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Saving Mozart by Raphaël Jérusalmy

Saving Mozart

by Raphaël Jérusalmy

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All credit to the author, Raphael Jerusalmy, for creating an unusual milieu in which to site his novella. A dying musician in a run-down Salzburg hospital in 1940 who confects his own protest at the degradations wrought on the great German composers by the Nazi machine. It is, at once, sad and triumphant, depressing and hilarious. Originally written in French, it shows no trace of translation (at least none I could detect). In a way it's a surprisingly sweet story, light and pleasing despite its context. At 124 pages it won't take you long to read either. ( )
  PhilipJHunt | May 24, 2014 |
This tiny novel, originally in French and wonderfully translated into English by Howard Curtis is quite wonderful. Through the diary entries and letters of consumptive music critic Otto Steiner the book addresses the power of music and the way that the Nazis commandeered music to advance the Reich. Otto is called on to help with the program of the Salzburg Festspiele (an even which continues to this day) and what he does to "save Mozart" is quite astounding. ( )
  PennyAnne | Feb 17, 2014 |
Told in diary form, this is the daily writings of Otto Steiner, a music critic of Jewish descent in Salzburg before the war. Otto is confined to a sanatorium due to TB. His one son has left for Israel and he is befriended only by Hans, a former assistant. Otto is appalled by the fact that Hitler and the Nazi are politicizing music. The music of Wagner is taking over what was a festival for Mozart. Otto writes about others in the sanatorium, what he hears about the Nazi cause, and his love for music especially the love of Mozart.

For some time, I wasn't sure where the story was going. It seemed an almost random selection of writings, but the story comes to a satisfying close as Otto is able to create a program of music for the festival. Hearing a dying man softly sing a tune that he is really not familiar with, he learns from an aide that it is a Jewish folk song. Otto cleverly works this folk melody into the official program. Only Otto and this aide are aware of the origins of the song which is performed in front of Nazi officials which greet it and clap to the rhythm.

A short book with a very satisfying ending. ( )
  maryreinert | Nov 10, 2013 |
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"Raphal J?rusalmy's debut novel takes the form of the journal of Otto J. Steiner, a former music critic of Jewish descent suffering from tuberculosis in a Salzburg sanatorium in 1939. Drained by his illness and isolated in the gloomy sanatorium, Steiner finds solace only in music. He is horrified to learn that the Nazis are transforming a Mozart festival into a fascist event. Steiner feels helpless at first, but an invitation from a friend presents him with an opportunity to fight back. Under the guise of organizing a concert for Nazi officials, Steiner formulates a plan to save Mozart that could dramatically change the course of the war."--Amazon.com.… (more)

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