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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000007.txt from 2008/05

From: "Daniel Leeson" <>
Subj: [kl] A new review for an old book.
Date: Sat, 03 May 2008 18:31:47 -0400

Dear Friends,

Just as my new book, "The Mozart Cache" is about to come out sometime in
June, I was given a review of an old one, the book I wrote for clarinet
players, "The Mozart Forgeries." It is such a good review that I wanted to
post it here for all the clarinet players who have not read the book. It
will continue to be available for sale on, Barnes&Noble, etc. for
the forseeable future. And I'll let you all know when the new book comes
out, but unlike "The Mozart Forgeries" the new one is not fiction. Clarinets
have nothing to do with the matter. But if you like Antiques Roadshow and
having a treasure fall from heaven directly into your lap , you'll love the
new book for which I hope to make so much money that I will avail myself of
the services of Hertz Rent-A-Mistress.

Dan Leeson
SKYPE: dnleeson

Here is the review.

A Classic Caper, and Not Just for Scholars – By Al Past, Author of The
Distant Cousin Series

The subtitle of The Mozart Forgeries is A Caper Novel for the Serious Mozart
Aficionado, and that is an accurate description, though the book is a good
deal more than that. For instance while I consider myself a music
aficionado, I am not a fan of Mozart, but that didn't affect my enjoyment of
this book. I am also interested in books and paper and how they are made,
and I am an amateur calligrapher--all have relevance to The Mozart
Forgeries. But what matters most is that I also love a good read, and this
book measures up on all counts. There are two main characters, never named
(I will come back to that): Librarian and Forger. Friends since childhood,
they grow up with, or acquire, a variety of special skills and abilities: a
photographic memory for texts, the ability to play piano, a career dealing
with rare manuscripts, and not least among others, a willingness to break
laws in order to make money. Both are exceedingly cunning, and Librarian,
the leader, in particular has enough caution and planning skills to make a
top-drawer secret agent. In a nutshell, the basic premise is this: several
popular works of Mozart (known to anyone who loves classical music, even
me), are known to exist only from copies of missing originals. Librarian and
Forger decide to forge them and to auction them off for millions of dollars.
The novel is a detailed account of how they do this, and I do mean
detailed--the process takes up the majority of the pages. The plot twists
and suspense come towards the end, but they do come. The story is
meticulously plot-driven rather than character driven: the reader will learn
an astonishing amount about music, how paper and ink are made, the process
of music composition, and most informative to me, the business of forgery.
If the skills involved were not so specialized, the text could almost be
used as a how-to guide for enriching oneself with a quill pen. The volume is
handsome and the story is splendidly written. You will not find a more
cleanly edited book anywhere. For my money, though, the style was a tad
cool. For example, I see no reason why the two protagonists couldn't have
been called Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones. In an aside early on the author
explains that since the characters desire anonymity he will call them only
Forger and Librarian. Whatever that added to the flavor of the story created
awkwardness through the first two thirds of the book, for me at least. (I
finally did get used to it.) Furthermore, though the two men do have
vestigial personalities, they tend to speak as if they are university
lecturers, in polished, complex sentences. Ultimately, however, their
personalities are not the point. The caper is the story. In a way, it's the
opposite of all those 'Oceans' movies, where the caper was almost irrelevant
and the characters and their interactions and in-jokes were what mattered.
This is a decidedly scholarly caper story. If you are the type of reader who
enjoys florid, breathless, gauzily plotted crisis-a-minute action stories
like The Da Vinci Code, The Mozart Forgeries is not for you. If you enjoy a
tightly plotted, rigorously detailed, and even informative, caper story, I
don't know how you could do better.


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