Friday, May 1, 2009

Mozart Finds a Melody Ages 5-9

For the first time in Wolfgang's life, the famous composer was at a loss for a tune. He tried every trick to get his imagination going. He sang standing on his head. He played his violin in the bathtub. He even threw darts at the blank music paper. Alas, nothing worked.

An imaginative story about Mozart's many inspirations

Wolfgang Mozart must compose a new piano concerto to perform at the famous Burgtheatre in Vienna. But Mozart can't think of a note to write. When he hears his hungry pet starling sing out melodiously, his creativity begins to flow. Before he can put notes to paper, however, his muse escapes through the window, and Mozart is off on a frantic search to bring her back. Will Mozart find both his friend and song in time?

Based on a true story about the famous composer and his beloved pet starling, this enchanting tale celebrates inspiration in any form it takes.
Mozart Finds a Melody
By Stephen Costanza
Edition: illustrated
Published by Macmillan, 2004
ISBN 0805066276, 9780805066272
40 pages
Costanza spins an upbeat tale from a ...
... wisp of fact in his solo debut. A case of writer's block keeps young Mozart staring at a blank page, until his pet starling chirps an intriguing fragment of melody before escaping out the window. The composer's ensuing search takes him through Vienna's streets, where he hears laughter and other sounds that add to the birdsong—and by the weekend, there's a new piano concerto to perform. As in his art for April Pulley Sayre's Noodle Man: The Pasta Superhero (2002), Costanza suffuses his scenes with a golden light that falls alike on Mozart's flyaway mane, on the elaborately costumed Viennese, and on that starling (colored here more like a hummingbird, but call it poetic license)—who returns in the end to perch on the composer's baton. As chronicled in Mordicai Gerstein's What Charlie Heard (2002), the later composer Charles Ives actually did create music inspired by ambient sounds, though to very different effect. But either tale makes a thought-provoking study of the creative process. (afterword) (Picture book. 7, 8, 9)
Kirkus Reviews Copyright (c) VNU Business Media, Inc.
K-Gr 3 Ages 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 -In this fictionalized version of ...
... how the composer wrote his "Piano Concerto no. 17 in G Major," Mozart is facing a case of writer's block and a looming deadline. His pet starling begins to sing and the notes provide a fine melody. When the young man opens her cage, she flies out. He looks for her all over the city but doesn't find her. However, the sounds of the streets give him additional inspiration so that he can complete the piece and perform it as planned. During the concert, Miss Bimms hears the music and flies to the theater where she is reunited with her owner. Done in gouache, acrylic, and colored pencil, the sepia-toned illustrations provide beautifully detailed glimpses of Vienna and the concert hall. Unfortunately, Mozart is shown with a round head, big eyes, and wild hair-slightly stylized features that give him the appearance of a Cabbage Patch doll. There is a silliness about the story that seems to detract from the man and his talent. In an author's note, Costanza indicates the source for his ideas. Though not outstanding, this tale can be used to introduce Mozart and to open discussion about how a composer might get inspiration from life around him.-Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City

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