After I completed my Mozart listening month, I came across and listened to the Mozart Great Courses lectures via Audible, written by and narrated by Professor Robert Greenberg.
Audible writes this within its larger summary:
Beginning with an examination of the many myths that surround Mozart to this day, Professor Greenberg offers not only an understanding of his music, but also a realistic view of Mozart the boy and man, from his emergence as youthful prodigy to his posthumous deification.You’ll learn about his difficult and ultimately doomed relationship with his father, his troubled marriage, his relationships with luminaries like Haydn, Emperor Joseph II, and his operatic librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte, and the triumphs and disappointments that marked his career – including the astonishing and inexplicable creative recovery that enabled him to create his great Masonic opera, The Magic Flute, only months before his death.
That’s a good summary, though the lectures aren’t a simple narrative of his life.
Professor Greenberg has a few central arguments that form the backbone of the lectures. Primarily, he argues that Mozart was a normal human being who nevertheless was prodigiously gifted at all things musical. The myths that surround Mozart, rather than enhancing our understanding of him, only serve to obscure his actual genius, which – make no mistake – was so great that we might become uncomfortable with the simple fact of it. They also obscure some of the tragedies of his life, such as his early death.
Additionally, the influence of his father Leopold was more complicated and uglier than I had previously understood, and that relationship also serves as part of the central backbone to the lectures.
In total, the lectures aren’t especially long, and you could listen to them all within a day if you really wanted to. I spread them out amidst my various other listenings, and they were always immediately re-engaging when I returned to them. Professor Greenberg has a very entertaining style of speaking, but he does maintain a sense of authority and genuine love for the subject.
You can find the lectures here: