Bernard Lechevalier

Mozart's Brain Publication date : May 1, 2003

On 11 April 1770, Leopold Mozart and his son Wolfgang arrived in Rome and attended mass at the Sistine Chapel. There they heard Allegri’s famous Miserere, which was so highly esteemed that the musicians were threatened with excommunication should they transmit it to anyone. After mass, the 14-year-old Mozart copied out the entire Miserere from memory. This incident from Mozart’s life is the springboard of Bernard Lechavalier’s first chapter, in which he explores the mechanisms of musical memory. How is it mentally possible to memorise a fifteen-minute musical composition for nine voices, in two choirs? Is this ability due to a listening technique? To an emotionally-based one? What mental operations are at work in musical memory, in general?
Mozart's Brain consists of seven chapters, each one built around an episode from Mozart’s life that illustrates a specific aspect of musical perception.

Bernard Lechevalier is a neurologist specialising in neuropsychology, and a professor of neurology and medicine in teaching hospitals. In addition, he is the organist of the church of Saint Pierre, in Caen. He is the co-author of a book on disorders related to musical perception.