A brave and wonderful book. Not claiming to be an expert on music, Mozart, starlings or any subject in particular, Haupt manages to entertain, inform and provide much food for thought on life in general, these three subjects in particular. She is a skillful writer and a polymath with a fine sense of humour. There's little on which she cannot offer a balanced, often illuminating, point of view. When disputing accepted myths about music or birds she manages to lay out logical arguments without putting down the so-called experts who have propogated them. I had always swallowed the story that Mozart borrowed K453's allegretto theme from his pet bird, which she disputes successfully without being pedantic. 'Who cares?', she concludes, there are more important things in life to concern us, an attitude that imforms this whole book and makes it first class reading.

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