The Secret Wish of Nannerl Mozart.
Barbara Kathleen Nickel. Edited by Rhea Tregebov.
Grades 4 - 7 / Ages 9 - 12.
"After everybody had said goodnight and wished each other Merry Christmas, Nannerl crept out from underneath the covers and sat on the floor. She lit her fattest candle and fished under the bed for her symphony and the manuscript paper she had pinched from the stack Papa kept with the music books. Then she dipped her pen in ink and began to copy. . . . After a few hours she looked with satisfaction at five neatly copied parts; the flute, the two violin parts, the viola, the cello and the clavier. She yawned and lit a new candle and began on the organ part."
In this book Barbara Kathleen Nickel has accomplished the difficult task of blending her extensive research material into the life of Nannerl Mozart (much of which was in the original German) with fictional touches, producing an appealing biography for young readers. A family celebration for twelve-year old Nannerl begins the story telling of her birthday wish before blowing out her candles. In addition to the usual requests of young girls, Nannerl wants to be "the most famous composer in the whole world!" As the daughter of Leopold Mozart and older sister of Wolfgang, her wish is not as impossible as it might seem. Nannerl works tirelessly to make it come true.
There follows an account of part of the Mozart family's grand three-year tour of Europe. Anecdotes of travel difficulties, people encountered on their route, performances given by Nannerl and Wolfgang, letters from friends back home in Salzburg, and excerpts from Nannerl's diary lighten the account of their journey. Throughout all, Nannerl works on her composition, in spite of the demands on her time to help her mother. In the end, despite all odds she triumphs at a grand concert in the Palace of Versailles. Complete with author's note, chronology, glossary and list of sources, this book is highly recommended. It will have special appeal for young musicians.
Joan Payzant is a retired teacher/librarian living in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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