About Mozart’s Music of Friends

Cover design with border 

Order from Cambridge University Press (Enter code “Klorman16” at checkout for a 20% discount, valid through 8/31/17)

Order from Amazon

Preview on Google Books

ISBN: 9781107093652

PROSE Awards Medallion


Winner, 2017 PROSE Award for Music & Performing Arts

Finalist, 2017 PROSE Award for Excellence in Humanities

In 1829 Goethe famously described the string quartet as “a conversation among four intelligent people.” Inspired by this metaphor, Edward Klorman’s study draws on a wide variety of documentary and iconographic sources to explore Mozart’s chamber works as “the music of friends.” Illuminating the meanings and historical foundations of comparisons between chamber music and social interplay, Klorman infuses the analysis of sonata form and phrase rhythm with a performer’s sensibility. He develops a new analytical method called multiple agency that interprets the various players within an ensemble as participants in stylized social intercourse – characters capable of surprising, seducing, outwitting, and even deceiving one another musically. This book is accompanied by Web Resources that include original recordings performed by the author and other musicians, as well as video analyses that invite the reader to experience the interplay in time, as if from within the ensemble.


Praise for Mozart’s Music of Friends

“Klorman’s love of his subject is truly infectious. Drawing on many contemporary quotes he paints a very vivid and human historical backdrop. We eavesdrop on composers, players, listeners and commentators puzzling over the composition and performance of classical chamber music from its birth. This is a work of impressive scholarship with a broad and deep awareness of musical theory and commentary through the centuries, but, above all, it makes a persuasive case for a mode of musical analysis that puts at its center the composer’s essential conception of the different parts in chamber music as multiple agents, affecting, surprising and even tussling with each other rhythmically, harmonically, contrapuntally and emotionally. In this way, reading his analyses can remind one of a good quartet rehearsal – a medium Klorman also knows very well from the quartet viola player’s seat.”

– Roger Tapping, Juilliard String Quartet


“To hear to Mozart’s chamber works on recordings, through mp3 players, or even in a concert hall is to experience them much differently than did listeners of the eighteenth century. As Klorman cogently explains, the primary intended audiences of these pieces were the performers themselves, for whom the notion of chamber music as a conversation was not merely a metaphor but an essential part of the artistic experience. Through penetrating historical and music analyses, Mozart’s Music of Friends helps vivify this wonderful music in a manner that is refreshingly new – or, I should say, in a manner that is over 200 years old, but has too long been set aside and forgotten.”

– L. Poundie Burstein, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York


“Klorman fundamentally rethinks the social and behavioral bases for our understanding of a core repertoire. He works carefully through the logical implications of his key term, ‘multiple agency,’ using it to illuminate our understanding not just of texture, but also of elements such as meter, phrase syntax, and even musical form itself. Highly readable, entertaining, and thought-provoking.”

– W. Dean Sutcliffe, University of Auckland


“An appealing aspect of Klorman’s book is its willingness to play: to indulge in fantasy and language that mimic how musicians, whether of the eighteenth century or the twenty-first, might speak with one another about what they are doing. Without compromising the insightfulness or sophistication of his work, he is able to write cheerily about instrumental personas being chummy, coquettish, suave, and much more – far beyond what we’re used to reading in analytical music theory, but refreshing, perceptive, and invariably assuring us that we are in the company of a sensitive and knowledgeable musician.”

– Patrick McCreless, Yale University


“Social interaction is apparent in many levels of this delightful and thought-provoking monograph … Effectively organized, beautifully written, and informed throughout by extraordinary musical intelligence and sensitivity, Mozart’s Music of Friends is a major contribution to our understanding of Mozart’s chamber music and of eighteenth-century music in general.”

– John Rice, Society for Eighteenth-Century Music [read complete review]


“Edward Klorman’s superb monograph … is a remarkably original addition to the burgeoning music-theoretical literature on performance and analysis … Klorman’s authorial style … expresses incisive analytical insights with a freewheeling and charming whimsy … The book overall is best regarded as an artistic statement, and a highly compelling one at that.”

– Roger Graybill, Music Theory Online [read complete review]


“His scholarship and insightful historical and musical analyses are impressive throughout … Klorman undoubtedly succeeds in infusing analytical and music-historical scholarship with a performer’s sensibility, integrating more closely these diverse forms of musical engagement.”

– Robin Stowell, The Strad


“Mozart’s Music of Friends is a marvellous book of history and theory by a scholar and a musician devoted to excellence, but also an open manual of musical practice for chamber music musicians. It is splendidly integrated with an essential selection of additional resources available online through mozartsmusicoffriends.com … for all the musicians to experience interactively and directly.”

– S. & L.M. Jennarelli, Mozart Circle [read complete review]