Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review: So Faithful a Heart, by K. Lynette Erwin

When Ms. Erwin approached me about reviewing her book, So Faithful a Heart, the love story of Nancy Storace and Mozart, I was immediately intrigued.  I'm a huge fan of Mozart, whose music I have long adored.  Additionally, I am a sucker for love stories and history, especially if they are based on real people. 

Book Blurb:

For twenty-six years Nancy Storace kept Wolfgang Mozart's love letters locked away inside her desk. They were all she had left of him after his unexpected death, all that history would require as proof of the love they'd shared.

So Faithful A Heart is a story of intrigue and passion, of joy and despair, of courage and hope, and  it is a story of how great love often exacts a great price.

My Review:

The story opened with an emotional prologue, that had me quickly turning the pages, and it didn't stop from there.  Ms. Erwin gracefully pulls us into the story, and makes quite an impression on the reader with her vast knowledge of the time period, the real-to-life characters and knowledge of music. 

When doing research on hsitorical muscians' you often hear about how they compose, how they perform, little tid-bits of their personal life, but nothing such as this.  Ms Erwin delves into the life of Mozart and Nancy, taking the reader with her.

The book is an emotional heart-wrencher.  You feel for all of the characters:  Mozart, Nancy--his mistress, Constanze his wife, who has to deal with so many deaths of her babies that I just couldn't imagine living in that time!  Even Aloysia, who drives you batty with her jealousy and the how she provokes people garnered my empathy. 

And then finally the circumstances around his death...heartbreaking.  For one who is so beloved in the music industry even to this day, his life was full of adventure and tragedy, and we are introduced to a woman who was so important in his life, and a musical sensation in her own right.  A true love story they had, and unfortunately because of the times they lived in and choices that were made prior to them marrying, they weren't able to live that life together as they should have been allowed.

This book is not a light read.  I did cry while reading it.  That being said, I would recommend reading it, especiallgy if you are a fan of Mozart.  I also enjoyed the author's note at the beginning of the book and the one at the end, always fun to learn more about the character's history and their life times.
About the Author (from author's site):

As a Mozart historian, K. Lynette Erwin is recognized as an authority on the life and career of Anna Storace, for whom Mozart created the role of Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro in 1786. She has performed numerous historic portrayals of the soprano in Oklahoma and Kansas public schools and recitals.  She also has an educational research website about Anna, Anna "Nancy" Storace: Mozart's First Susanna.
Lynette earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Church Music from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1982 and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at Oklahoma State University. She specializes in the performance practice of the late Baroque and Classical eras and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Music (NATS) and teaches voice privately.

She has extensive experience in musical theater, opera, and operetta. Her various roles include Laurie in Oklahoma!, Josephine in Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore, the Sorceress in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, and Katisha in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. Her Mozart roles include Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Despina in Così fan tutte, and the Third Lady in The Magic Flute. She has also studied the roles of Susanna and Countess Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro and has performed vignettes of these roles in various performances. In 1999, she was featured as the soprano soloist in Mozart's Requiem at the OK Mozart International Festival.

Lynette currently performs with the Stillwater Chamber Singers and lives in Stillwater, OK with her partner S. K. Waller. Between them they have five grown children and an exceptionally excentric, opera-adoring cat.
Visit Ms. Erwin at:  http://sofaithfulaheart.blogspot.com/


Audra said...

Oh, this sounds like a divine book! I'm not necessarily a fan of historicals by musicians, but you hooked me when you said you cried -- *that* I appreciate in a book!

Lynette said...

Thank you. I'm truly humbled. When I chose Nancy Storace as the subject of my master's thesis, I soon realized that this was a story that simply had to be told. Quite frankly, the story literally fell onto the pages. All I had to do was get out of the way and let these people speak for themselves.

Undine said...

I admit that I had never heard of Storace before I read this blog post, but the story sounds fascinating. I'm eager to read your book, now!