For the Love of Music 
The remarkable story of Maria Anna Mozart 
 
Maria pressed the smooth keys, and notes fluttered out like a fountain, like raindrops on a puddle, like a warm wind. When Maria practiced, her squirmy little brother would climb onto the piano bench and snuggle into the folds of her skirt.

As Maria’s fingers raced across the keyboard, Wolfgang became still.  When she finally laid her hands in her lap, the notes rang on in their ears. The one day, Wolfgang reached his pudgy hands toward the keys…

By the time she was 12, she was considered one of the finest pianists in Europe, but today few people know her name. Maria Anna Mozart, like her famous brother Wolfgang, was a musical prodigy. The talented siblings toured Europe, playing before kings and empresses, were showered with gifts and favors, and lived in a whirlwind life of music and travel. They were best friends, collaborators, and confidantes. As they grew older, Wolfgang was encouraged to pursue his musical ambitions, while Maria was told she must stop performing and, ultimately, marry. But she was determined to continue playing the piano every day, for the love of music.  

Awards

* Eureka! Silver Honor Book
Oregon Spirit Honor Book
Crystal Kite Finalist

Reviews 

* Publishers Weekly starred review *
“Rusch's rich prose and Johnson and Fancher's lavishly detailed collages … seamlessly blend to form a moving portrait of an unsung musician.”

In an intimate tribute to musical prodigy Maria Anna Mozart (sister of Wolfgang Amadeus), Rusch organizes biographical passages into sonata movements, with musical terms used to mark events in Maria's life. When they were children, Wolfgang and Maria played recitals together all over Europe. But eventually Maria is left behind, later raising a family, but still devoted to the piano. An air of sadness permeates: in a section titled "Fermata (In which everything stops)," Maria's piano warps in the frigid weather, and in "Cadenza," Maria weeps for Wolfgang, who dies "so young." Rusch's rich prose and Johnson and Fancher's lavishly detailed collages--melding paint, paper, fabrics, and weathered musical notation--seamlessly blend to form a moving portrait of an unsung musician. Ages 4–8.

* Kirkus starred review *
"This is an extraordinarily constructed work: Rusch … illuminates in simple but vivid terms how important music was to Maria … Johnson and Fancher echo the elegant construction of the text … so every image is full of texture and heft."

The older sister of the composer Mozart was a child prodigy herself and toured with her little brother to great acclaim across 18th-century Europe. She wrote down his first symphony when they were in England. But soon it was just the young Wolfgang who played before adoring crowds. Mozart died at 35, and Maria married and raised five stepchildren and several of her own, but she continued to play and teach. This is an extraordinarily constructed work: Rusch uses the form of a sonata to tell her story, dividing it into movements and indicating tempi and other musical notations. She illuminates in simple but vivid terms how important music was to Maria and how she kept learning and exploring her art based on such sources as Mozart’s own letters, as she left no music or writing behind. Johnson and Fancher echo the elegant construction of the text by making their pictures in fabric and paper as well as oil and acrylic, so every image is full of texture and heft. (notes on language and music, biographical note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-9) 
 
The Oregonian
 "This beautiful book is marketed for children ages 5-8; however, it is a masterpiece, resonating with all lovers of music, regardless of age."
 
 Curriculum Guide 

 

Download a free, standards-based, teacher-approved curriculum guide for For the Love of Music by clicking here. This guide includes creative art projects, hands-on musical games, and exciting history lessons for elementary and middle school students.  It features lessons on mapping the Mozart's musical tour of Europe, writing timelines of Maria Anna Mozart's life as if she had been alive today, linking primary source letters written by the Mozart family and friends to scenes in For the Love of Music, and more.

 

 
 
Published by Random House/Tricycle Press
Illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson
Nonfiction picture book biography
Ages 4 to 9
Spring 2011
$18.99
ISBN-10: 1582463263
ISBN-13: 978-1582463261
 

 

Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Rusch
 

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