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  • Mozart's Music of Friends: Social Interplay in the Chamber Works by Edward Klorman
  • Nancy November
Mozart's Music of Friends: Social Interplay in the Chamber Works. By Edward Klorman. pp. xxxii + 352. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 2016). £74.99 ISBN 978-1-107-09365-2.)

'Am I a score-based analyst masquerading in a performance-studies costume?' (p. 291). Playing devil's advocate, Edward Klorman asks this question in his epilogue. But no reader who has sampled the detailed and thoroughly performance-informed analyses in this book will be left in any doubt as to the answer. The insights he brings to bear on Mozart's chamber repertory could only have been offered by someone with substantial background as a performer. And they could only have been offered by a viola player—or someone equivalently familiar with the inner parts in this music. Particularly enlightening in his analyses are numerous astute comments on inner and lower voices. The book is about the sociability and interplay inherent in this music. Klorman usefully and carefully defines 'multiple agency', such that musical events can be described as the actions and statements of separate personas, represented by the individual instrumental parts (see especially p. 121). In Mozart's chamber works, we find, violas and cellos can make decisions, helpful and otherwise; and pianos can be strategic and devious.

The book is divided into two parts. Part I provides a historical background and motivation for Klorman's theory of multiple agency. It does so by developing a rich context for Mozart's chamber music, emphasizing this music's primary location, the drawing room. The drawing room, as Klorman observes, was 'a site for both social music-making and musical socializing' (p. 7). Chapter 2 provides an in-depth discussion of the metaphor of conversation that has been applied to chamber music, and offers particularly refreshing comments on the flexible performance of chamber music (ch. 3). These works were intended to be read at sight, devoured greedily and with enjoyment, and delivered spontaneously; this was music devoted to the performer as its primary listeners. In Part II, Klorman considers various kinds of interactions and behaviours that are represented and enacted in Mozart's chamber music in modern-day analytical terms. After discussing his theory of multiple agency in relation to persona theory (ch. 4), he then shows how it applies with respect to sonata form (ch. 5), and musical metre (ch. 6). A comprehensive case study of the 'Kegelstatt' trio, K. 498 (ch. 7) and reflective epilogue complete the volume.

Klorman practises a similar kind of sociable conversation with his reader to that which he describes for Mozart's chamber music. This book will attract a broad readership, not only on account of its content, which is of relevance to those interested in cultural and social history as well as music. His approach, too, will entice and engage. He provides a useful guide to the reader on how to get the most out of the volume, whether they are more interested in history, performance, analysis, or all three. The book is complemented by an extensive array of web resources ( Chapter resources included here are videos and pdf scores that relate to music examples discussed in the analytical chapters; for example, one finds a delightful recording of Jérôme-Joseph de Momigny's adaptation of Mozart's String Quartet in D Minor, K. 421, with the voice of the tragic heroine Dido, Queen of Carthage, overlaid. The web documents section provides links to original texts in historical editions (mostly first editions), the extended English translations of which appear in Part I. The book is illustrated with fourteen figures; the web resources include colour versions of those illustrations that are reproduced in greyscale in the book. [End Page 296] For a book concerning how chamber music is brought to life as and through performance, these additional resources are ideally suited, allowing the reader to listen and learn in a multivalent fashion. Klorman speaks of the 'visceral' experience of chamber music in his comments on multiple agency and metre, advising the reader to listen to a given excerpt several...


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