Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mozart's Starling: An Exploration of Nature, Music, and Creativity

"A blend of natural history, biography, and memoir, Mozart's Starling is a tour de force that awakens a surprising new awareness of our place in the world." from the publisher
First I was charmed, then delighted; then I felt educated, and finally, elevated. In beautiful language and uplifting insight, Mozart's Starling is my most unexpected find of the year. I loved every page.

The book is a wonderful blend of subjects. A nature study of the starling and its ability to mimic; a memoir of life with Carmen, the starling; a consideration of the creative life and person of composer Mozart, the beauty of his music and the depth of his personal philosophy; the interrelation of all living things--Haupt takes us on a continually deeper look into the human experience.

Haupt, a naturalist and birder, was inspired to verify the story of Mozart's pet starling which reportedly sang a line of his Piano Concerto no. 17 in G major. There were so many questions. How did the starling learn the music? What was the bird's role in Mozart's personal and creative life?

In America, starlings are held in disdain. What good could be associated with this bird? Haupt questioned.

So Haupt arranged to adopt a baby starling to learn more about the species and their rare ability to mimic. Carmen is a wonderful character and helps us understand why pet birds were so popular in 18th c Europe.

We follow the author to Europe, into Mozart's home, searching for his final resting place. She upends many myths about the composer, such as the pauper's grave. Her portrait of the composer is sensitive and insightful.

This is a beautiful, uplifting book. I heartily recommend it.

a murmuration of starlings
Enjoy this video with Haupt about her book

I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Mozart's Starling
Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Little, Brown & Co.
$27 hardcover
ISBN: 9780316370899

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