg, New Jersey, approximately 23 miles southwest of New York City.
William Cowdery:

William Cowdery works on the supervisory staff of Cornell University's music library, and as musical director and organist of the First Congregational Church of Ithaca. He has taught on the faculties of Cornell, Ithaca College, Colgate University, and Keuka College as performer, conductor, musicologist, and theorist. A frequent keyboardist and lecturer in the northeast, he has been a three-year fellow of the Bach Aria Festival at Stony Brook. Cowdery holds a Ph.D. from Cornell for a dissertation on the early cantatas of J. S. Bach, and held a Fulbright graduate fellowship in the U.K. He authored numerous articles in the New Harvard Dictionary of Music and the Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. With musicologist Neal Zaslaw he co-edited The Compleat Mozart (Norton). His string quartet arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations was published recently by Presser.

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